Substance Use

Substance Use Policy

Scope: This policy applies to students, teachers, parents, and users of the school building and is applicable during official school hours and to all school-related activities.

Relationship to School’s Mission/Vision/Aims

 St Colmcille’s BNS is dedicated to the care of the whole school community. It provides a safe and secure environment for learning. On school premises, all dangerous substances are locked in a secure place. In order to ensure a safe and secure environment for all, alcohol, tobacco and illegal substances are prohibited. In addition, pupils are not allowed to use aerosols, liquid tippex and thinnerUnder legislation, the school cannot take responsibility for the administration of medicines.  However, if written permission is granted from the Board of Management, children’s medical needs will be facilitated. We seek to engage the partners in the education process and in the development of our drugs policy and in the attainment of our goals.

Rationale

  1. The world in which we live presents young people with many challenges, which affect their health and well being. Exposure to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs is part of this reality. The 1999 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) Report highlighted the seriousness of the problem among sixteen year olds in Ireland, as compared to the other 29 ESPAD countries surveyed. Alcohol was identified as being the dominant drug of misuse in Ireland whilst the use of tobacco and other drugs was above the ESPAD average.
  1. The National Drugs Strategy ‘Building on Experience’ is now Government policy and it requires schools to have a substance use policy in place.

Goals/Objectives

The substance use policy of St Colmcille’s BNS is intended to educate students about substance use and mis-use and provide for our students a safe environment in which to make informed choices about their lives both now and in the future. All partners in education will inform the drawing up of our policy and will abide by it when in the school or whilst on school related activities. The primary objective of the policy is to educate our students regarding the possible dangers of these substances and to provide a supportive environment for pupils and their families if such an incident occurs.

Policy Content

(A) Education concerning substance use

Education concerning substance use in St Colmcille’s BNS will be provided within the broad context of SPHE through discrete lessons using the ‘The Walk Tall’ programme as a resource. Each teacher and class will do lessons in this area in a structured way for 6 weeks every second year (in  accordance with the objectives laid down in the SPHE curriculum). Considerations, which inform the selection of content and methodologies, include the age and former experience of the students

The use of an outside visitor/speaker to enhance the work done in the class will be considered in the context of the full SPHE programme and will be undertaken in the presence of a teacher, for example, talks by a fire officer in 4th  class; the Garda programme in 5th class and drugs programme delivered by Swords Youth Services in 6th Class.

Parental education will take place in tandem with the child’s education with the provision of parenting courses and talks on drugs awareness.

Definition of Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug-Related Incidents

  • Use or suspected use of alcohol, drugs, tobacco on the school premises or during a school-related activity
  • Intoxication/unusual behaviour
  • Disclosure about use
  • Finding these substances and/or associated paraphernalia
  • Possession and/or supply on the school premises or during a school-related activity
  • The use of solvents such as aerosols and tippex during school or any school related activity
  • Mis-use of all medicines (prescription and non-prescription) without written permission from the Board of Management of the school.

Management of Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug-Related Incidents

Alcohol Related Incident Involving a Pupil

  1. The confidentiality of reportee will be protected.
  2. The Principal will be informed
  3. The Principal will inform parents
  4. The incident will be investigated
  5. The pupil may be suspended ( upon sanction from the Board of Management)
  6. If medical help is required, an ambulance will be called
  7. Recommendation will be made to allow pupil to attend school support person
  8. Repeated incidents of alcohol use will be reported to the Health Board

Staff Member/ Parent Involved in Alcohol-Related Incident

The safety of pupils is paramount at all times

  1. The Principal will talk to person involved
  2. The incident will be noted and principal may inform the BOM
  3. The Board of Management will contact relevant authorities in the case of a serious incident or repeated incidents

Student Involved in Tobacco-Related Incidents

  1. The confidentiality of reportee will be protected.
  2. The Principal will be informed
  3. The Principal will inform parents
  4. The incident will be investigated
  5. The pupil may be suspended ( upon sanction from the Board of Management)
  6. Recommendation may be made to refer pupil to the school support person

Staff/Parent Involved in Tobacco Related Incident

Smoking is forbidden in the school buildings.

  1. If an incident arises, the principal will talk with the person involved
  2. A report may be made to the local Environmental Officer

Student Involved in an Incident Relating to Illegal Substances

  1. The Principal will be informed
  2. The Principal will inform parents and Gardai
  3. The incident will be investigated in the presence of parent (and Garda, if necessary)
  4. The pupil may be suspended
  5. If medical help is required an ambulance will be called
  6. The pupil may be referred to the school support person
  7. Student may also be referred to the Junior Liaison Officer of the Gardai
  8. In the case of a serious incident, or repeated incidents, the Health Board will be informed.

Reported Incident Relating to Illegal Substances

  1. Confidentiality of reportee will be guaranteed
  2. Time, date and other details will be documented by the principal
  3. If the reportee is a pupil, their parents will be contacted immediately
  4. The child against whom the allegation is made, and his parents will be contacted immediately
  5. The incident will be investigated ( as steps 3-8 above)

Staff/Parent Involved in an Incident Related to Illegal Substances

The safety of children will be  paramount

  1. The incident will be reported to the principal and then to the Board of Management
  2. The Board of Management will contact the relevant authorities in the case of a serious incident or repeated incidents.

(C) Provision for training and staff development

There is general agreement that a whole school co-ordinated approach to the  SPHE programme and to teaching any drugs programme is vital.

Staff members are aware of the contribution they can make to the prevention of substance misuse within their own class by developing a supportive class environment and fostering the self-esteem of each student. Staff members have been made sufficiently aware of and are sensitive to the signs and symptoms of substance misuse as a result of a talk from An Garda Siochana. New staff, in particular, will be briefed on the substance use policy of the school through the school’s induction programme.

Parental education on SPHE and issues relating to substance misuse will be promoted in the school community by providing a copy of the policy on our school web-site, by explaining the policy to parents during information meeting which will be held at the start of every school year. We will also disseminate information on this subject through our school newsletter which parents receive every term. We also hope to have a component on drugs education on any future parenting programme offered to parents.

Roles and Responsibilities

Parents, teachers, ancillary staff, pupils and the Board of Management share the responsibility for the successful implementation of this policy.

This policy was presented to the staff on 26 January 2015.

It was presented to the BOM on 28 January 2015.

It will be reviewed in January 2018.

Uploaded to the website www.colmcilles.net on 29th January 2015.