Drugs in School

What happens when a pupil is caught with drugs in school?

Keeping and trading in ‘controlled’ drugs – drugs that are forbidden under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – is a criminal offence, but the police have preference to enforce the law less strictly with the possession of cannabis. Instruction about drugs is an enforced part of the science national curriculum.

School policy      

All organised schools should have a drugs policy establishing the ways in which the school will deal with drugs on school territory. It should be mentioned in the school almanac. Various schools make a distinction between keeping and supplying forbidden drugs. Keeping drugs generally draws a less significant scolding; pupils caught supplying drugs would by and large be expelled permanently. School personnel should be aware of the indications of abuse, and the stuff concerned. 

Ascertaining at risk students

A student may be at risk if a combination of following issues is present:

  • Lack of allegiance to school

  • Acquaintances that practice drugs

  • Disregard

  • Aggressive classroom conduct

  • Inadequate communal skilfulness

  • An approving outlook towards drug use 

Symptoms signifying drug association

  • Mood swings

  • Bodily changes such as weight loss, garbled speech and panic

  • An imperative need of finances 

Possible actions

  • A school may notify the police if banned drugs are retrieved at the school, or if they are doubtful that prohibited drugs are on the property.

  • Authority procedure says that school personnel must not check students themselves for alleged banned drugs. If they believe a pupil is possessing drugs, the school should get in touch with the pupil’s parents, the police or both.

  • A pupil’s private belongings, for instance a sack, should not be explored without the pupil’s consent. Nonetheless, a pupil’s writing desk or cabinet may be examined without the student’s wish if the school deems that drugs may be kept there.

Drug categories

All drugs are put into one of three categories according to how hazardous they are. 

  • Class A drugs are most dangerous. These drugs include cocaine, ecstasy and heroin. 

  • Class B drugs are less dangerous, but they can still damage if misused. Class B drugs include, cannabis, speed and some amphetamines.

  • Class C drugs are less dangerous than Class A and Class B. They are still branded as prohibited and can be harmful. Class C drugs include ketamine and some tranquilisers. 

Earlier cannabis was categorised as a Class C drug but, now it comes under Class B. The modification of law to reclassify cannabis to a Class B means stricter sentence for people caught in possession of it. Police will take action and you can be detained even if it is your first time.

Possible sentences

If you have been discovered keeping drugs, the sentence that you will be given will depend on the category of drug discovered and your individual record.

If you were caught with a Class C drug (less dangerous, however illegal and harmful) and you do not have a dissolute record, you will be given a strict warning or a police reproof at the very least. However, if you are discovered with a Class A or B drug (or if you have an account of drug offences), you are liable to meet a much tougher sentence.

The maximum verdict for ownership of each category of drug is up to seven years in prison or an undefined fine (or both) for a Class A drug; up to five years in prison or an undefined fine (or both) for a Class B drug; and up to two years in prison or an undefined fine (or both) for a Class C drug. These verdicts can increase a lot more if you are discovered to be trading in drugs or sourcing them – even if it is just to acquaintances with no money involved.

Sentences to pupil who are over 18

If caught in possession of cannabis, apart from seizing the drugs, the police will immediately arrest you and are likely to: 

  • Give you a cannabis counsel for a first offence of possession

  • Give you a Penalty Notice for Disorder (an immediate fine of £80) for a second offence

  • Take you in custody if it is the third time you have been caught with cannabis, which could lead to sentence and a criminal record

Sentences to pupil aged between 10 and 17 

If you are caught in ownership of cannabis, the police will seize the drug and may detain you or send you to a Youth Offending Team (YOT). The police are also expected to:

  • Confer you a scolding and tell your parents (what has come about) if it is the first time you have been held.

  • Grant you an ultimate warning and submit you to a YOT (youth offending team)  if it is your second offence

  • Detain you if it is the third time you have been caught with cannabis, which could lead to a guilty verdict and an immoral testimony.

A school society that has an active approach, rather than purely dispensing the matter over to police will be concerned with other momentous questions like: 

  • Where did the stuff come from?

  • Who was with the abuser when the incident occurred?

  • Who are his/her wider company?

  • What will the cost be for the abuser and links if the supply continues?

  • Will the police have any design of the abuser’s association?