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Pupils expelled in drugs shame

PUBLISHED: 15:50 12 October 2001 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK high school is reeling today after further embarrassing drug revelations at the school - only weeks after pupils were arrested on an end of term trip for possessing cannabis.

A SUFFOLK high school is reeling today after further embarrassing drug revelations at the school – only weeks after pupils were arrested on an end of term trip for possessing cannabis.

Moira Humphreys, headteacher at East Bergholt High School, confirmed that she has expelled two pupils on drugs related matters following a sweeping investigation at the school.

Although the pupils were expelled on Tuesday Suffolk Police today said they were only informed of the expulsions and drugs allegations this morning. This was after The Evening Star contacted the school.

In a statement released by the school Mrs Humphreys said: "As a result of our enquires in school, we can confirm that two young people have been excluded for drugs related matters. As a consequence of enquiries that have been carried out over the past three days and in line with what parents and students were advised, the police have been informed.

"By last night we felt confident our enquiry was complete and we were in the best position to contact the police.

"As a school we have a clear and strong policy for dealing with such incidents on the rare occasion they occur.

"We are well aware of and sensitive to the drug related issues in youth culture today.

"We shall continue to address these issues through the curriculum and in partnership with parents and outside agencies.

"Governors have been kept informed. Parents who have been in contact with the school have expressed their full support."

The parents of one of expelled pupils today hit out at the school, claiming their 14-year-old son was innocent and that he had not been given a fair chance to clear his name.

And while staff at the school insists that a "strong policy" is in place for dealing with such incidents, parents have expressed their concern that they are not being kept fully informed of drug related matters at the beleaguered school.

According to the father of the 14-year-old boy, staff launched a drugs investigation at the school at the start of the new term.

His son was among a number of others hauled into the school on Tuesday and quizzed on suspicion of supplying cannabis to other pupils. The man, who declined to be named, vehemently denied his son's involvement in the illegal.

Fears that illegal substances such as cannabis were freely available in the school were sparked after four pupils were arrested on suspicion of possessing the class B drug during a year 10 trip to Chessington World of Adventure in July. Three 15-year-old boys later accepted a cautioned for the offence.

As the pupils returned to school after the summer holidays staff launched a major crack down, systematically interviewing pupils in each year and compiling a dossier of information on suspects as they arose, said the father.

"The headteacher had a stack of papers on the desk. One sheet of paper per child she had interviewed and had allegedly bought drugs off somebody in the school. There must have been about 30 papers there. She said about a half dozen had admitted to selling cannabis.

"She said she had cannabis in her office that she had confiscated that day.

"My son is not squeaky clean but as far as I'm concerned he is innocent. He's all up for getting the police involved and clearing his name."

The 14-year-old told of his fear that the drug allegation would destroy his future.

"I wanted to be a computer programmer when I was older. If I'm proved innocent hopefully it should be all right but if I'm not I'm worried it will go on my record.

"I think the investigation has been unfair. It's just a few names on a bit of paper and I have been expelled for it. I haven't had a chance to prove my innocence."

"People have been expelled before for the same reason. It's not that easy to get drugs inside the school but it is easy to get them outside school. It's mainly cannabis and ecstasy as far as I know."

Parents with children at the school today said they felt they had been kept in the dark.

Jane Smith of The Squirrells, Capel St Mary said her 15-year-old son had not mentioned any alleged incident and she had not been informed by the school of any problems.

She said: "I haven't heard anything, but I suppose it's early days yet. If it happened in the school then parents should be informed, but if it happened outside then it's a personal matter."

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