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Drug charge over summer, suspended, prospects?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Jiimmii, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Jiimmii

    Jiimmii New commenter

    I've been teaching for two years at the same school I had a student placement.

    Over the summer I received a caution for class A possession.

    Story: On the way into a festival with my girlfriend our car was stopped by the police who asked if we had any drugs in the car. We said yes, I was placed under arrest and given the caution, then let out two hours later. I had 4 ecstasy pills for personal use.

    I texted an assistant head who told my head, who I then met during the last week of august at school. My room was ready for the chn to arrive. She suspended me with pay pending an investigation, which, she let me know, will take at least three months. My union rep lambasted me for telling my head in the first place, I'm pretty sure it's an offence to not declare something like that but the union rep seems old school. He's spoken with my head since I was suspended and told me the head seems like she knows how the investigation will go and that she doesn't want me back at all. The HR rep for the borough is back this week when the investigation will proceed. I'm concerned that she will choose to fire me for gross misconduct immediately rather than drawing out an investigation. During our meeting last week she described the whole, long process. Since then and upon further discussion with the union rep, it seems like she would rather I disappear quickly.

    I'm going to start job hunting today (first day of school for most) and declaring it on the way in but I wonder what my prospects are? I've spoken with some agencies who told me they have helped people with my exact charge get supply work and that it depends on the head's discretion. I'm worried about signing up with them however as when I start supplying I'll have to resign from my current position (as I can't have two employers). Just to be clear I'm not comfortable being on paid leave at all, I long to be in a class working. But I also need financial protection and paid leave provides that, for a while.

    I'm hoping I can find a sympathetic, progressive head to consider my mitigating circumstances, which are these:
    - It happened in the summer holidays
    - It was for specific use at a festival
    - It happened in Wales (I work in London)
    - It was only myself and my girlfriend, not a big group of 'lads'
    - It was my first offence, with the police and with the school
    - It was a small amount of drugs, for personal use, which I admitted on asking
    - I was completely honest with my head, letting them know before they found out through the next DBS check came around
    - I've just been approved on a mortgage with that same girlfriend and we're keen to progress our lives in as grown-up was as we can, awful timing for this to happen!

    I've read articles saying offences in your youth shouldn't affect a career in teaching, but none that explain what to do if it happens during a career. Does anyone else have experience of how an offence has impacted your career prospects? Has anyone employed anyone who has a similar situation to mine?

    Thanks for reading, hope you all have amazing Septembers.


    TLDR: Been teaching two years, police caution for class a possession over summer hols, now suspended and looking for work elsewhere, can i get it?!
     
    emerald52 likes this.
  2. cocothedog

    cocothedog New commenter

    I think you are too honest for your own good. School management will not take a chance because if any thing goes wrong it will impact on them. My advice is to retrain away from the class room.
     
    Mrsmumbles, WJClarkson and wanet like this.
  3. WJClarkson

    WJClarkson Occasional commenter

    "It happened in the summer holidays"
    I can't really see why that's relevant - you still did it. But it is better doing it then as opposed to doing it during school, I guess.

    "It was for specific use at a festival"
    See above.

    "It happened in Wales (I work in London)"
    I don't think that makes a difference. I wouldn't consider it a mitigating factor.

    "It was only myself and my girlfriend, not a big group of 'lads'"
    Even if you were with the 'lads', I doubt it would make a difference.

    "It was my first offence, with the police and with the school"
    This might work in your favour, and will probably be taken into consideration.

    "It was a small amount of drugs, for personal use, which I admitted on asking"
    This might be a mitigating circumstance from the point of view of the police, but I doubt the school will see it that way.

    "I was completely honest with my head, letting them know before they found out through the next DBS check came around"
    It's good that you were honest about it, but again, the school will be more concerned about the fact you had drugs in your possession.

