'Legal' doesn't mean 'safe' - key message following school incident

Western Telegraph: File pics of Dyfed-Powys police officer
PICTURE: Western Telegraph
 (1595250) File pics of Dyfed-Powys police officer PICTURE: Western Telegraph (1595250)

THE headteacher of Pembroke School has reassured parents after a group of pupils fell ill at the school last after taking a “legal high” last Wednesday (May 14).

Four emergency ambulances and the Air Ambulance were called to the site just after 2pm.

Headteacher Frank Ciccotti told the Western Telegraph: “A lot of staff and students are angered that the good name of Pembroke School has been tarnished by this incident involving a few irresponsible pupils.”

Mr Ciccotti sent a letter of home to parents reassuring them that the incident was “isolated”, involving a year 10 boy who had brought a “legal high” into school to share with a group of 10 friends.

He added: “Unfortunately, one student had a very severe reaction to it. This was reported to us by responsible students.

“He was so unwell that we called for an ambulance and they in turn called the air ambulance as a precautionary measure, although ultimately it was not used to take him to hospital.

“Together with all the pupils who had taken the drug, he was checked in hospital and released later that evening. All are now well.”

The pupils involved have been given fixed term exclusions.

“Pembroke School takes a strong stand against drugs, and our PSE programme brings in expert speakers to emphasise the risks and dangers of both legal and illegal drugs,” said Mr Ciccotti.

Last Thursday, Dyfed-Powys Police issued a warning about the dangers of legal highs.

A police spokesman said: “New psychoactive substances (so-called “legal highs”) frequently contain substances that are not legal and cannot be assumed safe.

“These substances have not been properly tested to see how toxic they are to humans so there is no way of telling how a psychoactive drug will affect you.

“Information on substance misuse for parents and pupils can be found at www.schoolbeat.org.”

Officers also visited the school to provide advice, support and reassurance, and conduct further enquiries.

Rhys Jordan, 24, director of DrugEd, has been educating young people about drugs for the last five years.

He said: “The main message is that legal doesn’t mean safe. We can’t call them legal highs because if the products are sold for human consumption that’s against the law.

“What we call them is new psychoactive substances. They are not deemed safe for human consumption and just because they have not been classed illegal that doesn’t make them safe.”

He added: “The more education we can give to people, the more able they are to make better choices, the safer they will be.”

Comments (5)

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5:21pm Tue 20 May 14

Tttoommy says...

Legal doesn't mean safe -

Then why are Macdonalds allowed to build their stores near sKools and colleges?
Legal doesn't mean safe - Then why are Macdonalds allowed to build their stores near sKools and colleges? Tttoommy
  • Score: 2

10:43pm Tue 20 May 14

Tttoommy says...

previous comment voted up so I'm guessing this w'ont!

The parents will have every chance to take the headeacher to court (as a last resort after appealsetc and WIN If he decides to chuck the kids out for a LEGAL act
previous comment voted up so I'm guessing this w'ont! The parents will have every chance to take the headeacher to court (as a last resort after appealsetc and WIN If he decides to chuck the kids out for a LEGAL act Tttoommy
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Wed 21 May 14

Rockface says...

Tttoommy wrote:
previous comment voted up so I'm guessing this w'ont!

The parents will have every chance to take the headeacher to court (as a last resort after appealsetc and WIN If he decides to chuck the kids out for a LEGAL act
If they are called 'legal high' drugs and sold by shops to young people knowingly that they are going to consume them, then surely this is illegal. Come on I doubt the seller really believes these youngsters are going to use them as plant food.

I think Pembroke School should be commended for the way it has dealt with this problem and the way it has tried to protect our youngsters regarding the dangers to any substance that can cause harm. I think the head teacher has acted appropriately as the substance became illegal once these youngsters consumed it.
[quote][p][bold]Tttoommy[/bold] wrote: previous comment voted up so I'm guessing this w'ont! The parents will have every chance to take the headeacher to court (as a last resort after appealsetc and WIN If he decides to chuck the kids out for a LEGAL act[/p][/quote]If they are called 'legal high' drugs and sold by shops to young people knowingly that they are going to consume them, then surely this is illegal. Come on I doubt the seller really believes these youngsters are going to use them as plant food. I think Pembroke School should be commended for the way it has dealt with this problem and the way it has tried to protect our youngsters regarding the dangers to any substance that can cause harm. I think the head teacher has acted appropriately as the substance became illegal once these youngsters consumed it. Rockface
  • Score: 1

1:56pm Wed 21 May 14

Bilbo101 says...

Rockface wrote:
Tttoommy wrote:
previous comment voted up so I'm guessing this w'ont!

