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Substance Use Policy of Corpus Christi School



A. Rationale


This policy is necessary because: -


v     We need to be pro-active in meeting the needs of our students and in helping them cope with the challenges of modern society.

v     The Educati0n Act (1988) provides that schools should cater for the Social, Personal and Health Education of their students.

v     The National Drug Strategy “Building on Experience” is now government policy. It requires schools to have a Substance Use Policy in place.

v     Recent reports in Ireland and Europe have highlighted the need for an intervention on the part of schools in the area of Substance Use.


B. Scope


This policy applies to students, teachers, staff, parents and all users of the school building. It applies to school time, school breaks and all school related activities within the school and outside.


It applies to the school building, the school grounds and all places where school related activities are taking place.


C. Relationship to the School’s Mission Statement.


The implementation of this policy will enable us to adhere to the ideals and goals of our Mission Statement, which states “Corpus Christi is a Catholic School in which the children strive to learn together in a happy and safe environment where everyone is valued and respected and encouraged to do their best”


D. Objectives


This Substance Use Policy will help ensure that our students grow up in a healthy environment and that they develop skills and attitudes to help them face with confidence the challenges of our modern society


E. 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 include nicotine, alcohol, illegal drugs, over the counter medicines, prescription medicines and solvents.



F. School Policies relating to Substance Use already in place.


v     Policy on smoking

v     Policy on administration of medicines

v     Health and Safety Statement





1.     Education and Prevention


Our Substance Mis-use Prevention programme will be implemented at class levels in accordance with our Social, Personal and Health Education Primary Curriculum Statement. Through S.P.H.E., which is generic in approach and spiral in nature, our pupils will practise specific skills and experience a value system, which supports primary prevention in a holistic, caring, supportive environment. We will address the content objectives relating directly to substances in an age appropriate manner using discrete S.P.H.E. time. (see appended sheet of our implementation programme)


2.     Procedures in the management of :


Student smoking or consuming alcohol. (In yard, in school building or during school related activity)


first incident:            principal/deputy will be informed, parents will be contacted and a meeting will take place between the parent(s) and the class teacher.


second incident:            the parent(s) will meet with the principal/deputy and the class Teacher.


third incident:            parent(s) will meet the chairperson of the B.O.M.

                                                     Suspension is a possible sanction at this stage.



Students in possession of cigarettes or alcohol


The cigarettes/alcohol will be confiscated and the same procedure as for student found smoking or consuming alcohol will be followed. (We do not have the right to search a student or to search their belongings).




Alcohol and Cigarettes as Prizes


Cigarettes will not be given as prizes. Children’s prizes will not contain alcohol. At the School Fair an adult must collect alcohol prizes.


Parent/Guardian clearly under the influence of alcohol or drugs when collecting a student.


No member of the school staff should withhold a pupil from release to their parent/guardian. If we are concerned for the child’s safety the principal/deputy will contact the gardaí.


Staff member under the influence of alcohol or illegal substance during pupil contact time.


This is an Employment Issue to be referred to the B.O.M.


Alcohol use in the staff room during school hours or after school hours.


If alcohol is to be used in the school prior permission must be granted by the B.O.M.


Unusual Behaviours (signs and symptoms)


Teacher will

-         talk to the child to try and ascertain cause of unusual behaviour

-         teacher will monitor the situation and record unusual behaviours or symptoms in the incident book.

-         teacher will talk to the principal/deputy

-         teacher or principal/deputy will talk to parents

-         outside help may be sought e.g. community garda.


Finding an illegal drug


-         drug will be confiscated and locked away in the Principal/deputy’s office to be collected by the Gardaí

-         parent(s)/guardian(s) will be contacted and asked to come immediately to the school

-         Gardaí will be called.




Magic Markers and Cleaning Agents


Both magic markers and cleaning agents will be locked away.



Medicating Pupils during School Day


(see administration of medicine policy)


A parent reports seeing a student of the school using or supplying drugs outside of school hours and not in school grounds.


The parent will be advised to report the matter to the child’s parents and to notify the Gardaí. This policy covers school, school grounds and school related activities.


A student disclosed to teacher or member of staff that they have been offered illegal drugs.


The parents will be notified and the gardaí called to investigate.


Recording of Incidents.


-         class teacher will record any incident involving a student in their class

-         All drug related incidents will also be recorded and will be kept in the principal/deputy’s office.


Note:        In its management of incidents the school will adopt a balance between a pastoral and a disciplinary response.




3.     Training and Staff Development


The school is committed to ensuring access to in-career development for teachers with substitute cover where required. Any information regarding training courses will be posted on the staff notice board.


Parents should get an opportunity to attend a talk on drugs once while their child is in the school. The Parents Association usually organise this talk.


This is the Substance Use Policy of Corpus Christi School. A copy will be sent to each family. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) will sign a statement to say they have read the policy. In subsequent years a copy will be given to parents of Junior Infants at point of entry. This policy will be reviewed during the school year 2012-2013.