A special parents meeting has been arranged in a Highland town amid concerns about drug-related incidents linked to the local school.
Tain Royal Academy head teacher Mark Jones and local police inspector Jamie Wilson revealed the plan in a letter sent out to all parents about drug use yesterday.
The school’s move follows a similar letter sent to thousands of parents of pupils at the six secondaries in Inverness and Nairn in December, which warned of a “notable” increase in reports of drug use and availability.
That memo said that drugs such as cannabis, MDMA, heroin, crack cocaine and so-called legal highs were now “readily available” for “anyone” who wants them, including “a greater proportion of young people and at earlier ages”.
Sent yesterday, Tain Royal Academy’s letter said: “For over a month now, Tain Royal Academy, the parent council, Police Scotland and other key stakeholders have been working together to develop a strategy to protect the pupils and local community from the risks and consequences of drug misuse.
“This activity follows concerns raised by parents, pupils and other members of the public who have overheard or witnessed incidents linked to the school involving illegal drugs.
“In response to this issue, a meeting was convened with partner agencies when it was jointly agreed that a phased response was needed and would include a full educational package for pupils/parents, followed by police enforcement work.”
Police have recently delivered drug awareness presentations to each year group, which were “well received” by pupils and are also available for parents.
The letter added: “A parents evening is also being scheduled where information, advice and guidance will be provided to parents/guardians who may have concerns or wish to know more about drugs.
“We are also hoping to facilitate discussion groups between pupils and people who have personal experience of drugs and the negative effect they have on young lives, family and the community.
“We hope that a realistic perspective will deliver a high-ended impact to those who could not be ‘reached’ at previous inputs.”
Wendy Hennem, chairwoman of the school’s parent council, gave her backing to the initiative last night.
“We are delighted that all parties are taking a proactive approach on such a key issue and measures are being put in place to protect pupils from the risks and consequences of drug misuse,” she said.
“The parent council will continue to support a sustained approach that seeks to tackle the problem using both enforcement and preventative routes.”