Worrying situation at dd's school.(39 Posts)
DD is 14 and in year 9 at a private school, with what I thought had a good reputation. For the past couple of months I've heard some stories from her about people in her school and the drug use which goes. She never really elaborated and while I was concerned, I thought nothing more of it that a few silly boys, a couple of years above smoking weed in a park or something. But just last night, when we were chatting, my expectations of what I thought where greatly exceeded. Turns out its the year 10s (year above dd) that have a reputation for being the most horrendous year in the school and dd said at least 40% of them drink and take drugs (and I'm talking drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy etc) and a large portion of this percentage is girls too, a couple of which she knows. There has also been a few incidents such as overdoses etc in school too. My problem is that kids in her year have been supplied by them and some go to their parties at weekends. My dd is hard working and for the minute has her feet firmly on the ground, but what worries me is that that may change soon. I know as she's approaching 15 she'll want to have EVEN more freedom and will start to be invited to parties. DD assures me that she will never take drugs and that alcohol does not appeal to her but there is still that worry of being "easily led" or to "fit in". I've gotten a wakeup call and it astounds me that although the teachers are aware of what goes on, they turn a blind eye and only get involved if an illicit substance is brought into school or something happens to damage their precious reputation. Surely some sort of drugs awareness presentation could be given, because the need for it is obviously there.
I need advice on is there anything more I can do, I've warned dd and drummed into her the dangers of drugs and to avoid them at all costs but what do I do at school when drugs could be handed to her on a plate?
Thanks in advance
No advice, and I would share your concern. I think drugs are every bit as rife at private schools as they are in the state sector.
If it's any comfort, I was aware of other kids doing all sorts of drugs when I was a kid, and I was offered stuff quite a few times. Wasn't ever remotely tempted to take it. Your dd is talking about it quite openly and says she isn't interested. Keep talking to her, and make sure she is aware of the dangers. I would also report to the school and ask what they are going to do about it.
I myself attended a private school (and only recently left). As horrible as it is to say, but drug use is more widespread and common in private schools - as we all had the money to spend on it.
You need a sit down chat with her. Don't give her the lecture of "how bad dangerous drugs are" etc. She is already aware of that. Tell her that once she tries it, she won't stop. Drugs aren't "bad". They are an incredible feeling. Which is why people continue to use them. I got wrapped up in the drugs scene myself, and I so wish that instead of being forbidden from them, they could have been explained to me.
If she is going to try them, she will. However just make sure you give her enough of an education about them so she will turn her back.
All the best!
Thanks for the responses ladies. Going to ring up the school tomorrow and ask about how they broach drugs awareness.Going to have another informal chat with dd tonight using what maddiebrowns said. Having went to a state school myself, I was never aware of what went on within private schools, shocked is an understatement so to speak
Amongst my friends dcs the ones at private school have much more of a drug scene than those at state schools. I hope you get the response you want from the school op.
Talk to Frank is a very useful service. You could have a read of their website, and get your DD to too.
They also can come out to schools to give out info.
Why on earth are you talking about this as a private/state school thing?
If anything drug use is more rife in private schools (ime) as the kids have more generous allowances.
Also, it's not teachers "turning a blind eye" unless illicit substances are taken into school, it's working within our remit. We're teachers, not parents or the police. What rights do you think schools have out of school time?!
Well drug use was rife at my state school too, so I don't think thats a state/private thing. But you're right to be concerned. I'd talk to the school.
By turning a blind eye, I meant not actually caring about the wellbeing of the pupils and not providing some sort of advice to parents if they suspect their child may be getting in to something they shouldn't be. I am not tarring every school with the same brush, but I know for a fact that I am not the only parent who has raised awareness on the topic. I also did not intend to make this into a state/private school thing, I was simply stating that it is quite shocking, to myself, who went to a state school that the situation is worse.
What drugs awareness education has your child had?
NOTHING to do with the school or state / private
Drug use in that age group is rife round here ( London ) - which I know first hand starts in year 8 (age 13) with weed and progresses to ketamine, mdma and anything else that's cheaply available. Sadly for our kids drugs are cheaper than ever and the option of a cider in the pub is no longer available to them as they would need ID.
My advice is keep communication with your DD open, try not to be preachy and as she gets older keep a close eye at all times. Obviously festivals and parties are where it happens. Also keep yourself well informed and don't just say things like ' all drugs are bad'. There are a lot of parents in denial out there.
