Drug Policy

Introduction :    All drugs have the potential to harm; but some drugs are more harmful than others. For a small number of people, drugs lead to serious and far reaching consequences not only for themselves, but their families, their communities and society in general. For young people in particular, drugs can impact on their education, their relationships with family and friends and prevent them from reaching their full potential.
   
All young people need to be able to make safe, healthy and responsible decisions about drugs, both legal and illegal. Schools play a central role in helping them make such decisions by providing education about the risk and effects of drugs; by developing their confidence and skills to manage situations involving drugs; by creating a safe and supportive learning environment; and ensuring that those for whom drugs are a concern receive appropriate support.


However schools cannot act alone. They are part of a broader prevention picture which includes parents/carers and a range of partner agencies. By working together, we can help young people navigate their way through what is a complex social issue.
    
The purpose of the school drug policy is to:
 

  • clarify the legal requirements and responsibilities of the school
  • reinforce and safeguard the health and safety of learners and others who use the school
  • clarify the school’s approach to drugs for all staff, learners, governing body, parents/carers, external agencies and the wider community
  • give guidance on developing, implementing and monitoring the drug education programme
  • enable staff to manage drugs on school premises, and any incidents that occur, with confidence and consistency, and in the best interests of those involved
  • ensure that the response to incidents involving drugs complements the overall approach to drug education and the values and ethos of the school
  • provide a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the school drug education programme and the management of incidents involving illegal and other unauthorised drugs
  • reinforce the role of the school in contributing to local and national strategies      

 

Where and to whom the policy applies

 This policy applies to all staff, learners, parents/carers, governors and partner agencies working in The Settlers High School.  It includes journeys to and from school, in school uniform, work experience, residential trips and school courses.  Learners must not bring controlled drugs, cigarettes or alcohol onto the school site at any time. 

 

The definition of a drug given by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is:

A substance people take to change the way they feel, think or behave.

 The term ‘drugs’ and ‘drug education’, unless otherwise stated, is used throughout this document to refer to all drugs:

  • all illegal drugs
  • all legal drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, volatile substances (those giving off a gas or vapour which can be inhaled), ketamine, khat and alkyl nitrites (known as poppers)
  • all over-the-counter and prescription medicines

 

The school’s stance towards drugs, health and the needs of learners

The Settlers High School has a zero tolerance policy towards the possession, use or supply of illegal and other unauthorised drugs within the school boundaries which are outlined above. The school has a dual policy regarding substance abuse.  On the one hand it is prohibited and severe action will be taken against perpetrators.  On the other hand, those who admit to having problems with substance abuse, help and counselling is available.

The school will respond to substance abuse with serious punishments, but also with a humanitarian view.  Our approach will be one of prevention education.  The school undertakes to educate (through guidance lessons, life skills) to inform (using outside speakers, exhibitions) and to guide and support (counseling, peer-counselling).

Learners who experience problems with substance abuse or related matters, learners who need help and ask for it, will be treated in confidence and will not be discriminated against in any way.  Learners, who have voluntarily gone to rehabilitation or attended drug education programmes, will be allowed to return to school, on certain conditions. Part of being helped/ counselled will include signing an agreement/contract and agreeing to random testing.

 

RESPONSES FOR MANAGING DRUG RELATED INCIDENTS

All drug related incidents will be kept on the learner’s record

Incident

First Occasion

Second Occasion 

Third occasion  

Fourth Occasion 

Possession  of cigarettes or smoking cigarettes or to be in the company of a learner smoking a cigarette 

Items confiscated. Parents notified.

2 Saturday Detentions

 

Items confiscated.

Parents’ notified and medical attention sought or parental rewards for giving up smoking,

4 Saturday Detentions

Items confiscated.

Parents notified.   

   2 days in ISS for repeated defiance of school rules.

4 Saturday Detentions and 10 hours community service to take place in the next school holiday

Items confiscated.

Parents notified.

Suspended for 2 academic days for repeated defiance of school rules.

5 Saturday Detentions and 20 hours community service to take place in the school holiday


 

Possession of Alcohol and use  or being under the influence of Alcohol 

Substance confiscated.

Parents phoned to collect learner and letter home.

4 Saturday Detentions

 

Substance confiscated.

Parents called to collect learner;

Risk assessment for learner and school.  Possible behaviour/ health intervention.

Disciplinary hearing and contractual agreement with parents and Governing Body

4 Saturday detentions and 10 hours community service. Possible exclusion from extramural events

Further risk assessment and behaviour assessment.

Disciplinary hearing.

4 Saturday detentions and 30 Hours community service

Possible maximum suspension of 7 academic days.

Disciplinary hearing.

Disciplinary hearing.

Suspension for 7 academic days and recommendation for expulsion to DoE

Possession of Cannabis, tranquilisers, some painkillers, Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Ketamine. 

Substance confiscated.

Parents phoned to collect learner and letter home

Risk assessment for learner and school.

Must attend a  Drug Education programme

Disciplinary hearing

7 Saturday detentions and 40 Hours community service.

Possible exclusion from extramural events

Possible police intervention

 

Substance confiscated.

Parents phoned to collect learner and letter home

Disciplinary hearing

Suspension for 7 academic days and recommend expulsion to DoE

Possible police intervention

.

 

 

Possession  of / and or use of suspected Ecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack, magic mushrooms, methamphetamine (TIK) amphetamines (if prepared for injection). Amphetamines, Methylphenidate  Pholcodine.

Substance confiscated. Parents and Police contacted.

Substance verified: Disciplinary hearing- suspension for 7 academic days and possible recommendation of expulsion to DoE.

 

 

 

Use  or being under the influence of  Cannabis, Ecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack, magic mushrooms, methamphetamine (TIK) amphetamines (if prepared for injection). Amphetamines, Methylphenidate  Pholcodine.

A drug test is done to verify the presence of the drug in the learner’s system.

 

Learner is placed in ISS for the academic school day for the period up until a negative test (zero) is produced.

The leaner may not take part in extra-mural activities or go on any excursions, outings or tours until a negative (zero) test is produced.

An Intervention meeting is held and the learner is referred to the school counsellor and may be referred to SANCA, NICRO or a similar institution to attend a rehabilitation program.

4 Saturday Detentions given

A drug test is done to verify the presence of the drug in the learner’s system.

 

Learner is placed in ISS for the academic school day for the period up until a negative test (zero) is produced.

Possibly, the leaner may not take part in extra-mural activities or go on any excursions, outings or tours until a negative (zero) test is produced.

An Intervention meeting is held and the learner is referred to the school social worker. as well as SANCA or NICRO if this has not already been done

The learner must see a psychologist.

4 Saturday detentions are given as well as 10 hours community service

A drug test is done to verify the presence of the drug in the learner’s system.

 

Learner is placed in ISS for the academic school day for the period up until a negative test (zero) is produced.

The leaner may not take part in extra-mural activities or go on any excursions, outings or tours until a negative (zero) test is produced.

A disciplinary hearing is held.

 

The maximum sanction is:

7 Saturday detentions and 40 Hours community service.

A drug test is done to verify the presence of the drug in the learner’s system.

 

Learner is placed in ISS for the academic school day for the period up until a negative test (zero) is produced.

The leaner may not take part in extra-mural activities or go on any excursions, outings or tours until a negative (zero) test is produced.

Parents phoned to collect learner and letter home

Disciplinary hearing

Suspension for 7 academic days and recommend expulsion to DoE

 

Medicines

Some learners may require medicines that have been prescribed for their medical condition during the school day.  Staffing, administration, storage and record keeping procedures are all clearly set out in the medication and first aid policy. 

 

The medicines policy also sets out the circumstances in which a learner may take non-prescribed/over-the-counter medicines, such as those providing relief from period pains or hay fever. School staff do not give non-prescribed medication to learners unless supplied with written authorisation by parent/carer.

 

Staff with key responsibility for drugs: 

Drugs Education Co-ordinator: Mrs L Abrahamse (the school counsellor)

 Management of drug related issues in school: Mr R Daly and Ms L Hall

If any member of staff has concerns about any drug related incident then they should immediately inform a member of the Executive.

 The school delivers a balanced curriculum which:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of learners at the school and of society
  • prepares learners at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

Drug education is a major component of drug prevention and is an important aspect of the school curriculum.  Its aim is to provide opportunities for learners to develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding about drugs and appreciate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, relating this to their own and others’ actions.

It aims to:

 

  1.                       i.        increase learners’ knowledge and understanding and clarify misconceptions about:
  • the short- and long-term effects and risks of drugs
  • the rules and laws relating to drugs
  • the impact of drugs on individuals, families and communities
  • the prevalence and acceptability of drug use among peers
  • the complex moral, social, emotional and political issues surrounding drugs
  1.                     ii.        develop learners’ personal and social skills to make informed decisions and keep themselves safe and healthy, including:
  • assessing, avoiding and managing risk
  • communicating effectively
  • resisting pressures
  • finding information, help and advice
  • devising problem-solving and coping strategies  
  • developing self-awareness and self-esteem
  1.                    iii.        enable learners to explore their own and other peoples’ attitudes towards drugs, drug use and drug users, including challenging stereotypes, and exploring media and social influences.

 

Drug education is delivered through a well-planned cross-curricular program, including assemblies and grade head lessons, life orientation and science lessons. 

Methodology and resources

Drug education is delivered within a safe, secure and supportive learning environment.  Ground rules are set out, and teachers’ and learners’ right to privacy is respected. 

Boundaries of discussions are made clear.

Group agreements are made to help to foster mutual respect and an environment in which learners feel comfortable and ready to listen to and discuss each other’s opinions.

Distancing techniques can be adopted through role play/anonymous question boxes.

Staff are advised to sometimes answer difficult questions on an individual basis.

 External contributors include the Police and NICRO, SANCA or CLARO

 

 

 Staff support and training

The launch of this policy involved whole staff continued professional development training and subsequent new staff will be provided with training as part of the New Staff Induction Programme.  Advice is also provided within the staff handbook

 

Monitoring and reviewing

The teaching of drug education will be monitored and reviewed via the subjects within which it is taught.  This will be completed through the school monitoring policy

 

Management of drugs at school

 

Searches

Searches will be conducted in accordance with Section 8A of the South African Schools Act. 

The school will seek consent and ensure that a second adult witness is present. If this is refused they will consider whether to call the police. Searches will be conducted in such a way as to minimise potential embarrassment or distress.

 

Personal Searches

When a person is suspected of concealing illegal or other unauthorised drugs the headmaster or his delegate can perform a personal search, this includes the searching of outer clothing and inside pockets. Every effort will be made to persuade the person to hand over voluntarily any drugs, in the presence of a second adult witness.

 

Searches of school property

The headmaster or his delegate may search school property, for example, learners’ lockers or desks if they believe drugs to be stored there. Prior consent will be sought. However, individuals will be made aware that if consent is refused the school may proceed with a search. Where consent is refused, the school will balance the likelihood that an offence has been committed against the risk of infringing the individual’s privacy without just cause.

 

Searches of personal property

If the school wishes to search personal property, including learners’ property stored within school property, for example a bag or pencil case within a locker, they will ask for consent.

Where consent is refused, the school will balance the likelihood that an offence has been committed against the risk of infringing the individual’s privacy without just cause

After any search involving learners, parents/carers will normally be contacted by the school, regardless of whether the result of the search is positive or negative.

Section 8A of the South African Schools Act permits the headmaster or his delegate to take temporary possession of a substance suspected of being an illegal drug for the purposes of preventing an offence from being committed or continued in relation to that drug providing that all reasonable steps are taken to destroy the drug or deliver it to a person lawfully entitled to take custody of it.

 

In taking temporary possession and disposing of suspected illegal drugs staff will:

 

  • ensure that a second adult witness is present throughout
  • seal the sample in a plastic bag and include details of the date and time of the seizure/find and witness present.
  • store it in the school safe
  • without delay notify the police, who will be asked to collect it and then store or dispose of it, in terms of section 31 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977).
  • record full details of the incident, including notes of any discussions with the learners.  These should include date, time, place and people present.  The police incident reference number should also be included.

 

Drug testing

 The headmaster or his delegate may at random administer a urine or other non-invasive test to any group of learners or staff that is on fair and reasonable grounds suspected of using illegal drugs, after taking into account all relevant factors contemplated in section8A, subsection 3 of the South African Schools Act

 A learner or staff member may be subjected to a urine or other non-invasive test for illegal drugs only if -

  • the test is conducted by a person of the same gender; 
  • it is done in a private area and not in view of another learner;
  • one adult witness, of the same gender as the learner, is present;
  • the sample is clearly and correctly labelled with full particulars
  • The principal or his delegate must
  • within one working day, if practicable, inform the parent (in the case of a learner) that a random test or search and seizure was done in respect of his or her child; and
  • inform the learner and his or her parent of the result of the test immediately after it becomes available. Inform the staff member of the result of the test immediately after it becomes available

 

Testing Procedure

 

