An elementary school principal in the UK has blasted parents for smoking pot “directly outside of the school gates,” and, according to some reports, the police are not treating the issue seriously.
Pauline Northcott, head of Dean Bank Primary and Nursery School in County Durham, penned a forceful letter after hearing that parents were passing joints around in the school playground, the Mirror reported.
Other parents reportedly notified school authorities about the “inappropriate behavior.”
Northcott sent out a reprimand and reported the matter to the police.
Local Chief Constable Mike Barton told the newspaper the police looked into the matter and uniformed patrols in the area were intensified.
But Barton also called the principal’s concerns a “storm in a teacup,” adding that while parents smoking cannabis was against the law, it was not a police priority for the Durham department’s limited resource allocation.
“We investigated this and no one was seen smoking the drug, the complaints were about the smell of cannabis,” Barton said, according to the Mirror.
“Nobody should be smoking outside of school gates let alone smoking spliffs,” Barton added.
But some parents think the police response was too lax.
A father of a child at the school complained to reporters that the police neglected to treat the issue seriously.
“You would have thought anything around kids or schools, the police would be right on it,” the parent said, according to the Metro, “But they’re not bothered.”
David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said a passive attitude by police normalizes the habit.
“The more people think it is acceptable, the more likely it is that parents will think it is fine to smoke cannabis at the school gates around children.”
Barton defended the approach of his department.
“If I had been stood next to someone who was smoking cannabis at the school gate, they would have been nicked—pure and simple—and any of my officers would have done the same,” he said.
He said that policing takes place under resource constraints and it is normal for cases to have different priorities.
“I cannot execute search warrants because people have a single plant in the bedroom. Our biggest problems are raised by mental health issues, terrorism, and tackling drug dealers.”
Dean Bank Primary and Nursery School is not alone in reminding parents about standards of behavior.
According to the Metro, a case was reported on recently in which parents were asked not to wear pyjamas while dropping kids off at school.