St Mary's College August 2017
St Mary's College August 2017 Bev Lacey

Expelled boys: St Mary's principal firm on drug policy

UPDATE 1:40PM: A TOOWOOMBA school principal who expelled six students over drug offences has described the boys as "lovely kids" but has held firm on the college's substance abuse policy.

Six boys from St Mary's College were allegedly involved in dealing drugs at the school last week.

Principal Michael Newman said he became aware of the incident in which three students brought marijuana to school and sold it to another three boys after a senior came forward with information.

He subsequently investigated and as a result, "all six boys are now gone".

"They're lovely kids from lovely families.

"It's really unfortunate but the school has a strong policy on this and the boys know that."

Mr Newman said all students agree to the St Mary's drug and alcohol policy upon enrolment. 

In addition, the school regularly invites drug and alcohol researcher Paul Dillon from the Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia to talk to Year 10, 11 and 12 students about the dangers of substance abuse.

Mr Newman would not reveal the ages of the students involved in last week's incident.

"It is a shock. This is the first time I've seen drugs in the school and I've been here seven-and-a-half years," he said.

"It's (drug use) a problem in Toowoomba though. And alcohol is a problem in this town too."

Mr Newman said principals in the city "do a really great job" alerting students to the dangers involved with drug and alcohol consumption.

Police have been notified about the alleged drug deal.


St Mary's College August 2017
St Mary's College August 2017 Bev Lacey


"Drug education is a key component of health and wellbeing programs in all Catholic schools," said Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools. 

"This education is required because the reality is that our students are aware of and are exposed to drugs and drug use in their day to day lives, whether that be in the news, through social media, in movies or in their own social groups.

"As educators, we are responsible for providing students with accurate information and engaging them in conversations that ensure they know and understand the impacts of drugs and drug use.

"At St Mary's College, this program of education is supported by external experts in the field...

"Of course, we also need to ensure that when students make the decision to engage in the exchange of
drugs that we act in ways that send a clear message that this is unacceptable."

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