Drugs and teens not just a police issue

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Almost daily, the media is reporting crimes fuelled by drug addiction or reading court reports of someone who is in trouble with the law because of their drug use.

One recent report is all the more shocking.

Just last month, Prince District Joint Forces Operation Drug Unit arrested a 17-year-old Three Oaks student for drug trafficking as he was entering the Summerside school.

The arrest was the result of tips from the community that the teen had been selling drugs both in and outside the school.

On the young man, police found 2.5 ounces of marijuana, a digital scale, cash, cellphone and packaging supplies.

He now faces drug-trafficking charges and a potential two-year prison sentence.

Likely, for most parents and even students who heard and read the news, the drug bust at Three Oaks was shocking or at the very least disturbing.

Undoubtedly, there were questions parents had, many of which online commenters posted on the story that appeared on media websites.

Yet, the school and the board that oversees the operation of all English language had kept quiet on the issue.

The school’s principal, who was contacted a number of times for comment on the story, said she would be unable to do so.

And when the English Language School Board’s Superintendent, Cynthia Fleet, was questioned on the issue, she said that drugs in schools is an issue for the police.

“Law enforcement did arrest a student and that individual has been charged, but that would really be a police matter to comment,” said the superintendent.

But it is not just a police matter. Just ask the concerned parents who question how drugs are making it into our schools and what, if anything, individual schools and the school board are doing about it.

Fleet did say that “communities are concerned about involvement in illicit drugs, use of alcohol or abuse of alcohol,” adding that there are school counselors in place and that the board is “doing our best” to work with addictions services.

But if a teen is being arrested inside the walls of a school, drugs on hand and ready to sell, it appears that counseling is not the solution.

More must be done to be proactive, to ensure that illicit drugs aren’t, at least within our schools, getting into the hands of our youth.

And that is in part the job of the school board, not just that of the police who are called in, once suspicion is raised, to make an arrest.

It is time that officials within the education system admit there is a problem — yes, even within our schools — and do what must be done to address it.

Organizations: Prince District Joint Forces Operation Drug Unit, English Language School Board

Geographic location: Summerside

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  • John W.A.Curtis
    December 23, 2013 - 08:43

    The Superintendent wouldn't let me speak at the schoolboard meeting. I wanted a Provincial Ombudsman. An Ombudsman would investigate parents' complaints about drugs in schools. The province pays for security at the Province House, members offices, government offices and Provincial courts. The schools are owned by the province and policing is the responsibility for the province and schoolboard. Cynthia Fleet is wrongly deflecting the issue of drugs away from the schoolboard and province.