Our Substance Misuse Policy applies to students, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and all users of the school. This applies to all school activities, both on and off site.
RELATIONSHIP TO SCHOOL’S MISSION/VISION/AIMS:
Our Substance Misuses Policy relates to our school Mission Statement where “all aspects of the student are valued and nurtured…. we encourage everyone to appreciate his/her own worth”. Clearly substance misuse prevents this.
Today’s social environment presents young people with many challenges that affect their health and well-being. Exposure to substance misuse is part of this reality. As holistic educators, we endeavour to instil in students the skills necessary to make positive choices. The National Drugs Strategy, 2001 – 2008 requires that all schools have a substance misuse policy in place.
- To heighten staff awareness of substance misuse among students.
- Educate students in the effects of substance misuse.
- Prevent students getting involved in substance misuse.
- Identify students at risk of substance misuse.
- To offer support services (counselling and referral) to students at risk.
- To maintain a drug free environment for students.
A number of student care procedures are in place.
- The pastoral care system means each student has Tutor and Year Head support. Other support staff available to students include: HSCL Officer, Counsellor, Guidance Counsellor and Garda Liaison Officer.
- Student care meetings take place bi-monthly to identify students at risk.
- Code of Behaviour states that smoking is prohibited either on the grounds or in the vicinity of the school.
- The use of sprays, aerosols and Tipp-ex are to be actively discouraged.
- Students are supervised before school and at all break times. CCTV is in use in common areas.
- Parents are contacted immediately if a student appears ill or injured. The school will seek medical assistance if parents/guardians are not available.
- The school provides each student with a timetabled substance use education. At Junior Cert, this forms part of SPHE. Transition Year students pursue a personal development programme. Senior classes cover a module on substance use as part of their Social Education programme.
- We endeavour to promote high self-esteem and development of personal skills across the curriculum.
- We encourage students to make informed decisions in all aspects of their life.
- All staff are made aware of the school policy on substance misuse.
- New staff to be briefed at teacher induction programme.
- Staff will be released for training programmes where appropriate.
- Garda Liaison Officer speaks to student groups at regular intervals.
Management of Substance Related Incidents
The school acknowledges when drugs related issues arise, there has to be a balance struck between:
- The separate needs of the persons involved
- The needs of the whole school
- The school’s reputation
Incidents related to substance use may be classified as follows:
- Emergency – the person is unconscious
- Very unusual behaviour/intoxication.
- Suspicion of substance dealing.
- Evidence given by another person.
- Having legal/illegal drugs on school campus or out of school activity.
- Supplying/selling legal/illegal substances.
- Person seeking help from a member of staff or friend.
- Staff need to be vigilant and aware of the signs of substance misuse.
Assessing an Incident
- Deal only with facts.
- Contact the Principal regarding suspicions or evidence.
- Fill in an incident/report sheet in the office.
- Only the Principal, Counsellor/Guidance Counsellor, HSCL Officer and Year Head should be aware of the details. The Principal will hold documents in confidence.
- Each incident will be dealt with separately. Support services will be offered. Suspension may be used as a sanction. Expulsion is only an option after all else has failed.
- Where illegal substances are concerned, the Garda Liaison Officer will be contacted.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Takes overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation and for liaison with the Board of Management, Parents, Pastoral Care team and other outside agencies.
- May appoint a Substance Misuse Co-ordinator to implement this policy.
- Ensures that staff dealing with substance issues have adequate support and training
The Care team will:
- In conjunction with the Principal, discuss students at risk and possible courses of action to be followed.
- Monitor and evaluate the course of action to be followed.
- The Substance Misuse Co-ordinator would ensure that all documentation relating to substance misuse is circulated to all concerned.
Teachers and other support staff should:
- Be aware of the signs of substance misuse
- Be familiar with reporting procedures
- Record all instances in writing
- The Substance Misuse Policy will be reviewed by the Principal and members of the Care team at least once per year, at the behest of the Substance Misuse Co-ordinator.
- The policy should be updated in light of changing information, legislation, developments in the school curriculum and feedback from parents/guardians, teachers and students.