What you say

26th November 2004 at 00:00
* "I favour the zero-tolerance approach. Take the usual disciplinary route, but also make sure parents are aware of what is happening. Police involvement will hopefully give the students a fright, and will also mean that the shopspubs involved in selling the alcohol will be liable to prosecution." missstressed

* "Surely prevention is better than the cure? How do these kids have the opportunity to get drunk? I find it hard to believe that pupils can turn up for school with alcohol in their bags and nobody know about it. It doesn't take much for a good form tutor to keep their ears open and ask around a few reliable pupils.We all know who they are! If they are drinking on school premises, try a little more vigilance. And if they're going out of their way to leave school and get drunk, I'd be inclined to think there's a reason for it. Try talking to them about why they're drinking and the effects - but as a human being, not a condescending (or hypocritical) adult." racheyg

* "We recently had a small group of Year 9 students drinking on school premises. Other students let us know, and they were all sent home, then counselled on their return. We do a lot of work in PSHE from Year 7 upwards about peer pressure, alcohol and other drugs, and it is reassuringly rare for students to be under the influence of anything worse than E numbers! It's important that those who teach PSHE are properly trained and confident about the topics covered so that students have access to accurate information. It's also vital that they feel able to ask questions. We try to deal with certain topics in single-gender groups so that students feel more comfortable, and we also use a 'question box' so they can post anonymous questions on the week's hot topic." gipsy queen

* "Zero tolerance works best. Demanding that parents collect their inebriated offspring from school would be my course of action.

"But why are they in school drunk? Binge drinking could be the result of peer pressure, bullying, dares, practical jokes, or unhappiness. I can't condone pupils (always in the minority) being drunk in school merely because they are trying to overcome problems at home. But nor can they be ignored. Heads should take the stand that any alcohol in school, imbibed or not, is unacceptable and the pupils could be in line for prosecution (where applicable.) "It's a long and complicated question, with no clear answer. I think it's time we tightened up the law regarding minors with cigarettes and alcohol; we also need to wipe the slate clean of the 'sexiness of controlled substances' advertising culture." timkenyon

* "It is really out of a classroom teacher's control, because we do not have the power to deal with such an issue. We certainly cannot stop a child from consuming alcohol outside school. However, if, as a result of drinking, a child fails, then the teacher will be held accountable. Parent support and a strong school policy are vital. I believe any child who turns up unfit to learn and presenting a danger to others should be sent home instantly. If it becomes a regular thing, then the child should be asked to leave permanently. The same thing would happen to someone who consistently turned up for work too drunk to do the job." Plankhead

* "When I was in the sixth form, I returned to school after a drink in the pub at lunchtime, and our teacher sent us all home. We never did it again.

It has to be addressed whatever the age of pupils, and especially if they aren't old enough to be drinking in the first place.

"I would want to send them home straight away but also talk to them about it after they've sobered up. There might be something going on that leads them to drinking or we might need to do something on assertiveness and peer pressure in tutor periods or PSHE classes. Yes, there needs to be a zero-tolerance approach, but the school also needs to find out what's behind it and whether the corner shop needs alerting to under-age drinkers." enkephalin

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