Belfast Telegraph

Suspended Bangor schoolboy got cannabis in Victoria Square area, says principal

By Cate McCurry

The principal of a top grammar school where a 14-year-old pupil was suspended for supplying illegal drugs has claimed the schoolboy bought them in the Victoria Square area in Belfast.

As revealed in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph, the Year 11 Bangor Grammar boy was suspended on Monday for passing cannabis to other pupils.

Two more Year 11 pupils were suspended for possessing the drug while in school uniform.

Parents were informed on Monday night about the incident by school principal Elizabeth Huddleson.

The PSNI was called to Bangor Grammar last week and told that a student had been caught with the substance. It is understood officers have spoken to the teenager.

Ms Huddleson said: "I have to say it doesn't shock me because this a real issue and a very real problem for our young people nowadays where, quite literally, they are being approached in their social time and offered drugs.

"Our drugs education policy is quite clear - that where we find pupils to be in possession or dealing, which is not the case here, we will follow that policy to the letter, and we communicate very clearly and very openly with parents.

"I'm not concerned there is drug misuse in the school. We are very clear with the pupils and they do know the consequences. I am concerned that, increasingly, young people and young people within the wider Bangor area and across Northern Ireland are being subjected more regularly to drugs, and they are becoming more readily available on the street.

"That's a real concern that schools have right across Northern Ireland, and it's important parents are made aware and educated in terms of how best to deal with these things."

The head said that she did not fear that there would be further cases.

"I would hope the boys would have listened very carefully to what is being said," she added. "They are seeing the consequences of it. They are seeing three of their peers suspended. I am confident that they will feel better equipped to say no the next time they are approached."

Correction: This article stated, incorrectly that the principal of Bangor Grammar School , Elizabeth Huddleson, claimed that a 14-year-old pupil suspended for supplying illegal drugs had bought them at Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast (News January 21). To clarify: Ms Huddleson said, in an interview with BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra, that the boy involved claimed he had obtained the drugs in the "Victoria Square area", not in the shopping centre. We are happy to set the record straight.

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