Procedure 1

  • Requirements: testing device; sample collection container (eg a plastic or cardboard cup); disposable plastic gloves.
  • There should always be two adults present when a test is conducted, one who will be the testing officer Ms Hall or Mr Daly) and the other who will be witness to the testing process (A member of staff). To ensure impartiality it is recommended that neither of the two-person testing team is the learner’s teacher, sports coach or related to the learner in any way.
  • At least one member of the two-person testing team must be the same sex as the learner/staff member being tested, and that person should witness the passing of the sample.
  • When the learner /staff member reports for testing, the testing officer will give him/her a sample collection container and explain the testing procedure and consequences of a positive test.
  • The learner/staff member will proceed to the toilet carrying the sample collection container, accompanied by the same-sex member of the two-person testing team, who should observe the passing of the sample from the learner’s/staff member’s body into the collection container, to ensure there is no manipulation of results i.e. that the learner has no opportunity to exchange or doctor the sample in any way to try to achieve a negative test.
  • If the learner/ staff member has to adjust clothing and wash hands after passing a sample, the witness should not offer to hold the container with the urine sample but should tell the learner to place it on a flat secure surface (the floor or top of the toilet cistern) where it will not be knocked over and where it remains in sight of the witness and learner.
  • The learner/staff member should carry the sample collection container with the urine sample, back to the area where analysis of the sample will take place, and should place the container with the sample on a desk/surface as indicated by the testing officer.
  • The learner/staff member must be offered a choice of two sealed test devices, and told to select one.
  • The selected device will be opened in the learner’s/staff member’s presence by the testing officer.
  • If the test is positive a second test may be done, at the parents or staff member’s request, at any pathology laboratory. The parent will be liable for the cost of the test. 

 

Procedure 2

  • Requirements: testing device; sample collection container (eg a plastic or cardboard cup); disposable plastic gloves.
  • There should always be two adults present when a test is conducted, one who will be the testing officer Ms Hall or Mr Daly) and the other who will be witness to the testing process (A member of staff). To ensure impartiality it is recommended that neither of the two-person testing team is the learner’s teacher, sports coach or related to the learner in any way.
  • At least one member of the two-person testing team must be the same sex as the learner/staff member being tested, and that person should witness the passing of the sample.
  • When the learner/staff member reports for testing, the testing officer will give him/her a sample collection container with their name written on the container in permanent ink and explain the testing procedure and consequences of a positive test.
  • The learner/ staff member will proceed to the toilet carrying the sample collection container, accompanied by the same-sex member of the two-person testing team, who should observe the passing of the sample from the learner’s body into the collection container, to ensure there is no manipulation of results i.e. that the learner has no opportunity to exchange or doctor the sample in any way to try to achieve a negative test.
  • If the learner/staff member has to adjust clothing and wash hands after passing a sample, the witness should not offer to hold the container with the urine sample but should tell the learner to place it on a flat secure surface (the floor or top of the toilet cistern) where it will not be knocked over and where it remains in sight of the witness and learner.
  • The learner/staff member should carry the sample collection container with the urine sample, back to the area where analysis of the sample will take place, and should place the container with the sample on a desk/surface as indicated by the testing officer. The sample will be sealed in the presence of the learner/staff member before it is taken to a laboratory
  • The sample is taken to the drug testing lab where the drug as indicated on the request form is tested for.
  • The result is faxed or collected from the lab.

 

Involvement of parents/carers/visitors

 

In any incident involving illegal and other unauthorised drugs the school will normally involve the child’s parents/carers and explain how they intend to respond to the incident and to the learner’s needs. Where the school suspects that to do this might put the child’s safety at risk or if there is any other cause for concern for the child’s safety at home, then the school will exercise caution when considering involving parents/carers. In any situation where a learner may need protection from the possibility of abuse, the school’s child protection co-ordinator should be consulted and local child protection procedures followed.

 

Parents/carers are encouraged to approach the school if they are concerned about any issue related to drugs and their child and the school will refer parents/carers to other sources of help, for example, specialist drug agencies or family support groups, as required.

 

If parents/carers are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol on school premises, staff should attempt to maintain a calm atmosphere and call for a second adult, if necessary. On occasion, a teacher may have concerns about discharging a learner into the care of a parent/carer. In such instances, the school will discuss with the parent/carer if alternative arrangements could be made, for example asking another parent/carer to accompany the child home.

 

This Substance Abuse Policy was drawn up by educators and learners and endorsed by the Governing Body on April 2011

 

Updated September 2014