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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Schools Search For Drugs Without Police
Title:New Zealand: Schools Search For Drugs Without Police
Published On:2011-10-01
Source:Manawatu Evening Standard (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-10-09 06:02:23

Manawatu schools will continue to use sniffer dogs despite a move by
police to stop random drug-dog searches in schools.

After changes to the Education Ministry's search and seizure of drugs
and weapons guidelines in August, police have been legally advised to
stop carrying out random sniffer-dog drug searches in schools.

A police spokeswoman said the advice from lawyers was that a
"generalised search for the purposes of gathering evidence for
prosecution is unlawful", which meant unless police had sufficient
evidence to gain a search warrant from the courts they would not take
sniffer-dogs into schools for random searches.

But Palmerston North Boys' High School rector Tim O'Connor said it
would not be an issue for his school because a drug-testing company
was used each year to conduct random searches. "We would only use the
police to search the premises here if we had a serious cause for concern."

Feilding High School principal Roger Menzies said it also used an
outside company to undertake random drug searches.

"If we think we've got a problem [with drugs], then we get dogs in. We
use them when and where necessary."

Both schools have had incidents in the past few months in which drugs
were found on the school premises.

Three boys caught with drugs were kicked out of Palmerston North Boys'
High School's boarding house in July after drugs were found. Feilding
High School also kicked out four students from its boarding house for
drug use in June.

Education Minister Anne Tolley said the new guidelines were to help
support teachers and protect students and staff.

"Schools wanted more support in dealing with challenging behaviour
involving weapons and drugs, as they are required to provide a safe
environment for all students and staff," she said. "These new
guidelines should give principals and teachers more confidence to
preempt and deal with difficult situations, and ensure that this
minority of students gets the message that drugs and weapons are not
acceptable in our schools."
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