By Michael Giles
IT’S a disturbing fact of life that drugs are readily available to our kids and can be purchased in or around most secondary schools in this area.
The students know about it, who’s involved and where to get it.
Unseen by most people in the community, though, school authorities have set protocols for responding to drug related incidents when students are suspected of possessing, distributing or using a drug, including being drug affected.
Although that includes an immediate response which focuses on the safety and welfare of those directly or indirectly involved, and such things as establishing a case management team, education and prevention and providing information about treatment to parents and guardians; principals must also advise local police when they have knowledge of an alleged criminal offence, including the possession, use and distribution of illicit drugs.
Teachers are instructed by the policy that they have a duty of care to pass on information to the principal if they have knowledge about illicit drug use by students or members of a student’s family irrespective of whether the use is confirmed, suspected or likely to occur; occurs on or outside school grounds; or the type of drug used.
Ultimately the kids involved aren’t tossed on the scrap heap and it’s right they should be given every support.
They may have to leave the school where the offence has occurred, but opportunities should be provided for them to continue their schooling elsewhere although this can be problematic in remote rural areas.
But the question I would ask is ‘why aren’t we smashing the supply chain?’ There needs to be a concerted effort in the area of drugs in schools, and the criminals involved in supplying the drugs further up the line need to know that the community regards such crime extremely seriously and in fact has no tolerance whatsoever.
Huge penalties should apply for any offence where drug supply can be traced through to schools. That’s the only message these absolute dregs of society will heed.
And in the face of the terrible consequences associated with using such drugs as ice, the government should rewrite its ‘drugs in schools’ policy and tell us what’s being done to deal with it.