Local Nutters #1- Ann Bressington (part 1 in a series)
Posted by irisheaven on August 18, 2006
“HIGH school students in South Australia will be tested for drugs twice a year if radical legislation proposed by new MP Ann Bressington is adopted.
Although the anti-drugs campaigner’s move has outraged parent groups, she says anyone who opposes her legislation, which also would allow tests to be carried out without parental consent, is “soft on drugs”.The independent MP, elected to State Parliament’s Upper House this year on the ticket of No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon, will introduce her legislation to Parliament this month. She has urged parents to support her plan and to resist likely opposition to it.
“Concerned parents need to watch closely who opposes the measure . . . it will be an indication of who is soft on drugs,” she said.
South Australian Association of State Schools Organisation director David Knuckey said making the tests compulsory “completely overrides” the rights of parents.
“It’s mandatory. It removes all consent from parents,” he said.
“This is a Bill that could potentially take so much away from parents, school communities and community groups.”
Measures include compulsory testing twice yearly for students aged more than 14. Those who refuse could be suspended for up to five days.
Public and private schools would have to test their students. Parents would receive a report on their child’s results.
What drugs would be tested, or what testing methods would be used are not stipulated in the legislation. Mr Knuckey, who represents school governing councils, said some parents were worried about the invasive nature of testing. One parent reportedly told him: “Nobody is going to touch my 14-year-old daughter and forcibly take a sample from her body without my consent.”
Mr Knuckey stressed drug use among children was a serious issue.
“No matter how many children are using drugs, it’s too many,” he said.
Ms Bressington said overseas trials had proved the effectiveness of such measures. She said she was willing to negotiate the issue of consent with parent groups.
The legislation is expected to be introduced when Parliament returns from its winter break at the end of the month.”