Drugs and Drug Screening PolicyAs a school, we want to support our pupils to live drug free lives.
Exercise of an authentic ‘zero tolerance’ Policy that doesn’t take into account personal circumstances, family background, and ongoing pastoral challenges that pupils might face will prove problematic and in contradiction to the school’s duty of care to all of its pupils in effect means performing a balancing act; there is a need to inform and educate pupils about the risks to physical and mental health that drugs present, but also a need to support pupils who make poor choices and decisions, the consequences of which will influence the rest of their lives.
However, the overarching principle for happy and productive co-existence at RIS is that use of drugs by pupils, however casual, infrequent, recreational, deliberate or practised, has no place at the school.
An illustrative but non-exhaustive list of the types of drugs or substances that are prohibited by this Policy include:
- All illegal drugs
- Any product containing any form of cannabis, including cannabis-infused products and cannabis oil
- Volatile substances emitting gas or vapour that can be inhaled
- Misuse of over-the-counter and prescription medicines e.g. Alprazolam (trade name, Xanax)
- Psychoactive substances (known as New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs), known commonly as ‘legal highs’ and NOX (Nitrous Oxide)
- ‘Smart drugs’ which are not prescribed by a doctor and are used to enhance brain function
The approach and scope of the Policy
We aim to create a culture that empowers and enables pupils to say no to experimentation and misuse of drugs and to use healthy approaches to enjoying life and coping at difficult times in their life.
The reported use of drugs that comes to the school’s attention and when a pupil is away from the school, including at the weekend or during the holidays, is also likely to have serious disciplinary ramifications for a pupil. This is the case as any use of drugs by a member of the school, whenever or wherever it occurs, will have a detrimental effect on a pupil’s mental health and well-being and lead to dependency.
We recognise that young children may unintentionally bring drugs into school. Such instances are very rare and would be dealt with according to the schools’ welfare procedures, involving other agencies as necessary.
Prevention through education
Pupils’ education about drugs and substances is primarily delivered through the schools’ Personal Social Health Education/Wellbeing programme; this is done through curriculum lessons and through using a range of visiting speakers. Staff are kept up to date on new trends of drug use and also have a role to play in educating pupils about making safe choices.
Confidentiality and Support
Pupils are encouraged to disclose their concerns and anxieties about drugs in confidence to members of staff or other responsible adults.
If a pupil is suspected of taking drugs or being under the influence of drugs the school may exercise the right to ask the parent that the pupil to undergo a drugs’ screen. This may take the form of a saliva swab test, a urine test, or a hair follicle test. The decision to authorise a screen can only be taken by the parent.Refusal to take screens, or by a parent/guardian to allow screening, will constitute a refusal to obey the discipline of the school and the school will be entitled to draw an adverse inference that the pupil has taken drugs.
If a pupil is found to be in possession of drugs the police and parents will be notified.
In the event of drugs being found in a student’s possession the parents of the pupil will be informed of the school’s concern and desire to support the pupil at the earliest practical opportunity. A programme of counselling and support will be constructed in partnership between the pupil, parents and school.