Drugs at school

(6 Posts)
therealmrsclooney Tue 06-Sep-16 09:19:18

I accepted a place at an independent boarding school for my DS this September. He attended an induction programme there in July but contacted me during it to say the other students were smoking weed and he wasn't comfortable. DS wanted to stay the course, so we let him and he enjoyed it - but came home with mixed feelings about whether it was the right place or not. I didn't mention it to the school while he was there for fear of landing my child in the sh*t as being a tell-tale. Afterwards, DH phoned them to explain tactfully what had happened and said that in the circs we could not send DS to their school. They were conciliatory and asked to speak to DS. We said we'd rather not get DS involved, and that we had found a place at another school, but I agreed to send them screen shots of the text conversation I'd had with DS at the time. Next thing we know, school send us a bill for £10,000 saying we are in breach of contract! We assumed this was an administrative error but they say not.

What do we do now? We are, technically, in breach of contract but there are extenuating circumstances...

t4nut Tue 06-Sep-16 09:40:55

Indeed there are. Hard to say without knowing the terms of the contract, but I think the general principle is they are not providing the expected level of service and any response should make this clear.

A subtle hint about making the drug taking known on social media/local press might cause a rapid retreat.

Violetsarentalwaysblue Tue 06-Sep-16 10:00:15

Is you DS absolutely sure that other students were smoking weed? Did he actually see them doing it or did he he hear them trying to look clever/important boasting talking to each other about it? What age group are we talking about? I regularly health screen 13yr old starting at boarding schools and most looked shocked if I ask them if they even smoke. Obviously some have or do smoke but very few 13 yr olds have (yet). We also regularly (weekly) randomly drug test 20 yrs 10 upwards surprisingly very few test positive for drugs. Secondly in my experience of being involved in boarding school induction programmes (again for 13 yr olds) they have very little unsupervised time usually staff/older boys accompany them the vast majority of the time.
If you absolutely certain that drugs were being taken I think you need to have a very honest conversation with the school, most boarding schools take drug taking pretty seriously I'd talk to the head or a senior teacher head of pastoral care etc.
As said above none want any scandles about drugs to geting into the local press I guess you could resort to this if you're completely sure of your facts and they are seriously chasing you for the money but I'd try and resolve it more diplomatically first! .

therealmrsclooney Tue 06-Sep-16 11:51:23

Thanks both for your replies. Diplomacy is definitely our preferred option, but it seems it's getting us nowhere. Of course I have thought of threatening to name and shame, but that would be last resort. I'm just flabbergasted that they are chasing us for the money.

He's going into the 6th form. He's pretty streetwise and almost pathologically honest. The smoking took place outside and away from buildings. The school has a very liberal ethos!

missyB1 Tue 06-Sep-16 11:54:37

I would say they don't have a leg to stand on! tell them they can take you to court if they really want - where you will show those screen shots.

Violetsarentalwaysblue Tue 06-Sep-16 13:13:26

I can understand them wanting to speak to your DS, the school I work at would. He's making some serious allegations that could ultimately effect the places at the school of other pupils. Most however liberal they might claim to be (few if any are so liberal as to accept drug taking) will want to investigate this and can't without asking details.
Secondly the bottom line is that some parents are very slippery I'm sure you are telling the truth but a small number fabricate all sorts of stuff to get out of paying fees, it's inevitable that the school will not just back down on this without some serious discussion with you and you're DS.
Finally drug taking amongst 6th formers at any school is inevitable, my DC's are a similar age group, the important thing is not that others are taking drugs; children who are at boarding schools often have lots of money in their accounts and theres likely to be significantly less supervision of 6 th formers, it's how your DC's react to it, ideally as parents I've talked to mY DC's extensively about this, we want our children to say no but we have to be realistic and aware that some won't.

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