Policing Our Public Schools

Our classrooms must not become drug sanctuaries
The time is now for us to talk the talk and walk the walk around the issue of drug abuse in Halton.

It causes us great concern to read that some people in our community want youth drug traffickers to have safe havens of operation (i.e. the schools.). Let’s begin with the opinion recently published in a letter to The Spectator, “Drug bust is no deterrent.”

The writer states that police funding should be put to better use and police should be kept out of schools. Does that also mean that drug traffickers should ply their trade elsewhere? You can’t have it both ways. One would think the choice to be obvious. Did the writer also mean that all police presence should be removed from schools? Are schools to become sanctuaries for perpetrators not mirroring the realities of the real world? If the police are to be removed from the schools we might as well put up a sign that says:

“This institution preserves the students right to either respect or ignore the law because your parents thought you should not be accountable for all of your behaviours wherever you go.”

So what do we do when in fact the majority of parents send their children to school with the belief that the school will use every legal and appropriate means to insure their child’s safety?

The biggest issue that parents bring to Parent Watch is the issue of their children going through sudden changes in personality and becoming uncontrollable. A significant number of these children, some of whom begin stealing from their parents and siblings, verbally and physically threaten families, run away, or begin displaying signs of depression, physical and self-abuse have been introduced to drugs at school. Most kids are, in fact, just kids. They are trying to survive and be accepted. It shouldn’t take a great deal of thought to realize that if someone keeps offering my kid drugs, not just daily but several times a day, the probability that they will in fact say ‘yes’ to drugs will increase. This is especially true when our youth perceive that there are no real deterrents.

Can we afford not to have ‘big brother or sister’ helping to insure our children’s safety? When a community begins to look out for its children it should be said that this is a community that actually walks the talk. Looking out for our younger children does mean that we are going to get a clear message out to youth who are trafficking to other youth that they will be held accountable.

It was reported that it cost approximately $6,000 to conduct the undercover police operation. Who said that insuring our safety as a community didn’t come with financial costs? What value do you place on the message that we are prepared to come after you wherever you are, and that schools are not drug sanctuaries?

The only issue should be why aren’t citizens of this community allocating more resources to the drug squad? The long-term health and crime costs are a hundred-fold greater than an extensive and direct response to trafficking. We would want these youths to know very clearly that the status quo has changed and we will now bring forth all the resources to declare war on drugs and insure safe schools.

We don’t agree that Halton police should feel embarrassed about mounting a drug sting operation in a school. Chief Peter Campbell and school principal Tom Adams, we can’t thank you enough for bringing the offensive against drugs that will help stop the enormous suffering and emotional/financial costs that our families incur with regards to drug abuse. Each day our jobs become harder to do when we deal with youth who become casualties to drug usage. We would encourage the sceptics and non-supporters to spend some volunteer time in the Halton Regional Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit at Oakville Trafalgar-Memorial Hospital.

If there are any doctors who believe that smoking marijuana is less dangerous than drinking alcohol please remember that there is no label on street drugs. In the fall of this past year we were alerted through our intelligence network to PCP being mixed with what was promoted as being hydroponically grown marijuana. PCP is a banned horse tranquilizer that was killing horses. The Halton Regional Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit was alerted and a screening test specifically for PCP was initiated. In addition we were advised that a local youth was selling contaminated hash. Thanks to the assistance of several actions of a high school principal, the Halton Regional Police School Liaison Officer and Parent Watch the message was quickly sent out about the risks of purchasing drugs.

Finally, in the recent letter to The Spectator, the writer worries about how the children will view the world as a result of “big brother.” After a combined 35 years in the business of dealing with children and families in crisis and having our own children, we can honestly say that most kids think we, the adults, are failing them in our attempts to deal with drug abuse.

What do these kids mean? Specifically they ask why we have no residential drug treatment services in Halton. They believe that most Halton parents haven’t got a clue about the drug scene in Halton. They have the nerve to suggest that our ignorance is grounded in denial or an unwillingness to care or learn. It only happens to those other kids, we say. And finally, the kids believe the deterrents are minimal. Quite frankly, the kids ask why we aren’t watching out for them more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *