Parents back school's drug testing plan
PARENTS have given their support to a secondary school's plans to introduce random drug testing of children.Colne Community School, in Brightlingsea, could now bring in the scheme in September after questionnaires were sent to parents last month.
By Juliette Maxam
PARENTS have given their support to a secondary school's plans to introduce random drug testing of children.
Colne Community School, in Brightlingsea, could now bring in the scheme in September after questionnaires were sent to parents last month.
Yesterday, principal Terry Creissen said more than 90% of parents who responded were in favour of the proposed scheme, which would cost about £10,000 a year to run, with funding hopefully through sponsorship.
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Governors will make a final decision about whether to give the go-ahead later this month and, if so, the first drugs tests will be taken in September. Students will also be surveyed about the issue.
Mr Creissen said some parents responded either by saying they did not know there was a drugs problem at the school or by branding it a cheap publicity stunt.
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He said: "There's a big drugs problem with young people. We happen to deal with young people. About 3% of our students will be dealing or taking drugs in school – 3% is too many. If drugs testing stops one child it's good news."
He added: "By saying what we are doing, people are saying: 'That's the drugs school.' They're wrong – this is the anti-drugs school. We are not prepared to allow children with the issue of being foisted with the problem."
Mr Creissen said random drugs testing at school gave children the excuse to turn down drugs at a party or wherever.
The process, which would be carried out by an outside company, would involve a saliva sample which is tested for drugs including cannabis and amphetamines.
Testing would only be carried out with the agreement of parents and pupils. The school would monitor the performance and behaviour of any students who test positive.
A pupil would not be excluded for failing a drugs test, but could be expelled if his or her behaviour or performance deteriorated to an unacceptable level.
Mr Creissen said he has in the past excluded a student for bringing drugs to school.
He added: "I worry about heads who say there's no drugs issue in my school. Those people are either extremely ignorant, stupid or downright liars."