Focus on the Land
Gisborne worst in drugs in schools figures
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Alice Te Puni
A GISBORNE primary student caught with drugs at school was one of the youngest in the country to be suspended last year.
Ministry of Education 2011 data showed the Gisborne pupil and a Wellington student were in Year 5 and aged between 9 and 10.
The report also said Gisborne had the highest number of incidents per capita with a total of 77 suspensions and stand-downs from a roll of 9353.
Gisborne Primary Principals’ Association president Judy Nicoll said the figures were alarming.
“Seventy-seven suspensions for drug possession is shocking and, involving primary-aged students, is a sad indictment on our region.
“As a principal I haven’t personally had to deal with suspending students for drug possession but do know that it is an unfortunate reality in our community.
“Primary-aged children can only get drugs from their own homes so the question has to be asked what are parents modelling to their own children?
“Questions need to be asked about parental responsibility and what communities can do to address this reality,” she said.
Board of Trustees chairperson for a decile one school in Gisborne, Manu Caddie, agreed.
“As a society and community we are failing them big time,” he said. “We know there are chronic drug issues in Tairawhiti so it’s no surprise our kids follow the example set by adults.
“Student attitudes toward drugs and alcohol reflect the values and habits of the adults in their lives.”
Mr Caddie said there were dedicated youth workers trying to do the best for students they work with but many were not dealing with the core issues that lead to drug and alcohol dependency before they leave the education system.
“Alternative education programmes which focus on students excluded from school are severely under-resourced and do not address the high and complex needs of the young people that mainstream schools have been unable to adequately support,” he said.
Mr Caddie said drugs and alcohol were a form of self-medication for traumatised people with “use and abuse” fairly common among the poorest communities.
“I am keen to see the evidence on how effective existing drug and alcohol education programmes are. There are very few effective treatment services for the minority who decide they do want to change.”
No comments - be the first to comment
June 21 marks the 100-day deadline for TV to go digital. Are you digital yet?
No, not yet
Doesn't apply to me
Send in your
Explore The Gisborne Herald
Letters to the Editor
Focus on the Land
64 Gladstone Road, PO Box 1143, Gisborne, New Zealand | Ph: +64 6 869 0600 | Fax: +64 6 869 0643 (editorial) | Fax: +64 6 869 0644 (advertising) | News Hotline: 0800 NEWSLINE (639 754) | email@example.com
Copyright © The Gisborne Herald