Elite school to drug test and search students

 

A prestigious eastern ­suburbs Jewish school will test and search students for drugs and e-cigarettes.

Moriah College in Queens Park will introduce drug ­testing after Year 10 students were caught using marijuana and ­e-cigarettes at a recent Zionist seminar.

Students will be subjected to "random and targeted regular drug screening and bag, locker and pocket searches", the school's principal Rabbi ­Yehoshua Smukler wrote in an email to parents.

"As a college, we are steadfast in accepting our collective responsibility to educate and take a leading role in eradicating this insidious culture from our community," Rabbi Smukler wrote.

Moriah War Memorial College in Queens Park.
Moriah War Memorial College in Queens Park.

Drug education sessions will be mandatory for students and parents. The college has trained school nurses to take swab tests and, if a student refuses, they have 24 hours to present pathology urine or blood tests from nearby clinics in Bondi Junction.

"We involve parents from the very start and speak to students with a parent or psychologist present," Rabbi Smukler told The Sunday Telegraph.

"I've received a lot of feedback from parents and 90 per cent has been very supportive."

Students who test positive for drugs must see a psychologist and submit to further tests to prove they can come clean or they will be expelled.

The school will involve NSW Police when they have reason to believe they have evidence of drug dealing.

Rabbi Smukler has seen social media posts of students smoking marijuana and e-cigarettes.

"Part of the culture in Sydney is drug taking or smoking is cool, which is an issue we should be discussing among parents and teachers," he said.

"We're going to test somewhat randomly, but if we have reason to believe a student is using we will target the tests.

"It's mainly deterrence, like seeing an RBT on the road and you think 10 times before getting behind the wheel drunk."

Government schools cannot drug test or breath test students, even during school activities such as excursions and sporting events.

Eastern suburbs private school Reddam House, which has campuses in Bondi and Woollahra, also has a policy that allows teachers to drug test students. Leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said the threat of testing gave students an excuse to sidestep peer pressure to use drugs but he doesn't support widespread testing.