Leeds School Let Kids Smoke In The Playground
CAN it true that teachers at Elmete Central School in Roundhay, Leeds, has been, as the Sun reports, “allowing 11-year-olds to smoke – with teachers dishing out fags at break times. Pupils’ cigarettes would be confiscated at the start of the day but returned by staff at break times”?
What do we know about the school? Its website tells us:
Elmete has a well-established specialist of providing Inclusive Specialist Education at two of our centres, in Roundhay and Meanwood….
All staff provide a broad and balanced curriculum which will develop the skills, concepts and knowledge necessary for future learning. All staff, including support staff who work to remove barriers to learning and support the pastoral needs of learners…
Learners enter school at different stages of social and emotional development. All Learners learn in different ways and progress at different rates. In the course of learning, learners develop their skills through a variety of processes. These include:
Paul Brennan, deputy director for Leeds children’s services, responds to the ciggie story:
“We take this issue very seriously and as soon as it was brought to our attention, we spoke to the school and issued an instruction that it must stop immediately. We are confident this practice has now ceased.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of UK anti-smoking health charity ASH, is predictable upset:
“It is illegal to sell tobacco to young people under the age of 18 precisely because tobacco is so hazardous to health and wellbeing. It is totally inappropriate and unethical to allow children to smoke in a school environment.”
What the Sun does not report is why the fags are “dished out” at break times. But the BBC does:
It is understood cigarettes were confiscated at the start of the day but returned at break times in an attempt to stop pupils playing truant.
The school is not providing ciggies. It is allowing the students to use the ones they might well have bought or borrowed from mum and dad.
The kids can smoke in the playground rather than having to go somewhere else to light up. The truly horrific part of this is that no teachers could join them in a smoke…
Photo: A young Vietnamese boy smokes a cigarette, apparently his first American-style filter cigarette, under the watchful eye of a U.S. soldier of the 1st Air Cavalry Division in a mountain village of the central region of South Vietnam during Operation Irving in mid-October 1966. The boy asked the soldier for the cigarette, and upon receiving it, rolled it over and over in his fingers before lighting it. Then his smile grew with each puff.