HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Teachers Asked To Watch For Grow-Op Signs
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Sep 2004
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 Calgary Herald
Author: CanWest News Service


Teachers can play a role in saving British Columbia children from
marijuana grow-ops in homes, police say.

"It's extremely common that we find children, from infants right
through to teenagers, inside grow-ops," said RCMP Cpl. Tim Shields.
"It's uncomfortable to talk about, but we need to get it into the open."

Last year, police found kids in 23 of 160 grow-ops they busted, he
said. There are an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 grow-ops in B.C., with
up to 3,700 children believed to be living in them.

In Ontario, as many as 10,000 children are believed to be living in
grow-ops, according to a 2003 Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
report titled Green Tide. And children are found in one of every four
homes busted.

But if teachers are alert, Shields said, children can give them clues.

Already, more than one Surrey, B.C., student has mentioned the plants
their father grows in the basement. In another case, a child told his
teacher intruders broke into their home, tied up his parents and stole
all the plants.

"We don't obviously want a situation where teachers are questioning
kids to try to detect a grow-op," he said. "But they just need to keep
their ears open and use intuition and if things don't seem right,
maybe it's time to start asking some extra questions."

To help raise awareness of the health and physical threats to children
posed by grow-ops, the Collingwood Community Policing Centre in
Vancouver created an educational video called Growing Up in a Grow
Operation it hopes to distribute to schools.
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