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Opinion: Taking the temperature on Massey High Health Studies

Surely education officials would be all over Massey High School like a rash if there was high level concern over its teaching of the NCEA Health curriculum? 

Massy High School says the Drug Foundation material has been taken out of context. Source: 1 NEWS

The school's copped plenty of flak this week for including a fact sheet on safe methamphetamine use in resource material given to Year 13 Health students - a class of 22 pupils.

The two-page leaflet is part of a 25-page information pack handed out with a Level 3 NCEA assignment. 

A long list of complaints includes accusations the school is effectively sanctioning drug use and giving inappropriate material to children. 

Hmmmm … I'm just not convinced.   

It's highly unlikely that a teenager who is curious about drugs is going to hold out until their final year of school for "that fact sheet .. you know, the one they give you in health."

It's more likely those determined to experiment will access an online world stacked with information about every illicit drug imaginable. 

It's also hard to believe the school would hand out a fact sheet for the fourth year running if the material had caused any prior student harm. 

As for the negative assumptions about what 17-year-olds will do now armed with this 'controversial' information?  Let's give them some credit - probably not much.  

Most Year 13 students are at school because they choose to be.

They're young adults preparing for life beyond school and their subject choices reflect that.  

Perhaps some in Massey High's class of 22 are studying health with an eye to the future? Who knows? 

A quick look at tertiary websites shows the sector certainly offers plenty of choice.

It's a really good thing if publicity about Massey High's approach has prompted family discussions about drugs and drug use.  

It's also positive if it's got parents taking a much closer look at the world of their teen. 

But next year, Massey High's Year 13s will be out in the real world - working, studying, travelling, living away from home and the security it offers.  

Best they're prepared - information will be their friend.