A Headteacher and Cannabis
It was early in the morning before most of the kids had arrived when a Head of Year came in to my office with a large lump of very smelly black resin wrapped in Clingfilm. He deposited it on my desk.
‘One of the kids came to see me,’ he informed me. ‘He was sold this behind the Sports Hall this morning.’
I raised my eyebrows.
‘He got paranoid,’ the Head of Year explained. ‘He didn’t want to get caught with it.’ He told me the name of the boy doing the selling.
‘OK,’ I said. ‘Smells like strong stuff.’ The aroma from the black resin was already permeating the room. ‘Get it chased up and find out who else he’s been selling to.’
By the end of the morning I had a big heap of cannabis blocks on my desk. The dealer must have come in with a very big bag and the bus that he’d come on probably needed detoxifying before being used again. Already I was beginning to feel happy and I hadn’t even smoked any.
One boy had been sold a big lump at the bus stop and had quickly run home and put it under his bed. I rang his mother up and asked her to bring it in. I could imagine the conversation that teatime.
I called the dealer in.
‘I understand you have been selling cannabis resin to a number of students,’ I started as my opening gambit. I proceeded to reel off a list of names, places and times.
‘Yes,’ he said in a deadpan voice, admitting it straight away.
‘Have you got any more cannabis on you?’ I asked.
‘Yes,’ he replied, producing a big lump from his pocket. I added it to the large heap.
I told him that there was such a large amount that I would have to inform the police but that I would try to deal with the matter in school. He seemed non-committal.
My last port of call was a lad who had reportedly been sold a chunk but was denying it.
‘Ok,’ I began, once I had him in my room. ‘You were sold a lump of cannabis.’ I gave him the price, time, place and witnesses. He realised the game was up and confessed. I asked him where it was. He told me he’d thrown it over the fence on to the common land that was used for cattle.
‘Oh,’ I said. ‘That’s a shame. I was hoping to settle all this in school. Now I’m going to have to involve the police. They’ll have to come along with sniffer dogs and find it. We can’t have dangerous drugs around. A child might find them.’
He looked horrified.
‘I tell you what,’ I said in my most conciliatory manner. ‘I’ll give you ten minutes. You see if you can’t shin over that fence and find it. If you bring it to me in the next ten minutes I’ll see what I can do.’
He belted out of the room.
The bell went and I went off to supervise a cover lesson. I had the class doing some work and stood in the doorway waiting for the boy to return.
A member of staff walked past and enquired as to why I was standing in the doorway.
‘I’m waiting for a boy to bring me some cannabis,’ I explained.
Just then the boy came rushing up.
‘Here’s that cannabis you wanted me to get, sir,’ he said.
The look on the member of staff’s face was priceless. I added the lump to the pile on my desk.
The next day I opened my office and had to cut my way into the room the air was so dense. I had a big smile on my face all morning.
That day we had the police in doing an assembly for the lower school. At the end of the assembly I took the police officer to one side.
‘I think you should accompany me to my office,’ I suggested. ‘I have something I need to pass over to you.’
She was astounded when I passed the large quantity of cannabis over to her. There was no doubt that the dealer was giving very generous deals. If the smell was anything to go by it was top quality too.
The next day I received a call from the office. The Chief Constable wanted to talk to me.
I smiled. I was expecting a congratulatory call. I had broken a big drugs ring (well caught a kid selling a bit of dope).
I picked up my phone to a chilling silence.
The Chief Inspector informed me that I had broken the law on two counts and they were considering prosecution.
‘Oh yes,’ I said. This was not quite the type of call I had been anticipating. ‘And what charges might that be?’
He went on to explain that I had interviewed a minor without an adult being present over a criminal matter in contravention to the European Child Protection act. Then I had put myself in possession of sufficient cannabis to warrant a dealing charge.’
I heard him out as my disposition shifted from satisfaction, through disbelief to cold anger. I quickly reviewed what I had done and the way I had done it in my head. I knew that as a Headteacher I had the right to interview my students and confiscate drugs.
‘Do me a favour,’ I suggested. ‘Go ahead and prosecute me. I shall delight in having your stupid name spread over the front pages of every national newspaper in the country!’
I slammed the phone down.
My colleagues thought I’d been a bit incautious and that I was likely to be pulled over for every minor traffic offence.
Two days later I had a visit from a police officer. She told me that the Chief Inspector sent his apologies and that to say that he’d been a little heavy handed.
‘Tell him to come in and apologise in person,’ I told her. ‘Or he can stuff it where light never penetrates!’
She seemed genuinely shocked.