Substance Use Policy
This policy applies to all users of the school building, students, teachers, ancillary staff, users of the school and visitors.It is applicable during school time and ALL school activities. It applies to the school building, the school grounds and where any school related activity takes place.
In this policy, our understanding of ‘drugs’ - A drug is any substance which changes the way the body functions, mentally, physically or emotionally. This description includes many substances we normally think of as drugs as well as substances we might not usually consider to be drugs such as coffee, tea, alcohol, solvents and tobacco (Corrigan, 2003 cited in Best Practice Guidelines in Substance Misuse Prevention Education 2010).
- The Education Act (1998) provides that schools should promote the social and personal development of students and provide health education for them.
- The Social Personal and Health Education curriculum, of which substance misuse prevention education is an integral part, is a mandatory subject on the primary curriculum and must be taught to all primary pupils from junior infants to sixth class (DES Circular 022/2010).
- The National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009-2016 requires every school to have a substance use policy in place
- Action 21 of the National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009-2016 mandates the Department of Education and Skills to monitor the implementation of substance use policies in schools through the whole school evaluation process as operated by the Inspectorate. It is also mandated to ensure that best practice is disseminated to all schools
- The 2003 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (E.S.P.A.D.) report highlighted the seriousness of the problem among 16 year olds in Ireland, as compared to the other 34 E.S.P.A.D. countries surveyed. Alcohol was identified as being the dominant drug of misuse in Ireland, with girls ranking higher than boys in terms of regular alcohol use. In terms of drug use in Ireland, there was a notable increase in lifetime use of any illicit drug between 1999 (32%) and 2003 (40%), up eight per cent.
OUR SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY AND MISSION STATEMENT
Scoil Naomh Áine is a Catholic Primary School under the patronage of the Bishop of Ferns. It promotes a Catholic ethos, while welcoming and respecting the values of children of all denominations.
Our aim is to impart Christian values and standards within a constructive learning environment. We endeavour to ensure that the individuality of the child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment. Our Code of Behaviour shows caring and concern for each child and we nurture self-esteem, self-respect and respect for others.
We encourage the active learning of each child at his/her own pace and to his/her full potential. We strive to provide a well ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupil are identified and addressed.
Scoil Naomh Áine promotes excellence in teaching and learning.
We in Scoil Naomh Áine subscribe to the aims of education:
- To enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realize his or her potential as a unique individual.
- To enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute to the good of society.
- To prepare the child for further education and lifelong learning.
[Revised Primary School Curriculum]
RELATIONSHIP TO THE SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY AND MISSION STATEMENT
In our Mission statement it is stated that, "We strive to provide a well ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupil are identified and addressed."
The Substance Use Policy reflects the school ethos in that it is dedicated to the care of the whole school community and it aims to provide a safe and secure environment for learning.
The school environment endeavours to create a climate and culture which:
- values and practices respect in interpersonal relationships.
- helps children to take responsibility for themselves and others.
- provides outlets for creativity and enjoyable healthy pursuits and activities.
- provides a safe school environment.
- Strengthens the co-operation between parents/guardians, the school and the wider community in dealing with substance misuse prevention.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Our goals and objectives in relation to substance use are:
- That the School Community will be better informed with regard to Substance Use in all its guises, by providing honest and age appropriate information on substances.
- To give children the confidence, skills and knowledge to make healthy choices.
- We seek to avert, or at least, delay the experimentation with substance and reduce the demand for legal and illegal drugs.
- We intend to highlight the clear procedures the staff of the school will follow in the event of a drug related incident.
- To minimise the harm caused by substances, by offering or facilitating supportive interventions.
EDUCATION CONCERNING SUBSTANCE USE
Education concerning substance use in Scoil Naomh Áine will be provided, within the broad context of the subject of Social Personal and Health Education which is developmental and delivered in the context of a supportive whole school environment. All classes will follow the Walk Tall SPHE Programme. This programme has tailored classroom materials to cater for diverse pupil population and makes an explicit link between Walk Tall and the content objectives of the Social Personal and Health Education curriculum (SPHE). Formal SPHE lessons will be allocated one 30 minute slot weekly.
Our work will be reinforced by project work and the possibility of talks from local Gardaí and Public Health Nurses as long as the content of their talk is in keeping with the school curriculum on the topic.
MANAGEMENT OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND DRUG RELATED INCIDENTS
In Scoil Naomh Áine we acknowledge that in all situations involving drugs, there needs to be a balance between the needs of the young person and the needs of the school community. Due care is important when deciding on a pastoral and or disciplinary response. Disciplinary procedures will be followed if school rules are broken and expulsion will only be an option when all else is failed.
Where a member of staff requires support, they will be referred to Employee Assistance Service / Inspire Workplace Services at https://www.inspirewellbeing.org/workplaces/contact-us
DRUG INCIDENTS INCLUDE:
- Use/ suspected use of alcohol, drug, tobacco on the school premises or during a school related activity
- Intoxication/ unusual behaviour
- Disclosures about abuse
- Finding alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and/or associated paraphernalia
- Possession and/ or supply on the school premises or during a school related activity
Where there is no immediate danger to the pupil, it is important to take time to assess the situation before responding.
- Any Staff member who encounters a drug incident must inform the Designated Liaison Person (DLP).
- Where a pupil confides in a member of Staff regarding drug use with a view to seeking help, the Staff member will report the case to the DLP and Child Safeguarding statement will be followed.
- It is important that, in all suspected or confirmed drug incidents, a limited number of people are involved in managing the incident. Staff will be informed on a ‘need to know’ basis.
