Kelly Makiha is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Editorial: Keep the leash on drug kids

The Government is looking at changing a law which, among many things, will abolish the practice of drug sniffer dogs and drug testing in schools.

The Education Amendment Bill, introduced to Parliament this month, aims to provide "safe learning environments without invasive methods".

Under the new bill, teachers will still be able to take reasonable steps to make students surrender items - confiscating and disposing of items where appropriate - but the use of drug dogs and testing students for drugs will be stopped.

The Ministry of Education says the changes will encourage safe learning environments without breaching a child's human rights.

Well, what about the human rights of the children who aren't on drugs at school?

Don't they have the right to be safe from drug-pedalling and drug-taking students?

One day, I will be a mother of a child at school and as a parent I would welcome the police doing random swoops on the school and even random drug testing where appropriate.

Rotorua schools are already using the practice and it sends a strong message to students that drugs will not be tolerated.

Sure, it doesn't always work and there will be students who bring drugs to school regardless. But surely this is just one more prevention method for schools to use.

By stopping the drug searches, we're sending a message to students that it's okay.

The Daily Post has reported that 73 students in our city were stood down or suspended for drug-related incidents in Rotorua schools last year. That's a figure that's nearly double the national average. How horrendous.

The Government must listen to this outcry from parents and principals and urgently amend the bill.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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