St George’s Academy has been working closely with the police and undertaking surveillance to detect if cocaine and other drugs are getting into school.In a letter to parents, Sgt Stuart Mumby-Croft of Sleaford Policing Team said they have been targeting ‘County Lines’ drug suppliers in the town as a priority with several recent successes.
But he added: “We have however recently seen a worrying trend developing where young teenagers are accessing and using Class A drugs such as cocaine. The evidence that this is the case has caused sufficient alarm to both ourselves, and the staff at St George’s, to drive us to undertake joint work on enforcement and prevention within the school.
“The information we have suggests teenagers have been carrying drugs, or significant amounts of cash to buy drugs, into school. That information suggests either local individuals are dealing drugs through the school fence line during breaks, older pupils are leaving the school grounds to purchase drugs and then bringing them back into the school, or pupils are meeting with former pupils who may have been previously expelled from the school during the school day.”
Police officers and a drugs sniffer dog from a private security firm were invited in by the school on Monday to identify any vulnerable young people that may be being targeted and used by criminals to become drug users, runners or dealers.
Sgt Mumby-Croft continued: “This action indicates how seriously this matter is taken and to what lengths both ourselves, and St George’s Academy are willing to go to, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your children.
“We cannot and will not stand back and allow the situation to continue where children are getting their hands on drugs of this nature, or feel able to bring these into school, without fear of consequence.”
He added: “As a parent, you have the right to view your child’s phone and the content within. We know at least one of the groups involved are recruiting children onto social media apps to communicate and promote the sale of drugs. Check your children’s phones. Are they protective and secretive about their phone? Are they members of chat groups you don’t know about or with unusual names?
“Children have been stopped approaching the fence line where suspect dealing has occurred carrying up to £50 in cash. Does your child need £50 in cash for their school lunch?”
He said to look for evidence of small deal bags and there were reports staff had intercepted students wearing two pairs of underpants, creating an area where items could be concealed.
Sgt Mumby-Croft said: “I do not write to you to cause panic but to seek your help in confronting this issue. The trend in drugs such as cocaine being seen as fashionable and socially acceptable among younger age groups is a national trend, not just an issue limited to us here.”
He accepted the majority will not be involved but to recognise the one per cent.
“I need you all to join me in taking this matter seriously, talk to your children, and being alert and observant to anything which may be of concern."
Principal Laranya Caslin said the event was followed by whole-school assemblies to educate students on the dangers and said every parent needs to be vigilant.
“I am conscious that these letters may come as a shock to you and that some of you may not have been aware of the drug situation in our quiet rural area of Lincolnshire. Please be assured that we will continue to be vigilant regarding the safety of your children and do all we can to protect them and educate them on the dangers these drugs present.”