- Parents will be informed and the "Code of Behaviour" invoked; suspension may follow and expulsion is the final option.
- In response to all incidents, parents will be advised to seek support from the relevant Community Care Agency.
- If a pupil has a drug problem, parents will be advised to make referral to a G.P. and /or Drug Treatment Centre.
- The Principal will liaise with the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer (JLO) in the event of any drugs found on the premises. Gardaí will be informed regarding all incidences involving illegal drugs.
- In situations of confirmed use/possession or supply, then all the details will be recorded. The record will be retained by the School.
SCHOOL POLICY ON SMOKING:
- The school is a non-smoking area.
- Pupils are not permitted to smoke or possess cigarettes including e-cigarettes on the school premises or on any school related activity.
- All staff/visitors will comply with the non-smoking policy.
- Pupils found in possession of cigarettes, e-cigarettes or smoking on school premises will be reported to the Principal, and parents will be informed. Such misdemeanours may incur a suspension.
SCHOOL POLICY REGARDING ALCOHOL:
- Pupils are not allowed to bring alcohol into the school or to consume alcohol in school or during any school related activities.
- If a teacher is of the opinion that a pupil is under the influence of alcohol, she/he will immediately inform the Principal. The parents/guardians will be contacted and the case may be referred to a support agency. Such a misdemeanour may incur an immediate suspension.
- Parents are expected to inform the Principal or teacher if they suspect their child is drinking alcohol.
SCHOOL POLICY ON ILLICIT DRUGS AND SOLVENTS:
- Being in possession of illicit drugs or solvents in the school premises is strictly forbidden.
- Illicit drugs found on school premises should be locked away and the Gardaí contacted to dispose of them.
- If a teacher is of the opinion that a pupil is under the influence of illicit drugs or solvents, she/he will immediately inform the Principal and consult on what action should be taken. The parents/guardians will be contacted and the case may be referred to a support agency. Such offences may incur an immediate suspension.
- Where the school suspects trafficking of illicit drugs, an investigation will be carried out. Parents of any student involved will be informed. The advice and assistance of the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer will be sought.
- Parents/Guardians are expected to inform the Principal or teacher if they suspect their child of drug taking.
Storage and administration of medicines in school is dealt with in the Administration of Medicines Policy.
MANAGEMENT OF PERSONS IN THE WORKPLACE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS AND/OR ALCOHOL.
Every school employee shall, while at work, ensure that he or she is not under the influence of an intoxicant as required by Section 13 of the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.
The Teaching Council’s Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers, section 3.10 states that teachers must "ensure that they do not practice while under the influence of any substance which impairs their fitness to teach."
In Section 24(3) of the Revised Procedures for Suspension and Dismissal of Teachers it states that "Serious and persistent incapacity to perform duties due to being under the influence of alcohol, unprescribed drugs or misuse of prescribed medication" is an example of "gross misconduct for which any or each of stages 1 to 3 of the disciplinary procedure may not apply depending on the gravity of the alleged offence"
If the principal or deputy principal has reasonable grounds to believe that a member of the teaching staff, ancillary staff or contracted employee are under the influence of an intoxicant, they shall, in the interest of health and safety, ask the person to remove themselves from the premises. In cases of staff members, disciplinary procedures may be implemented.
If a staff member has reasonable grounds to believe any person is unfit to be on the premises due to being under the influence of an intoxicant, that member of staff will report his/her belief to the principal promptly.
If a member of staff has reasonable grounds to believe that a parent or adult collecting a child is unfit to be on the premises and/or take care of the child, the principal or deputy principal will be informed and the school’s duty of care will apply to the child. All necessary steps will be taken to protect the child and safeguard his/her best interests.
In the event that a staff member or any other person, referred to above, refuses a reasonable request to remove him/herself from the premises, the principal or deputy principal may call the Gardaí to forcibly remove the person in question.
All incidents, relating to the presence of persons at school, under the influence of an intoxicant, shall be recorded and reported as soon as possible to the Board of Management.
Where a staff member requires support, our school will facilitate links with Employee Assistance Service / Inspire Workplace Services. Normally, the Principal will raise the problem informally with the teacher and identify sources of support. If the matter persists it will be reported to the Board of Management and the Staff member will be advised to seek appropriate help. In cases of an extremely serious nature, disciplinary procedures may be invoked, which may result in deferral of increments, suspension with/without pay or dismissal. (See: Revised Procedures for Suspension and Dismissal of Teachers and Principals circular 0049/2018).
PROVISION FOR TRAINING AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT
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 informing the pupils while taking the age of the pupils into consideration and local circumstances and events, which may arise. New staff, in particular, will be briefed on the substance use policy of the school on commencement of employment in the school.
It is important that the limits of confidentiality are discussed with students before any disclosure is made. The well being of the child and teacher must be a primary focus. It is important that in all suspected or confirmed drug incidents that a limited number of people are involved in managing the incident. People will be informed on a 'need to know’ basis.
The Chairperson of the Board of Management will handle all media enquiries. They will not comment on individual cases but will refer to the Critical Incident Plan.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
All members of the school community have a role in the development, implementation and evaluation of the policy to ensure that the safety and welfare of all pupils is maintained and that we have a safe and secure environment for learning.
Feedback from the relevant parties. The effectiveness of the policy in dealing with an incident should it occur.
REVIEW AND TIMEFRAME
This policy will be reviewed 2022 or earlier if new legislation, developments or an incident requires so.