A STUDENT found in possession of cannabis at a Port Macquarie school has received a caution under the Young Offenders Act.
The St Joseph’s Regional College pupil was one of seven who were expelled from the school this month for their involvement in the incident.
The college received a stern warning from police for failing to report the incident immediately.
Superintendent Paul Fehon from Mid North Coast Local Area Command said police reinforced the importance of action by schools and school principals to report any knowledge of incidents of this nature straight away.
“We will respond and, like they have an interest in the school and the welfare of students, we have a similar interest to be able to ensure drugs are not getting into schools,” Superintendent Paul Fehon said.
“Small incidents like this are getting a lot of notoriety which shows the concern of everyone else to get drugs out of our community.”
When police are made aware of any such issue, the youth liaison officer, the detectives, the general duties police and the school liaison officer swamp the campus to ensure they get to the bottom of it quickly, so that innocent parties are not impacted.
St Agnes Parish's education coordinating officer, John McQueen, said the parish takes the issue of drugs in schools very seriously.
“In accordance with the school’s and diocesan policy of zero tolerance of drugs in schools, all students involved were expelled,” he said.
“Protocols and procedures include interviews with students and parents, counselling support if required and police involvement.”
Despite this isolated incident, Supt Fehon applauded schools in the Hastings.
“The thing our schools are very good at is drug education, and career and life guidance, and I must say our schools have been very good,” he said.
“We have had very few incidents with drugs in schools over recent years.
“Regarding the St Joseph’s Regional College incident, police investigated and one student was found to have possession of cannabis.
“Along with the recent media campaign about the affects of drugs, we wish to warn parents to be aware of their children, to be inquisitive in relation to their behaviour and ensure they don’t succumb to the dreadful affects of drugs.”
Youth liaison officer Wendy Hudson said police are proud of the strong relationship they have with all schools in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area.
“The majority of schools are doing the right thing when drugs are detected at a school,” she said.
“This kind of thing has not been prevalent and we are pleased with the majority of schools and what they are doing.
“Our school police liaison officer, Steve Jeffery, is doing an enormous amount of drug education in schools with programs that target different age groups and years.
“He lectures those years for drugs, alcohol and cyber bullying, which is our focus at the moment.”
Supt Fehon said the greatest concern for police is drug supply.
“We are going to continue with our very successful investigations,” he said.