Drug use by students is a serious concern for schools and the community. Statistics released under the Official Information Act by the Ministry of Education show that the number of students stood down or suspended for drug use has been increasing since 2007.
In 2007,1017 students were stood down and 942 suspended for drugs use and substance abuse. By 2009 this had jumped to 1420 being stood down and 1074 suspended. In 2010 statstics up to October showed 1451 stand-downs and 1036 suspensions for drug offences.
109 New Zealand primary and intermediate schools stood down or suspended students for drug-related offending last year.
Headlines of "Primary pupils in drug figures" does not make for good reading and reports children as young as seven being suspended.
The use of a drug dog can be a high profile deterrent, which sends a clear message to students regarding the possession and use of drugs. It also reinforces the seriousness that the school places on providing a drug-free environment for staff and students.
The dogs can be used in classrooms, corridors, common areas, offices, vehicles and outdoor areas.
Dogs provide a very high profile and deterrent factor that implies that you are serious about having a drug free environment.
Speed of clearances.
Lockers and desks do not have to be opened.
Non discriminatory tool.
Minimal disruption to staff and students.
If there are any indications given by the dog, or drugs are located, the subsequent follow up is left with the school.
Our dogs are trained to an internationally recognised guidelines.
We use both independent and qualified assessors during annual testing.
Our dog handlers are professionally trained handlers with recognised backgrounds and expertise in their fields.
We are available at short notice when issues arise.
We can provide an educational presentation on illicit drugs to staff, students and parents.
We can provide guidelines to schools on how to fairly advise students and the community of a pending visit by drug dogs.
We can also implement and administer a random visit schedule of a specified number of visits per school over a defined period.
Thanks for the report - great. I followed up with the girl identified and she admitted having carried some pot in that pocket earlier in the week but had none on her at the time I spoke with her. As you suggested, she certainly had a fright that she was identified. Can I thank you again for the way you worked on Friday. You were excellent with the students and efficient at carrying out your job. I really appreciated the professional manner in which the exercise was conducted.
Give that lovely dog an extra biscuit from me!