Michael Fabricant has questioned the practicality of the Government’s
announcement to allow headteachers to carry out drug searches in schools.
"I welcome the Government’s intentions regarding the need to tackle
drug-taking amongst school students, but these proposals are not new and are
impractical. Staffordshire schools are particularly badly funded compared
with other parts of the country. While I recognise that there is a drugs
problem with 1 in 3 teenagers having smoked cannabis and 1 in 10 having
tried ecstasy nationally – we do not know the figures for individual
counties – I do question whether the Government have thought this one
through. Firstly, head teachers already have the powers to carry out
random tests, but there are no reported cases of state schools doing so.
And secondly, each urine test will cost £9 and there may also be a charge
for the use of sniffer dogs. Do Staffordshire and other midlands schools
have the resources for this? Besides, drugs are often sold outside the
school gates where the head teacher has no powers.
"The irony is that, nationally, schools with the biggest drugs problems are
often in inner city areas and are the least well resourced. This proposal
only becomes practical and a new initiative rather than a gimmick by simply
re-announcing existing powers already available to schools, if extra
financial resources are made available to head teachers to enable them to
carry out the battle against drugs. In the meantime, we also need extra
police resources to stop drugs being sold in the vicinity of schools."