Education Minister Anne Tolley says newly-released guidelines for the search and seizure of drugs and weapons in schools will help support teachers and protect students and staff.
The guidelines – the first of their kind – were developed by the Ministry and external legal advisers following calls from the sector for clear advice on how to legally deal with students suspected of carrying drugs and dangerous items.
Widespread consultation took place with sector groups before the guidelines were finalised.
“The vast majority of our students are well-behaved,” says Mrs Tolley.
“However, schools wanted more support in dealing with challenging behaviour involving weapons and drugs, as they are required to provide a safe environment for all students and staff.
“These new guidelines should give principals and teachers more confidence to pre-empt and deal with difficult situations, and ensure that this minority of students gets the message that drugs and weapons are not acceptable in our schools.
“This will allow teachers to manage any disruptions, and get on with the important job of lifting achievement.
“I have also instructed the Ministry to investigate changes to legislation which will give schools even greater support in what is a complex legal area.
"And I want to acknowledge the work of the Secondary Principals' Association, for raising this as an issue and for their valuable feedback during consultation.
“In addition to these new guidelines, the Positive Behaviour for Learning plan is already seeing great results in dealing with difficult students.
“$60 million is being invested in the plan, which will see over 7000 teachers receive additional training in effective classroom management. On top of this, staff from 400 schools are receiving training in how to promote positive behaviour and lift student engagement, while more than 15,000 parents in at-risk families are being supported to build more positive relationships with their children.
“Other support for schools includes a new rapid response service following the most extreme behaviour incidents, and an Intensive Behaviour Service to target the most complex and challenging students."
The search and seizure guidelines can be viewed at: