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Prom night ended after drugs found

By Billericay Gazette  |  Posted: July 30, 2011

VENUE: Billericay School pupils at a parent-organised party were told to leave Stock Brook Manor

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A YEAR 11 prom night at an exclusive country club was shut down early after pupils from a Billericay school were allegedly caught using drugs.

Up to six teenagers from The Billericay School were ejected from Stock Brook Manor Country Club, in Queen's Park Avenue, after staff reportedly found them taking drugs in the venue's toilets.

During the course of the party, held in the clubhouse on Monday July 11, visitors were told twice, over the DJ's microphone, that drugs had been found.

Following the second announcement, which took place at around 12.30am, the event, which had featured a buffet and a disco, was shut down and up to 200 partygoers were asked to leave.

The drugs that were found were thought to be cannabis and MDMA, the name that chemists give to the pure form of the drug Ecstasy.

Many pupils arrived for the dance in limousines, while one group came in a Rolls Royce and one turned up in a Bentley.

One youngster said that many people were disappointed they had to leave early.

He said: "It was a bit annoying because it started getting good at that time.

"A lot of the girls were really upset."

Another teenager recounted how the evening ended.

He said: "They turned the music off and one of the managers then said 'you all have to go'.

"It was a really good night up until that point.

"People were having a good time and it was due to finish in half an hour, so it didn't really ruin it, but it did sort of take the spirit out of the night.

"No-one wanted to go and people kicked up a fuss.

"People said why don't you just kick out the people who were doing [drugs]."

He added: "All I can remember is people talking about how [the bouncers] found stuff in the toilets."

The police did not attend the venue, although they were called to David's Walk in Billericay that same evening to reports of youths causing a nuisance.

A police spokesman said: "We had reports from people of nuisance youths in David's Walk on Monday, July 11.

"We attended but there was no trace of any youths making a nuisance in that street.

"We were not involved in any shutting down of a prom."

No arrests were made.

The dance was organised by a group of parents of Year 11 students at the school.

Head teacher Sue Hammond said that the school had played no part in organising the event and that no teachers or other members of staff attended.

She declined to comment further about events at the party.

Stock Brook Country Club offers four school ball packages, which, according to its website, start from £23 per person.

No one from Stock Brook Manor was available for comment.

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  • Nanniki  |  August 03 2011, 7:05PM

    It's unheard of these days to hear an advocate for a state school pointing the finger of blame at parents. The norm is for state schools to blame their staff, society, the weather, food additives, the fact that their young thugs can't afford the latest trainers etc but never the parents. These drug using youngsters are attending Billericay school, not everywhere else. Unfortunately, use of drugs in schools like Billericay is now commonplace. If you have faith in the government and OFSTED then more fool you ! Schools are fickle, had OFSTED given Billericay a lower rating, your faith in this body would have not been so steadfast. No wonder so many parents are opting for private schools, when the alternative is somewhere like Billericay. State schools today are frightening places. HiLight, what is your vested interest in defending Billericay school ? Are you a teacher, parent, governor, local busybody ?

  • HiLight  |  August 03 2011, 3:43PM

    Tajmahal, I'm well aware what occurred was illegal and a crime and have not indicated otherwise. Whoever found the drugs should have made it a police matter immediately, and not made a warning announcement over the pa system. No, it is not the responsibility of Billericay School staff to "take charge and police" events that are not instigated by them. This was an independent social gathering, a fact you seem to be struggling with. In every school there will be a drug problem by a 'minority' of pupils, and yes that is alarming. There will be a minority who underage smoke and drink alcohol regularly too and unless it happens on school premises or behaviour relating to above is observed by staff it will not be dealt with by the education system. Where are the parents of the smokers, drinkers and drug takers? You have made no mention of them. You seem blinded by blaming headteachers and staff of negating responsibility and no mention of home life, strange! Your comments regarding OFSTED and the government show you have no belief in their existence so I don't understand why should should be so upset The Billericay School gained 'Outstanding'. Just to clarify, it was gained on academic merit and many other areas within the school's responsibilities not out of school activities by pupils. Drug taking outside of school doesn't fall into OFSTED investigation although your comments indicate you believe they do. The first in line for this responsibility is parents. Why are you not attacking the fact that these kids are on drugs and it is not picked up within their family home? As a parent I will defend Billericay School but not the indefensible, the drug takers. You are very bitter towards the school, Headteacher and OFSTED, and it makes me wonder what your vested interest is!

