Policy on Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Use
The School Ethos
As stated in the School’s mission statement, Hamilton High School is committed to enabling students to fulfil their academic, intellectual, moral, spiritual, social, cultural and physical potential. It also is committed to fostering the development of personal responsibility. This is the ethos which guides the School Health Policy.
- The School does not accept the possession, use or supply of illegal drugs in the school, or on school activities/trips by any member of the school community.
- The School does not accept the possession, use or supply of alcohol or tobacco in the school or on school activities by any student.
- The School does not accept the misuse of solvent based substances. Students may have prescribed or “over the counter” medicines for legitimate personal use only.
- The parents of students who have to take prescribed medical drugs in school must inform the school in writing.
- The School must be informed if a student has a medical condition and relevant teachers, e.g. (Year Head, P.E. Teacher) must be informed also.
- A student or teacher may not give another student any prescribed or “over the counter” medicine.
- Chemicals in school laboratories will be held under lock and key. Students will handle and use such substances only under their teacher’s supervision.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programmes
The School is committed to providing an Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Education Programme for all students. With the assistance of our local Gardaí, our educational aims are:
- To increase the self-esteem and confidence of our students.
- To equip our students with personal and social skills.
- To enable our students to make informed, healthy and responsible decisions.
- To provide clear and age appropriate information on drugs.
- To minimise the harm caused by drug abuse by offering supportive interventions.
These aims will be achieved by:
- Teachers are offered Drug Awareness training, SPHE training or any relevant training through in-service training.
- Outside speakers are used where appropriate to reinforce the work done in class.
- Parents/Guardians will be consulted on the need for drug education and will be informed of what is happening in the School.
Student Drug Education will be achieved through:
- Local Gardaí.
- SPHE Programme.
- First Aid Course in Transition Year.
- Outside speakers where appropriate.
- Senior RSE
- Health & Safety (TY)
Managing Alcohol, Tobacco, Drug Related Incidents
We acknowledge that in all situations involving drugs, there needs to be a balance between the needs of the student, the needs of the school community, the reputation of the school and legal considerations.
Assessing a drug incident: If there is no damage to the student/s, it is important to:
- Take time to listen and assess before responding.
- Separate fact from rumour.
- In situations of confirmed use or possession or supply all details must be recorded and acted upon.
- The Deputy Principal/ Principal must be informed.
Managing a Drug Incident
A limited number of people are involved in all suspected or confirmed drug incidents. People will be informed on a “need to know” basis. All written records will be held confidentially by the Principal or Deputy Principal. Parents/Guardians will be involved. They will be informed sensitively and support offered to them. In the case of illegal drugs the Principal or Deputy Principal will contact Gardaí – Juvenile Liaison Officer, and any drugs will be dealt with by Gardaí. In response to all incidents, pastoral support will be offered.
If a student has a problem then referral will be recommended. Parents/Guardians, staff and other students involved in the incident will be offered support. Confidentiality is a complex issue. It is important that the limits of confidentiality are discussed with students before any disclosure is made. The well-being and welfare of the student and teacher must be a primary focus.
The Principal or Deputy Principal will handle all media enquiries. They will not comment on individual cases but will refer to the school policy and procedures in place to manage any drug related incident.
Drug incidents are complex and in situations where the school rules regarding drugs are broken, sanctions and punishments will be implemented depending on the nature of the offence. These will be consistent with School Rules/Code of Behaviour.
Training & Development
- The School will facilitate training for staff involved in the SPHE programmes.
- All staff will be offered drug information and awareness training.
- First Aid training will be made available to all staff.
- If possible, the School will provide opportunities to attend information evenings. It will be offered as part of the induction for parents/guardians of new pupils to the School.
- The School will offer students drug education programmes within the context of their SPHE classes. TY students will study First Aid and drug awareness sessions provided by local Gardaí.
- The areas of Drug Education Programmes, Managing Drug Related Incidents, Parent, Staff and Management Training will be reviewed regularly.
Dissemination of Policy
- Copies of this policy will be distributed to all the school community.
- It will be available also from the Principal’s Office and staff room.
- Copies will be given to all new staff and parents of new pupils as part of their induction to the school.
- Students will be made aware of the policy within the context of the SPHE and religion programmes (senior cycle).