I wrote about the Ministry of Education’s search and seizure guide for schools a couple of months ago, but I missed this article that contains some really disturbing comments from those involved in education. Basically, the police used to assist schools with draconian drug dog and weapon searches of entire schools, but have stopped after their lawyers realized that they’re probably not legal.
The rights of a few
“Education Minister Anne Tolley said a law change might be needed, because it was wrong for the rights of one or two pupils to take precedence over the rights of the whole school community.” [emphasis mine]
Because, you know, it’s only the students with drugs and knives that are being protected by making sure searches are reasonable! As Michael Bott points out later in the article, you’re violating the rights of every student when you conduct unreasonable searches en masse.
“Every step has to be taken to prevent [exposure to drugs and weapons].”
An extremely single-minded approach. When do strip searches become a reasonable step?
Exempting teachers from the law
“Crown Law is also investigating possible law changes to protect teachers from being charged with assault or false imprisonment”.
The police being the only sensible people in the room
“They will still help schools with searches but only when there is evidence of pupils carrying weapons or illicit drugs.”
“Screw reasonable suspicion and screw the police lawyers”
“Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh – principal of John Paul College in Rotorua – said … it was unfortunate that police would now offer searches only if there was “reasonable suspicion that drugs are being peddled at the school”. The searches should continue until their legality was tested in court or ministry lawyers ruled they were unlawful, he said.” [emphasis mine]
What is this I don’t even.
“‘No other New Zealand citizens are subject to the same intrusive search criteria,’ lawyer Michael Bott said.”
Random drug searches of innocent pupils “were ‘deemed OK by virtue of their age and the fact that they’re compelled to attend the school’”.
Hekia Parata is the new Minister of Education, so hopefully she isn’t as ridiculous as Anne Tolley. Though, Anne Tolley becomes the Minister for Police and Corrections, so good luck with that everyone.
Image credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor http://www.flickr.com/photos/anhonorablegerman/5722364868/