A hard-hitting warning has been issued by the head teachers of five high schools over an increase in drug-taking, drinking and anti-social behaviour by pupils, claiming it is “more prevalent than previously known”.
The letter – from Fortrose, Dingwall, Alness, Invergordon and Tain academies in the Highlands, and supported by the police – states they need to tackle the issue with the support of parents and carers, as well as the pupils themselves. Local politicians have welcomed the move to bring parents in for a meeting in a bid to combat the situation.
The letter says: “Pupils, parents and carers need to be aware that young people are using and supplying harmful substances across our communities and seem to believe that such activity is ‘normal’ for them and others.
“Controlled substances previously believed to not have been a significant issue for young people in many areas in Highland are now readily available.
“It is possible for young people, to access a wide variety of substances and these can include (but not exclusively) cannabis, psycho-active substances (‘legal highs’) and prescription drugs.”
A parent information evening meeting will be held at Dingwall Academy next month.
North MSP Kate Forbes said: “I commend the head teachers at these high schools for doing everything they can to support young people in the Highlands and encourage them to make good choices.
“It is also important that it is a joint initiative with Police Scotland because any suggestion of substance abuse, accessible drugs and public drunkenness are matters of grave concern.
“This letter acts as a wake-up call to some of the young people who are actively involved in this behaviour or are at risk of getting involved.”
Dingwall and Seaforth Councillor Graham MacKenzie, a former rector of Dingwall Academy, said: “This is a very positive, pro-active move to deal with this growing problem head on, and has to be very much welcomed.
“We have been seeing an increase in anti-social behaviour among teenagers, which is linked to drugs and alcohol.”
The letter continued: “Mid-Highland schools’ headteachers and Police Scotland are writing to you to inform and reassure you that we are working together to ensure our young people, schools and communities remain safe.”