Belfast Telegraph

Drug-laced buns found at Belfast's De La Salle College - concerned teacher speaks out

PSNI visit college over 'concern for safety'

De La Salle College in west Belfast
De La Salle College in west Belfast
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Police were called to a west Belfast school after drug-laced buns were found on the property last week.

A senior member of the teaching staff at De La Salle College told the Belfast Telegraph that drugs were being sold and obtained by younger pupils in the school.

"The drugs were believed to have been baked into food items," the staff member said.

A number of pills - referred to as 'whities' - have also "been doing the rounds", the teacher added.

It is believed that up to six sixth year pupils have been suspended for selling and possessing the drugs after the incident happened last Thursday.

The teacher also said that there have been other drug-related incidents in recent times but those took place outside the school grounds.

A PSNI spokesman said that police did attend a school in the Belfast area last Thursday in relation to a "concern for safety" of students.

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The teacher believes the last thing the school should be doing is "keeping parents in the dark" over the issue, adding that after reading yesterday about another drugs-related death in Belfast, it made him realise that someone needed to speak out.

"I haven't seen anything out of the normal in my class so it must be happening at lunchtime or break time," the teacher said.

"Most of the kids are grand, it's the worry of one of them taking a pill to impress their friends and then collapsing or even worse in my classroom. We have never been trained to deal with that.

"The school has just picked itself back up from difficult times. I don't want to go into that, but this is the last thing we need.

"We have had some pupils who just last week won awards in a local Youth of the West Awards. Our pupils are a credit to the school and themselves.

"Keeping parents in the dark is the last thing we should do, we can't combat a problem like this in the classroom. We try our best but it's the pupils' parents that need to chat to them."

He also claimed that when concerns and issues are raised in the school, a positive or structured outcome is never reached.

Referring to a drug-related death in Belfast at the weekend, the teacher added: "After seeing a grieving father have to speak out, how can we remain silent to keep a vaguely positive image of a school? I only hope that this will get straight to the homes where a potentially lifesaving intervention can be made."

Meanwhile, a parent of a De La Salle pupil confirmed that her son told her about last week's drug incident and that a number of sixth formers had been suspended.

"My son has told me that there are people in his class who have been buying them inside and after school," the parent said.

"He has been asked to buy some but I brought him up well - he knows better than to take them.

"When I asked him how they could buy the drugs, he said that some of them are using their bus money for the week or money for dinners to buy them.

"He won't tell me any names of people selling them in case something happens.

"You just wonder why no one sees this happening at lunch or in the classroom.

"They have to be selling them somewhere, so do they just not have enough staff to check?"

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools did not reply when asked for a response, while De La Salle College would not comment on what occurred at the school.

Belfast Telegraph

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