Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, January 28, 1999 Published at 12:58 GMT


Education

Warning over drugs expulsions

Schools are urged to avoid "knee jerk" reactions to drug use

Poor quality drug tests could lead to pupils being unfairly expelled from school, according to a drugs expert.

The Chief Executive of the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse, Roger Howard, said there was a "potentially huge" problem with poor quality testing which could lead to false results.

He urged schools and employers not to adopt "knee jerk" policies such as expulsions and sackings when tests proved positive.

The School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, provoked controversy when she advocated a similar approach in a speech last year.


[ image: Ecstasy is said to be one of the drugs most commonly used by schoolchildren]
Ecstasy is said to be one of the drugs most commonly used by schoolchildren
A recent survey by the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference suggested that 72% of boarding schools and 28% of private day schools used some form of drug testing. The proportion of state schools carrying out such tests is unknown.

Mr Howard told a conference on drugs in London that testing should only be carried out when it was "absolutely justified" and when the organisation had arranged ways to offer treatment to people recognised as having a drug problem.

"Drug testing technology is developing faster, perhaps, than our policies for responding to positive results," he said.

"We therefore risk seeing knee-jerk reactions where people are excluded from the workplace, from schools or from their families after testing positive."

Treatment regimes must be put in place before a testing programme begins, added Mr Howard.

The government's "Drugs Czar", Keith Hellawell, also addressed the conference.

He said a procedure for drug testing should be "an integral part of a business's health and safety policy", but warned that it must have the agreement of employees.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Education Contents

Features
Hot Topics
UK Systems
League Tables

Relevant Stories

16 Jan 99 | Education
Public school drugs 'scandal'

18 Nov 98 | Education
Drugs guidance issued to schools

17 Nov 98 | Education
Drugs exclusions: The facts

17 Nov 98 | Education
Minister urges caution on drug expulsions





Internet Links


Standing Conference on Drug Abuse

Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence

UK Government policy on tackling drug abuse

BBC Education: ID drugs info


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

'Golden hellos' fail to attract new teachers

Children join online Parliament

Pupils 'too ignorant to vote'

Red tape toolkit 'not enough'

Poor report for teacher training consortium

Specialist schools' results triumph

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment

Web funding for specialist teachers

Local authorities call for Woodhead's sacking

Dyslexic pensioner wins PhD

Armed forces children need school help

Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'

College 'is not cool'