Local education authorities are now being encouraged to use sniffer drugs in the fight against drugs in school. Take a guess as to whether this is a good idea?
The answer is – no, it’s not. In fact, it’s one of the most absurd ideas for keeping law and order I’ve heard in a while, up there with using stop and searches as an anti-terrorism measure.
The most important thing is that it won’t work. Even if you did manage to push drugs and dealing out of schools (I’m not convinced they’re even there in the first place) you succeed in doing… what exactly? Kids take and sell them outside of school instead? Congratulations, you’ve managed to take an illegal activity from a relatively safe environment to a more dangerous one.
You also encourage people to play truant – denying themself an education in the process, lowering the chance of getting any qualifications, and pushing them still further into drugs as their only option. It’s a vicious circle, and it makes no sense, apart from grabbing a few headlines and plaudits from the self declared moral guardians of our world. (You know, the ones with the expensive cocaine habits.)
I’ve also got hope that at least some of Britain’s young people have the brains to get around the scheme. Do you really need to keep your possessions in your pocket at all times, or could you not use third-partys to carry the drugs and take the rap for you? The most enterprising teenagers could offer free drugs in exchange for taking that chance, while cheapskates might be content which just bunking registration or whatever other piece of school time is going to be given over to the dogs.
Which is another point – aren’t people supposed to be learning in school? Not having their lessons interrupted on the off chance that there’s some weed in their pocket. And even if there is… are they arrested? Excluded? What’s the punishment for mildly harming yourself in school, given that nothing often seems to happen when someone mildly harms someone else?
Like stop and searching, the argument is that “if you’re innocent, then you’ve got nothing to be afraid of”. Bollocks. Just like stop and searching, drug sniffing is invasive and unpleasant. I myself don’t like dogs at the best of time – they remind me of wolves which forgot to evolve into something nicer. Why should I be punished? I can understand if there was a very high chance of stopping something very bad from happening, but honestly, teens taking drugs is more a cliché than a crisis.
Of course there are serious cases – but this is not the way to deal with them. Of course people shouldn’t have to face drug dealers in school any more than they should outside, but if you can’t control your own classrooms so that this doesn’t happen, you’ve got bigger problems. Like, oh I don’t know, bullying? STIs? Gangs? Knives? Guns? I’d rather we spent copious amounts of money tackling these issues before we get round to the sniffer dogs.
In my opinion, we need to radically rethink our attitude to drugs, especially in terms of youth. Scare campaigns don’t work, and constantly pushing everything to the most dangerous edges of criminality is not the way to go about it either. But that’s an argument for another time, and not one I expect any government to agree to any time soon. But please, hold off the dogs.
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