Schools have started bring drug sniffing dogs to detect scents of marijuana, ecstacy, amphetamines and other illegal drugs.Illicit substances have become a major issue for educators in Queensland. Thus, school administrators started to conduct random drug testing with their students.
Martin Dominick, an employee of the K9 Center who quietly makes rounds with K9 units in Queensland schools for 2 years, stated that: “It’s unbelievable how rife it in schools. People would be horrified.” This statement by Dominique prompted school officials to put their utmost attention to the issue of drug dependent kids in Queensland.
These policies started to rev up when the state’s most exclusive schools announced that they are going to conduct “regular and random” drug test on students.
However, public criticism of the policy was feared by Greg Wain, Southport School Headmaster. However, the public policy was negated by the overwhelming support of people who thinks that the matter must be directly addressed by school officials.
In Southport, the issue of drug use became so important that the school decided to bring in sniffing dogs to conduct rounds in student’s lockers. This was confirmed by Mr. Wain in The Sunday Mail.
Mr. Wain said, “I was hesitant about random drug testing because of the fact we have a great deal of trust here between the staff and the boys. The fact is, the boys could see the advantages. The one thing they latched on to is it’s a really strong reason to say no.”
According to the latest Federal Government Drug Report in 2008, children of 12 to 17 years old showed use of prohibited substances including marijuana (15%), inhalants (18%), tranquilizers (19%), amphetamines (5%) and ecstacy (5%).On the other hand, there was an increase of drug use in girls ages 16 to 17 years old from statistical reports in 2005.
In school year 2010-2011, 160 students were expelled for use of illegal drugs and misconduct; 315 were given serious suspensions of six to 20 days; 160 were given minor suspensions.
School officials said that the statistics vastly understates the extent of drug use in private and public schools.
A Gold Coast teacher explained how children could get access to illegal drugs with the use of social networks and affiliations with older age groups. “They’ve been caught in the toilet smoking marijuana. Their behaiviour can get quite aggressive and they won’t follow orders. You can smell it on them. You can’t accuse them because you don’t know for sure. But your gut instinct tells you, this kid is stoned.” He said.
“It’s great what the Southport School wants to do and I hope that they can do it. Obviously, there is a problem out there. It’s going to save their lives”, as pointed out by the teacher.
This sentiment was shared by a senior member of the independent schools community who said, “Over the last few years, drugs have become more prominent as kids are able to get things outside of school very easily. They will tell you they can walk down the street or wherever and people will offer to sell it to you. It’s a very simple matter.”
“Police, when we have let them know, are helpful but are just so busy with bigger things than kids getting marijuana. There are lots of schools around where kids coming in stoned or looking like they can’t cope are problem and they don’t do anything about it,. I’ve heard teachers say, ‘I see kids like this but what’s the point. Their parents don’t care, nothing will happen to them anyway so let’s get on with the job’.” she added.
She also said that the Soutport School’s move to conduct random drug test should convince educators to review their approach.
She also stated that the program was a very good wake-up call for everyone to turn around and ponder if what they are doing is effective or could they be able to improve the policy on the matter.
On the other hand, civil rights advocates are alarmed at the policy. Research also showed that the random drug testing was not able to negate drug use in the US.
The Queensland Teacher’s Union was also not convinced and are doubtful regarding the policy. But, they admit that drug use in school is a major setback in Queensland’s education.
According to President Kevin Bates, “We’re hearing about all sorts of clever ways to make these drugs less attractive to young people. Schools are always the target.”
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.