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School Stands By Drugs Dog Decision
date: 04-April-2005
source : XTRAMSN
country: NEW ZEALAND
editorial comment editorial comment
Start them on repression early....

An Auckland intermediate school is standing by its decision to have random drug checks by sniffer dogs.

North Shore's Birkdale Intermediate claims it does not have a problem with drugs but is just taking a precautionary measure.

Principal Richard Coote says the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

Mr Coote says the dogs do not approach the children at all, and while he understands concerns he is sure if people knew what was happening they would be happy.

He says they are not the first school to take this action, and the company they have hired does checks at schools from Whangarei to Dunedin.

Methods Questioned

New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell says he does not believe this is the right way to go about tackling drug problems.

Mr Bell says schools are looking for quick fixes to combat the problem.

He says there a number of drug education programmes which will get the message across.

Political Reaction

National's education spokesman wants parents to support Birkdale Intermediate School's use of sniffer dogs to stamp out drug use.

Bill English says it is an admirable, proactive stance.

He says the Auckland school, is sending a very clear message that it will not tolerate drug use among its students.

Bill English says Birkdale should be applauded for its initiative, which shows it is serious about getting on top of the problem.

He says he fully supports schools which are telling students, parents and the community they will not have drugs on the premises.

Green Party MP Nandor Tanczos says it is a heavy-handed scare tactic which will not educate young people about drugs.

He says Birkdale Intermediate should instead be focusing on why children would consider taking drugs.

Mr Tanczos says he has major concerns about the legal implications too.

He says just because people are young that does not mean they do not have any political or civil rights.

Nandor Tanczos believes Birkdale Intermediate could be breaking the law by using sniffer dogs.

He believes it is a totally ineffective exercise which fails to address the culture of drug use among students.

He says it may see a shift away from cannabis to alcohol, which is not any better.

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