In other noise news, my new alarm clock sounds like an ambulance on valium. "Whoooaaaaauuuoooowaaaauuuoooo" - but it wakes me up. And the off switch is on the opposite side to the previous one so I have to wake up to turn it off. Added bonus - The Kid has my old one so no more knocking on his door to wake him up in the mornings. Win!
Yesterday I got a note in the mail from The Kid's school, spelling out their drug policy. Most of it is pretty standard and sensible - they recognise that drug use in growing brains impairs learning and that there is no place for drugs in a school. So far so good. The policy aims for a drug free school, to which I say "Good luck with that." Mostly because of my knowledge of the US's attempts at creating a drug free world, and how well that went.
There's some good information for parents about recognising drug use, how to talk to kids about it, places to find good information (I was pleased to see the NZ Drug Foundation in there). And there's a list of undertakings headed "Students will..", "Staff will..", "School Management will..", "The Board will..", and "We ask that parents.."
My job is apparently pretty simple. I should commit to do my best to keep my kid drug free, and work in partnership with the school and support the school to keep students drug free. I have no problem with the first - while my own opinion on drugs is well known, The Kid and I have regular conversations about that and while I recognise that sooner or later he'll be faced with the decisions around drugs and that the decision is his and I want it to be an informed one, I also think that while his brain is still developing he should stay drug free (never mind staying out of trouble). He's also aware that I know more than most parents about drugs and that I'm likely to notice experimentation before others might.
But the second one is a bit of a problem for me. It'd be less of a problem if the school's drug policy didn't contain these three statements:
"School Management will work with the police to help keep our campus safe, this may involve bringing in drug dogs."
"School Management will ask students to show what is in their pockets and bags."
"Students will be aware that if they associate with other students who are smoking or in possession of drugs they may be seen as supporting the actions of those students and may receive the same disciplinary action."
The Kid tells me that there were drug dogs at the school a couple of weeks ago. He's hazy on the details but apparently the school 'knew' some kids had cannabis and four kids got busted. Bear in mind this is a school of 1000 students, making a hit rate of 0.4%. Compare this to the national rate of regular use (~18%) and it might put the problem in perspective.
I understand the school's desire to weed out (heh) people who are bringing illegal substances onto the campus - it's not only illegal, it's also stupid. IMO, dope at school is like dope at work - there's no place for it there. However, I am disturbed by the use of drug dogs and bag searches. Mostly I'm disturbed because as adults we all have to consent to a search by police before anyone's allowed to see what's in our pockets and bags, and if people brought drug dogs into a place of work there'd be a huge outcry. So what makes it ok to search kids with no consent or to inflict drug dog searches on them?
I don't buy the argument that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, because this isn't what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about my kid, who wants to be a policeman, being subjected to invasions of his privacy (and the human rights thing is pretty dodgy here too I reckon) without consent, because he's a minor. If the school is in loco parentis, and I disagree with their parenting style, what then?
The other statement, whereby if my kid happens to be hanging out with someone who has dope in their bag, he'll get treated as if it were his dope, just makes me see red. Guilt by association is the oldest logical fallacy in the book (well it probably isn't but you know what I mean). Never mind that 'being seen to support someone" does not automatically mean that you DO support them - especially if it's a judgement call from a teacher or groundsperson that puts you in support. Again, this would not be accepted in a place of work so why is it ok to have this kind of thing for kids?
I couldn't help myself on the second one - I told The Kid that if anything like that happened that he was to call me immediately and I'd be at the school ripping strips off them. I would also like to officially register my objection to this policy in the form of a letter, but I haven't quite formulated my argument yet.
As an aside, I find it strange that the school is prepared to go to these lengths to address a very small drug problem, yet cellphones, bus tickets and money go missing out of kids' bags daily and nothing gets done - at least, I haven't had a special note sent home informing me of the school's policy on property crime and how the police will be performing bag searches to catch the thieves.
Speaking of arguments, my tutor gave me A+ for my essay on LSD. In fact, she gave me an actual mark. 92% - with the exception of School Certificate maths, that's the best I've ever done in an assessment, and for a Humanities subject, I'm utterly stoked. I'm also thinking maybe I have a penchant for Social Policy? Maybe I should rethink my Criminology papers and focus more on this - I certainly enjoy it more. And more courses with that tutor because a) she gives me good marks and b) her courses make me think. Lots. Again, hmm..
Lots to think about today.
And from the WTF Spam Content File: "Mrs Bolshevistic forbearance personified!"