Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2003
Source: Southland Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2003, Southland Times Company Ltd.
Author: Duncan Eddy


The long awaited Health Select Committee report on the appropriate
public health strategies and legal status for cannabis echoes the call
of Invercargill youth advocate Bob Simpson for schools to act in ways
that nurture at risk youth rather than throwing them on the scrap heap.

The Committee has recommended that the Department of Education
undertake an inquiry into the rate of suspensions, stand downs and
expulsions for cannabis use. The report also expresses concern that
exclusion from school for cannabis incidents exceeds the number of
similar responses for acts of violence.

The NZ Drug Foundation agrees with the Health Select Committee
recommendation that the Ministry of Education should encourage schools
to preserve the educational opportunities of young people caught with
cannabis. They note that there is strong evidence that keeping kids in
school protects them from a range of bad outcomes.

Congratulations to those who have been willing to stand up for the
often voiceless youth of Invercargill. This release of this
parliamentary committees report has vindicated your stance.


Duncan Eddy
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