Substance Use Policy
Citywest Educate Together National School recognises that there are issues surrounding the taking of drugs and their consequences. This school does not allow teachers to administer medicines to pupils. In very exceptional circumstances, a Special Needs Assistant will administer medicines on completion of an Administration of Medicines Form (see relevant policy).
We wish to outline Citywest Educate Together’s policy in relation to the following categories of drug:
- Over the counter (OTC) medicines.
- Prescription medicines
- Illegal Drugs
Definition of a drug
A drug is a chemical substance which alters how the body functions:
- physically - how we behave
- mentally - how we think
- emotionally - how we feel.
Drugs, for the purpose of this document, include nicotine, alcohol, solvents, illegal drugs, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications and food or drinks containing high levels of caffeine.
The Education Act (1998) provides that schools should promote the social and personal development of students and provide health education for them. We refer to the national drugs strategy ‘Building on experience’ which is currently Government policy. We also refer to a report from the National Advisory Committee on Drugs entitled ‘Drug use prevention’ (November 2001) which underlines the importance of schools developing substance use policies.
The school currently delivers an SPHE programme to the students. This explores themes such as self-identity, taking care of my body, safety and protection, making decisions and developing citizenship. This policy is to be considered in the context of this policy and also in the context of other school policies such as
- Health and Safety statement
- Code of behaviour
- Child Protection Policy
- Department of Education and Skills - Child Abuse Prevention guidelines Children First.
This policy applies to all students, school, staff, parents and all users of the school buildings.
When does it apply?
- To activities in the school building and yard
- All school-related activities that involve children
We work to ensure that our pupils will grow up in a healthy environment, helping them to develop skills, values and attitudes to make positive responses to the problems of substance misuse.
Policy Content – Education and Prevention:
A substance misuse prevention programme will be implemented at all class levels in accordance with our Social Personal and Health Education Primary Curriculum Programme. Through S.P.H.E., our pupils will practise specific skills and experience a value system which supports primary prevention in a holistic, caring and supportive environment. We will address the content objective relating directly to substance use in an age-appropriate manner using discreet S.P.H.E. time.
Management of School drug-related issues:
- Smoking: the entire school is a smoking-free zone in accordance with the Tobacco Act 2002.
- Alcohol: Pupils will not be allowed to bring alcohol into the school or to consume alcohol in school or during any school activities.If a teacher is of the opinion that a student is under the influence of alcohol, s/he will immediately inform the Principal and consult on what action should be taken.
- Where a student comes to school under the influence of alcohol, their parent or guardian will be called in to take them home.
Students breaking these rules will be dealt with according to the school’s disciplinary procedure. If alcohol is required for an adult-only school function to be held on school premises, permission shall be sought from the Board of Management in advance. If prizes of alcohol are donated to the school, they should only be used at adult-only events.
If an adult arrives to collect a child under the influence of alcohol (or illegal drugs) and is, in the opinion of the class teacher, unable to provide appropriate care to the pupil, school
guidelines should be followed.
- Illicit Drugs and Solvents: Students and all adults are strictly forbidden from being in possession of or using illicit drugs or solvents on school premises. Illicit drugs found on school premises should be locked away and the Gardai contacted to dispose of them. Teachers are advised not to transport illicit substances in any circumstances.
- If a teacher is of the opinion that a student is under the influence of illicit drugs or solvents, s/he will immediately inform the Principal and consult as to what action should be taken.
- When a 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 Community Police Officer or the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer will be sought.
- The school Board of Management will expect parents to inform the Principal or class teacher if they suspect their child of drug-taking.
Training and Staff Development:
An effective Substance Use Policy needs to be adopted and supported by ongoing commitment from the Patron, Board of Management (BOM) and Parent Teacher Association (PTA), to training and staff development in this area. Teachers will be encouraged to avail of training opportunities and to keep themselves up to date. B.O.M and P.T.A. will provide on-going training and support for parents and staff about drug/alcohol abuse. A teacher may not administer medication to a child, even where requested to do so by a parent, unless the appended indemnification is signed by both parent and the Board of Management.
Medicines can be administered only if parents/guardians sign the following:
- Administration of Medicines in Schools Indemnity- See Critical Incident Policy
The Board of Management has overall responsibility for policy implementation within the school. The Board of Management shall:
- ratify the amended and completed policy
- provide any supports where necessary, in the implementation of the policy
This policy was ratified by the School Manager on 1st September 2012.