    "I've just been approved on a mortgage with that same girlfriend and we're keen to progress our lives in as grown-up was as we can, awful timing for this to happen!"
    It's a bit late now for regrets, it's something you should have thought about before you decided to purchase the drugs. I also imagine that the HT may suspect this is not the first time you have used and possessed drugs, so they may even question whether you've ever brought them onto the school premises, but I suspect they won't be able to take that forward anyway unless they can prove it. From my personal point of view, it looks as if you are sorry you got caught, not sorry for what you did. However, I wish you the best in resolving this problem :)
     
    VeronicAmb, joLT, emerald52 and 11 others like this.
  4. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Tend to agree with above. Would start considering a different career.
     
  5. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Silly boy a) for taking E, b) for telling a policeman you had some and c) for telling your school.

    Yep. Your teaching career is over. You now have a 20Kg weight around your neck for life. Who wants a druggie (who got caught) as a role model in their school? Schools will rightly not risk employing you as there is plenty of evidence to suggest you have an increased chance of a mental illness, psychotic tendencies, depression or paranoia and could present a danger to children e.g.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2002/jan/15/mentalhealth.drugsandalcohol

    I praise D Lord that all those acid tabs I dropped, speed I snorted and dope I smoked whilst in my Uni years back in the 90s never got me a record and has kept me sane all my life.

    Best to come to terms with it quickly and move on to something else. How about Politics? Keith Vaz may be vacating a job soon.
     
    Mrsmumbles and ssaleh21 like this.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

  7. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    The basic problem, regardless of all the rights and wrongs of the case, is that you will and forever have a Police Caution on your DBS file.

    Since every HT is required by law to check this then every time you go for a job this is effectively going to be waved in your face. Assuming you get as far as an interview, what are you going to say? If you try and hide it then as soon as the DBS comes through you will be fired for lying. You did this whilst you were employed as a teacher and therefore it is covered by the Professional Standards.

    To understand the sort of attitudes that will confront you, I used to work for a Local Authority whose Director of Education was in the habit of sending out a nasty letter to any teacher who got so much as a speeding ticket. How did he know? Because unlike almost any other job, any conviction of a serving teacher is reported to the DFE (or whatever it calls itself these days) who pass the information onto the LEA even if no other action is taken. It has always been that way.

    You need to take stock, ask the union who you have already involved for advice and start thinking about a plan B. Even if you survive at this school you can have no expectation that other schools will employ you. You will be effectively trapped at the mercy of this HT.

    I am very sorry to have to be writing this post, it is very sad, but there is a brutal reality which you are going to need to confront.

    I wish you all the best.
     
  8. coppull

    coppull New commenter

    Your first port call would have been your Union, when you were arrested. Clearly if you are not in a Union they will not let join to give help and advice on this matter
     
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I fear you will be sacked.

    Supply seems your only current option if you wish to remain in teaching.

    But I can't say I'm optimistic. Those who advise you to look elsewhere for employment are probably barking up the right tree.
     
  10. Jiimmii

    Jiimmii New commenter

    Thanks for your advice everyone, it's certainly bleak and I understand that gaining another position could be an impossibility. I don't have a plan B unfortunately so for now I'm going to visit some schools and be open about it, making as good an impression as possible then asking the person showing me around (usually a dep head) if it's worth applying. I've got time on my hands and an income so I may as well.

    Just to address some of the points mentioned by you guys:
    - The union advice line recommended speaking to my head about it, once I spoke with the head and the union referred the case to a rep, who told me I should have spoked with them (the rep) first as they would have recommended not telling the school (obviously useless advice at that point)..!
    - I told the police I was a teacher and they said they would list me as unemployed so they wouldn't have to tell my employer, I think the only way my school could have found out was by doing another DBS check. I also would have been trapped at that school as applying to others would have exposed the caution
    - The Guardian article mentions dealing class a drugs would get you weeded out, it's not clear about possession
    - I'm not interested in hiding it or lying to anyone
    - My union rep has asked how i would feel about taking 3 months wages and resigning right now to make the whole investigation go away, to get out of my school's hair. I might consider taking the payout and using it to help fund future training away from he classroom. The head has been slow about sending me the initial letter re: suspension/investigation as she is waiting for the LA HR rep to get back fro holiday. I suspect They will try to find a way to fire me immediately if they are able, to save cash and make the investigation go away their way!