I would also demand the school provide plenty of drug ed for kids also importantly for parents. They surely must already be doing this ?
It's a good sign your DD has talked to you about this. Keep her talking. My DD also tells me the stories ( she has nothing to hide ) my DS tells me absolutely nothing, because he does have stuff to keep from me
The only drugs "awareness" dd has had was a presentation given by the r.e department last year and that was based more on what the religious morals surround drug and alcohol use and not about the actual effects of drug taking. Have been browsing on the frank website and gathered a lot of good information, going to tell dd to check it out too. And Claybury I truly do feel for you, I'd hate if my child didn't tell me anything
I would be talking to the school about proper PHSE-which includes drugs education. Google the National Curriculum to see what state schools should provide (obviously, they don't all do it, but many do.)
I have spoken to my DC's school about my concerns and they have been supportive and not shocked - it's a big school and they know what teenagers are like, however they appreciated a parent's viewpoint and there have since been more drug awareness evenings. Oddly they were poorly attended and that is why I feel there is a lot of denial in the community.
The Amy Winehouse foundation do good work with schools. Maybe you could suggest an evening session for parents? I have to say I think drugs are still treated as a taboo subject in that perhaps some people feel that if they turn up to a drug info evening it is public admission that you/your child has a problem. Which I personally think is ridiculous as everyone needs info.
School have a responsibility, but it's down the the parents. My dcs are at similar schools, the key is to have a tight group of parents. The children are far less likely to indulge if they're with friends who's parents you know and they know they're being picked up at a set time, rather than going out, finding their own way home/ staying over someplace you don't know etc. It seems obvious but I'm constantly amazed at the kids who turn up randomly, their parents oblivious.
"chool have a responsibility, but it's down the the parents. My dcs are at similar schools, the key is to have a tight group of parents. The children are far less likely to indulge if they're with friends who's parents you know and they know they're being picked up at a set time, rather than going out, finding their own way home/ staying over someplace you don't know etc. It seems obvious but I'm constantly amazed at the kids who turn up randomly, their parents oblivious."
I actually do think there is a private/ state aspect to the issue although of course drugs are an issue in any school. 2 reasons. First - private school students obviously tend to come from financially better-off backgrounds . Research shows that where there is spare cash to splash, recreational drug use is much more likely to follow. Second, private schools don't have to follow the NC to the same extent and don't have the same impetus to provide an open and honest drugs education. Instead, it is not in their interest to openly admit that any of their students could have a drugs problem - not good PR for prospective parents at all.
OP I think the most effective thing you can do is keep talking to your dd honestly about both the risks and the thrills of drugs. You need to be able to admit that drugs are fun, exciting and attractive to a teen as well as dangerous and harmful. In the end she will have to make up her own mind and live in a world where this is a fact of life. All schools are fairly powerless against this.
Why the 'dream on'? I didn't post 'do the following and your children will never even stand downwind of a spliff or have a sip of shandy'! But the situation the OP describes, 14 year olds using ketamine and MDMA, doesn't happen during the odd unsupervised trip into town.
Knowing where your children are, collecting them at the end of an evening, insisting on a curfew and knowing their friends' parents minimises the risks.
And of course warning of the risks in a truthful and non apocalyptic way. I've taken the mental health route- don't mess with your developing brain.
I agree, haffdonga- but that was not the private/state issue the OP had in mind!
I have two children at different state secondary schools with very different socio economic catchments. The school with richer kids has a significantly worse drug problem, but I think the alcohol problem is about the same. Cheap spirits is on of the worst things to happen to teenage drinking- a bottle of Tesco value vodka is less than a tenner.
She sounds a sensible girl, I think you have to trust her. Lots of them are sensible enough not to get involved. I have always thought it is more rife in private schools because they have more money.
If a child in a state school were caught taking cockney they would be expelled not so in a private school. Reason , money talks
Delphinium I don't think it's about trust when it comes to drink, drugs and 14yolds. It is important to minimise the risks she takes by educating her and having an idea of where she is, who with and that she can contact you. All my dcs and some of their friends have contacted me when things got out of hand. If they'd thought 'mum would have a fit and I'd never be allowed out again, she's no idea what goes on' I doubt I've have got those calls.
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