12 Apr 2013

MPs want teachers given greater search powers

6:51 pm on 12 April 2013

A parliamentary select committee wants teachers given greater powers of search and seizure.

The Education Amendment Bill, which is headed for its second reading, would prevent schools from using dogs and carrying out drug tests on students.

But in a report released on Friday afternoon, the Education select committee says it is concerned that changes contained in the bill would be too restrictive on schools.

Most MPs on the committee want to allow drug dogs to search school property, such as lockers or desks, but not students.

They say staff should be allowed to require a student to remove their jacket or outer clothing, head covering, gloves, footwear, socks or bag for searching.

The MPs say reasonable disciplinary steps could be taken if a student does not comply.

The Secondary Principals' Federation the proposed changes do not go as far as it would have liked.

Association president Tom Parsons and principal of Queen Charlotte College in Picton, says it does not make sense that drug dogs can invade people's private space at airports, but not at schools.

However, he told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Friday the select committee recommendations are a compromise.

"We do have the facility to search a student's clothing and we do have the ability now to search the environment the students have recently vacated, so it's a compromise."