We are all responsible for kids doing drugs at school

The NZ Herald really loves sticking it to brown kids. Whether it’s hysterical coverage of Polyfest, or more recently, a couple of kids smoking weed at school (why embed the video, you scummy clickbait vultures?) our nation’s biggest publication seems to revel in the tragic consequences of social inequality.

These stories are always framed in a way that implies culpability on the part of the school. “This does not reflect the school’s principles,” SCC Principal Robin Staples asserted in response to the video showing students smoking, defending the implicit accusation that it was somehow his fault that students decided to bring weed to school. “…they’ll be suspended and have to report to the board of trustees”, he continued, espousing the ‘tough on drugs’ stance that schools are forced into, despite research showing this is the exact opposite of how we should be treating young drug users.

Here’s the thing: if young brown kids from south Auckland are bringing drugs to school, the culpability stretches far beyond their school. In fact, schools are doing their darnedest every day of the week to support these young people to engage in education. The responsibility for this tragedy lies with all of us. It is a direct result of the type of society we’ve been complicit in creating, where kids on one side of the bridge order too much UberEats for lunch, and kids on the other side go to school cold, hungry, and desperate. It’s completely messed up, it’s completely our fault, and if  we don’t do something about it, the consequences for all of us are only going to get worse.

We know that increased inequality leads to, among other things:

  • A lack of trust between people
  • An increase in crime
  • Poorer health outcomes
  • Poorer educational outcomes
  • Lower home ownership and exploitative rental practices
  • Political power concentrated in a rich ruling class

Gross! All of it! Let’s fix this shit, Auckland, and stop blaming teachers and schools. They’re just mopping up our mess.

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