Zero tolerance

How refreshing to hear Eastern Fleurieu School principal Trevor Fletcher speak honestly about teenagers and the risk – however small – of illegal drugs being brought into schools.
For a parent of the secondary students at Eastern Fleurieu it must be encouraging to hear that senior staff will not tolerate even the suspicion of drugs and will act swiftly with authorities to root out any problem.
Mr Fletcher had been at the Strathalbyn public school less than two months when he called on the aid of Hills police and the SA Police dog squad to search the senior campus.
There’s nothing like a sniffer dog going through the lockers and pointing the nose at students with “positive indications” to send a message of zero tolerance.
Mr Fletcher said he wanted to reassure his students and their families that Eastern Fleurieu was going to be a safe place.
There’s a good chance it will be now if students know that staff will not hesitate to act swiftly and with the full backing of the law.
Illegal drugs don’t belong in schools (or anywhere) but as a community we would be foolish to kid ourselves that the problem doesn’t exist.
Now, if the principal could just turn his attention to the problem of litter in the school grounds …

Fire frustration

It must be incredibly frustrating living next door to a neighbor who refuses to clean up their property for the fire season.
You can clean out your gutters, trim your lower canopy branches and cut your grass but if you live next door to a giant bonfire pile it’s hard to feel confident your home will weather an ember attack or the full brunt of a fire front.
Therefore, have some sympathy for the neighbors living next door to the 100 properties fined and then cleaned up by the Adelaide Hills Council in recent weeks.
They might only be a small number compared with the 16,000 rateable sites in the district, but for the people living near them they are a risk to life and property.
Many of them are repeat offenders, for various reasons, but the council still has to go through the same process of inspection, warning and then fine.
Perhaps it’s time to give councils stronger enforcement tools to deter those repeat offenders who are quite happy to wear the fine and be spared the trouble of organising a contractor.
No-one would want to see landowners punished for unforeseen circumstances such as illness that might prevent from doing the work themselves.
However, it is arrogant to own land in an extremely high risk bushfire area and not take responsibility for mitigating that danger.