Suspicions over school drug test

SUFFOLK schools are dismissing in-class drug testing as little more than a puff of smoke, as the new term starts today.Tony Blair announced a headline-making policy of encouraging headteachers to carry out their own tests on pupils.

SUFFOLK schools are dismissing in-class drug testing as little more than a puff of smoke, as the new term starts today.

Tony Blair announced a headline-making policy of encouraging headteachers to carry out their own tests on pupils.

But heads across the county reacted with a hefty dose of scepticism about the idea when the Evening Star contacted them today.

None of the headteachers wanted to be quoted by name, but speaking anonymously they were all extremely doubtful the policy, which was outlined in an interview by Mr Blair in a national newspaper yesterday, would ever make it to the statute book.


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One Ipswich head said: "My reaction would be to have a look at the paper last week.

"Last week they did a big piece about the dangers of drugs and then this week Tony Blair appear and says we need drug testing in school.

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"What happened to the policy he announced of headteachers being able to issue £100 on the spot fines to parents if their kids were skipping schools?"

And along with their scepticism about the practicality of the suggestion, headteachers also registered their disapproval of the principle.

Another said: "The government wants us to be a part of the community, but that's not the same thing as us taking on all the problems of the community within schools.

"Introducing drug testing is likely to drive a wedge between schools and parents."

In his interview The Prime Minister said new guidelines would be sent to headmasters giving them the power to take urine samples from pupils and use sniffer dogs to search school grounds.

He said: "We can't force them to do it but if heads believe they have a problem in their school, then they should be able to do random drug-testing."

Mr Blair also said the proposals would include the power to offer counselling and drug treatment programmes to young users and to exclude repeat offenders.

N Do you think drug testing in schools would be a good idea? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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