    If anyone else has any perspectives I would like to hear them. I'll keep you posted regardless for anyone who gets into this situation in the future. I couldn't find any forum posts from anyone in my position.
     
    thekillers likes this.
  11. Jiimmii

    Jiimmii New commenter

    How come supply is an option but not full-time?
     
  12. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    This is a joke, right? There aren't any mitigating circumstances.

    The drug laws in this country are a mess but they are the law. You were caught in possession of Class A drugs which you knew were illegal and intended to consume as part of your enjoyment of the festival. You chose to do this freely and in full knowledge that ecstasy is illegal and that you were committing a crime. Presumably you were also aware of the Professional Standards you have to meet and maintain in order to be a teacher.

    Whatever the consequence here, don't fool yourself into think you've been unfairly treated or that you're the victim.
     
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Supply? They may be less fussy. I'm not going to get moral on you. I've taken loads of things. Even if it was the early 70s. But I never got caught.

    What @Flere-Imsaho says.

    If an HT can find someone who's got a clean record (and they can) then they'll give the job to that person.

    You could try adult education. You could try PRUs. But, if you're going to be this open and honest, you're a disaster waiting to happen. If parents or students find out you're just asking to be shot down in flames.
     
  14. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I'm a former teacher who now works in careers advice and substance misuse.

    I'm afraid I think you need to prepare for a new career away from teaching.
     
  15. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I am sorry about all of this mate. I am not going to be all moralistic over this, or patronise you. You were daft though, and a bit blasé. You can't do things like that as a teacher, whether you see drugs legislation as right or wrong ( and broadly I see possession as something that shouldn't be criminalised) these things have to be left at the door when becoming a teacher.

    It may be a blessing. The fact you sound fairly unapologetic makes me question whether teaching and you are a good fit. I don't think there are any mitigating factors either. What you mention is totally irrelevant really. If it was cannabis then you *may* have had a chance, ditto if it was historic when you were in your teens or something. Class A though? No way. You are going to have to move on. I would let the investigation play out unless they offer to pay you off. Forget other schools, forget supply, start to look at other industries. Really ones with no dbs checks.

    Good luck
     
  16. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    btw, was it only you cautioned. You use the term 'we' admitted rather than I?
     
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I would not consider this serious enough to be a sacking offence. However, many other would, and there is a danger that you could even be barred from teaching. See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...on_of_Teachers_advice_updated_26_Jan_2016.pdf , which mentions possession (later on) abuse of class A drugs. Whatever your union says, I think it is better in the longer term that you owned up to it rather than wait for it to show up on your next DBS check or by some other route. It probably would have come out at some point. Honesty could be a mitigating factor. I hope tht this and the fact that the police consided it minor enough for a caution allows you to carry on.
     
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

  19. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    I never realised E was a class A drug, may be a B or even C. That said I don't think you stand a cat in hell's chance of keeping or getting another teaching or public sector job, regardless of the category or for that matter any job which involves safety. Working in the transport industry for example, even if office based, would also prohibit you or lose you a job. You've also seriously limited your travel and holiday options.

    There is a misnomer if ever I saw one. Don't mean to be so judgey but you are going to pay a very high price for a very immature mistake. I hope you find something you are more suited for and that this can be quickly put behind you.
     
  20. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    You were lucky to just get a caution. Possession of a class A drug carries an unlimited fine and up to 7 years in prison. Talk to your Union and look at an exit strategy that will have the least amount of impact.
     
    emerald52 and DYNAMO67 like this.

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