The parents will have every chance to take the headeacher to court (as a last resort after appealsetc and WIN If he decides to chuck the kids out for a LEGAL act
If they are called 'legal high' drugs and sold by shops to young people knowingly that they are going to consume them, then surely this is illegal. Come on I doubt the seller really believes these youngsters are going to use them as plant food.

I think Pembroke School should be commended for the way it has dealt with this problem and the way it has tried to protect our youngsters regarding the dangers to any substance that can cause harm. I think the head teacher has acted appropriately as the substance became illegal once these youngsters consumed it.
Unfortunately they are not illegal and the way they are packaged gets round the law which makes them illegal. Consuming them does not make the act illegal either, just like drinking a bottle of bleach is not illegal but a pretty fatal thing to do nonetheless. So there is nothing illegal going on here. The pupils did nothing illegal either, but it was a stupid act and broke the school rules and therefore the headmaster was able to impose whatever punishment he/she saw fit.

Drinking alcohol when your under 18 is not illegal either, it is just illegal to sell it to under 18's, but if your under 18 and you drink alcohol whilst in school then the pupil(s) will have done nothing illegal but will have broken the schools conduct rules and can therefore be suspended or expelled.

The shop owners that sell these legal highs are not doing anything illegal either ( at the moment ) but when the majority of products in the shop are clearly drug paraphernalia and it is clear that these drugs are legal highs then the shop owners are pretty disgusting people in my mind as they are profiting from knowingly selling dangerous substance to children when they know they are going to consume them. There is such a shop in Quay Street, Haverfordwest and I don't know how these owners can sleep at night.

As mentioned before, my son and his friend ended up in hospital with server breathing difficulties after foolishly buying and consuming some of these legal highs from such a shop. They can also be bought very easily and cheaply over the Internet. Stopping them is near on impossible. The solution in my mind is to decriminalise all drugs and regulate and tax them. That way everybody will know exactly what it is that they are taking and what the risks are. The benefit of this approach is that there will be less deaths, less crime and also it will deprive the drug dealers of making a fortune out of people suffering and dying and the revenues gained by the government can then be ploughed into the NHS to provide much needed funding to increase help and support for drug users.
[quote][p][bold]Rockface[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tttoommy[/bold] wrote: previous comment voted up so I'm guessing this w'ont! The parents will have every chance to take the headeacher to court (as a last resort after appealsetc and WIN If he decides to chuck the kids out for a LEGAL act[/p][/quote]If they are called 'legal high' drugs and sold by shops to young people knowingly that they are going to consume them, then surely this is illegal. Come on I doubt the seller really believes these youngsters are going to use them as plant food. I think Pembroke School should be commended for the way it has dealt with this problem and the way it has tried to protect our youngsters regarding the dangers to any substance that can cause harm. I think the head teacher has acted appropriately as the substance became illegal once these youngsters consumed it.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately they are not illegal and the way they are packaged gets round the law which makes them illegal. Consuming them does not make the act illegal either, just like drinking a bottle of bleach is not illegal but a pretty fatal thing to do nonetheless. So there is nothing illegal going on here. The pupils did nothing illegal either, but it was a stupid act and broke the school rules and therefore the headmaster was able to impose whatever punishment he/she saw fit. Drinking alcohol when your under 18 is not illegal either, it is just illegal to sell it to under 18's, but if your under 18 and you drink alcohol whilst in school then the pupil(s) will have done nothing illegal but will have broken the schools conduct rules and can therefore be suspended or expelled. The shop owners that sell these legal highs are not doing anything illegal either ( at the moment ) but when the majority of products in the shop are clearly drug paraphernalia and it is clear that these drugs are legal highs then the shop owners are pretty disgusting people in my mind as they are profiting from knowingly selling dangerous substance to children when they know they are going to consume them. There is such a shop in Quay Street, Haverfordwest and I don't know how these owners can sleep at night. As mentioned before, my son and his friend ended up in hospital with server breathing difficulties after foolishly buying and consuming some of these legal highs from such a shop. They can also be bought very easily and cheaply over the Internet. Stopping them is near on impossible. The solution in my mind is to decriminalise all drugs and regulate and tax them. That way everybody will know exactly what it is that they are taking and what the risks are. The benefit of this approach is that there will be less deaths, less crime and also it will deprive the drug dealers of making a fortune out of people suffering and dying and the revenues gained by the government can then be ploughed into the NHS to provide much needed funding to increase help and support for drug users. Bilbo101
  • Score: 3

8:39am Thu 22 May 14

teifion says...

Is this the school where a poor lad died and the head teacher said that no one should speculate on why this dreadful event happened and THEN said he was sure that there was no bullying at the school?

spot the failure in logic there?
Is this the school where a poor lad died and the head teacher said that no one should speculate on why this dreadful event happened and THEN said he was sure that there was no bullying at the school? spot the failure in logic there? teifion
  • Score: -4

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