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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
School opts for random drug tests
Colnes Community School
The Year 8 drug-testing would be voluntary
A school in Essex has decided to carry out random drug testing on pupils.

The tests are to start on Year 8 pupils at Colnes Community School at Brightlingsea in January for a 12-month trial. Sixth-formers will be exempt.

Pupils and parents were consulted about the move, which is designed as a deterrent. Tests would be voluntary.

Sgt Nigel Dermott, of Essex Police, said it was not something the force would encourage as saliva tests could be quite traumatic.

Peer pressure

Because there is an element of choice, the school would not be breaching pupils' human rights.

Head teacher Terry Creissen said he believed the move would help protect children on the fringes of drug use.

"Those children who are on the edges and don't really want to take drugs but are forced by peer pressure ... can turn round and say 'There are drug tests in my school, I could be caught and I don't want to be caught'," he said.

The school would deal with any positive results in-house - police would not be informed.

The year-long trial will cost 10,000.

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