Leader of Reason Australia and Victorian MP Fiona Patten stands with Melbourne Girls College and their sensible decision to counsel, educate and rehabilitate the two students found to be selling cannabis on schools grounds.
A knee-jerk reaction to expel the students would have inflicted more harm than good. At the tentative ages of 12 and 13 retributive justice has the potential to have long term negative impacts. on the child’s development.
“The public outcries and calls for these two young girls to be expelled, is not the answer. 65% of adults in prison system experienced such disciplinary action while at school and there is a better way. For youth offenders rehabilitative and restorative justice is far more effective in stopping recidivism”, said Fiona Patten MP during Neil Mitchell’s morning program on 3AW.
Excluding children from school has disastrous effects on the students social and personal well being. Students who are expelled are 10 times more likely to drop out of school and not finish their education.
It’s important that school principals and police have the flexibility use commonsense in incidents such as this. To criminalise 13 year olds will not help them and will not stop other children doing the same.
This story is part of the wider issue of the ineffective and outdated drug education in our schools. Our education system is outdated and takes a prohibitionist approach. This is not an isolated incident and is yet another example of how the “War on Drugs” and the “just say no approach” makes drugs attractive to rebellious students.
“No high school student wants to be uncool. It is time to attack the issue from a health perspective. A sensible, evidenced based education program that informs children on the health ramifications of drug usage is guaranteed to make it uncool”, explained Fiona Patten MP