Eight Cayman Prep and High School students in Years 8 to 11 have been suspended for allegedly using ganja at a party on Seven Mile Public Beach last weekend.
Although there is no indication the children brought any ganja onto the school’s Walker’s Road campus, the school’s drug policy mandates suspension for drug use regardless of where it takes place.
Cayman Prep Principal Jean Bahadur said Thursday the students will each be suspended for three to five days and be subject to random drug tests for the rest of their time at Cayman Prep.
The school was contacted Monday by a person who recognised the Cayman Prep students among a larger group of teenagers gathered at Seven Mile Public Beach last Friday evening.
All eight students made admissions to the school, saying the ganja had been bought from an adult on the beach.
The school contacted the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service earlier this week, but police will not be taking action against the students, it has been confirmed.
‘It is very important to recognise that these students acknowledge they have made an unwise decision,’ said Mrs. Bahadur.
It was not only Cayman Prep students at the beach party. The principal understands the larger group of teenagers was from a variety of high schools on Grand Cayman.
Mrs. Bahadur said it is clear ganja is too widely available to the youth of Cayman.
‘From what I am told it is very easily available on Walkers Road behind Burger King, behind the cinema and on Seven Mile Public Beach.
‘Parents need to ask themselves; do you know where your children are?’
Officers from the RCIPS’ Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programme are now working with the school and students to address the issue.
‘Obviously in this case we don’t have any evidence or any seizure of drugs,’ explained RCIPS Spokesperson Deborah Denis. ‘However, we always welcome information that relates to people that may be involved in drugs.
‘Especially with these being youngsters, it gives us the opportunity to step in early and try to assist them through the DARE programme and through other counselling that we may be able to facilitate or recommend.’
Neighbourhood police are responsible for administering the DARE initiative to primary schools throughout all the Cayman Islands.
The programme educates children about the dangers of alcohol and drugs and seeks to give children practical skills to help them avoid drugs.
‘It’s all about developing the skills needed to resist the temptation of drugs and alcohol,’ Ms Dennis explained. ‘It’s not just about saying drugs are bad. It’s about giving them the skills to be able to deal with resisting drugs and alcohol if they are offered it.’
To highlight how seriously Cayman Prep takes drug use, the school will devote an entire day to drug awareness next Friday. Representatives of the National Drug Council and the RCIPS will join counsellors and reformed drug users to discuss the dangers of substance abuse. Parents will also be invited to the event.