  • tajmahal  |  August 03 2011, 1:20PM

    HIlight, you need to face up to facts and stop being in denial. A crime is a crime. It is illegal to possess, distribute and use narcotics. Especially disturbing is that these Billericay school boys are minors. Regardless of who organised the prom, those attending were Billericay school pupils and were representing the Billericay school. had Hammond been more pro-active, she would have taken charge and policied the event. However, she negated all responsibility. It's all too easy to pretend, as schools are very good at doing, that the problem is a 'minority' or pupils. Rubbish - the use of drugs by children at Billericay school and other local state comps like Anglo-European is alarming widespread. As for OFSTED, they just do the bidding of the government of the day. The ConDems are very keen to pretend that naff comps like Billericay are 'outstanding.' The use of drugs by pupils is hardly characteristic of 'outstanding' ! You are the idiot, and probably have a vested interest in defending the indefensible at Billericay school. Are you a teacher, PTA member, Hammond even ? Identify yourself.

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  • HiLight  |  August 03 2011, 11:05AM

    BKaleda and Nanniki read and absorb the facts! The Billericay Yr 11 prom was a social occasion organized by parents,not held on school premises and the staff had no involvement with the evening. It is no coincidence that the individuals who caused the problem were year 11 leavers. The majority of great students entering The Billericay School's excellent 6th Form will not miss them. The Billericay School were awarded 'Outstanding' by OFSTED for a very good reason. Under Mrs Hammond's leadership they have worked hard for this honour and you are truly stupid if you cannot see that a few idiots do not change this fact!

  • PoetPeter  |  August 01 2011, 9:14PM

    You are a truly mad, deranged, Daily Mail thoughtslave tajmahal, if that's what you really believe. Both cannabis and ecstasy are hundreds of times less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and a mature, properly regulated system would do far more to protect children than the ridiculous, immoral, failure that is prohibition. This is a failure of leadership, regulation and TRUTH! If we told our children the truth about all drugs, including alcohol and controlled supply rather than abandoning the trade to criminals we might have some hope. While we follow the knee-jerk idiocy of your sort of approach, I GUARANTEE the problem will persist.

  • QuentinaS  |  July 31 2011, 1:51PM

    Just a nudge- drugs weren't taken on any school sites, they were taken to Stock Brook Manor, and although I have only heard about Brentwood's case through this post, I'm sure their prom wasn't at school either. Thus, the staff were not present and they cannot be linked to it. It's in the hands of the law. I do agree, drugs are a growing concern in our society, but I think everything plays a part in the fight against them, not just education. Giving constant lectures and lessons about the dangers has little chance against the force of the music industry's laidback attitude. I'm pretty sure your crack-team would only cause taxpayers to moan that they're paying for a system that can easily be placed in a leaflet. I do like your "tip of the iceberg." Did you know that a similar expression was used when the German Stasi arrested east Germans who listened to the west German music? The sooner people realise "tips of icebergs" rarely contain the same substances as the core (Did you know that you can use ice to see the fluctuations of CO2 content in the atmosphere over years because of their different make up? It's amazing!), the closer we can get to actually- as you put it- sort out this drugs crisis. The drugs business is still a minority amongst youths in comparison to the millions of users worldwide. In effect your plan would only be affecting maybe 0.000002% of the whole consumption. I would very much like to know if you have children, and if they are the exact clones idea-wise, behaviour-wise and aspirations-wise to their friends. If so, I think that's a crisis in itself.

  • tajmahal  |  July 30 2011, 6:29PM

    Get a life Billy11 and QuentinaS, cannabis and ecstasy are ILLEGAl and they are illegal for a. reason - they destroy lives and kill ! Our society does not take drugs seriously enough. We are in a war against this poison and we should all actively oppose it, on the streets, schools etc The use of drugs by Billericay schoolchildren, and those at Anglo-European is terrible. The fact that children take narcotics onto school site shows just what little if any disciplien and respect exists in state schools today. 6 Billericay schoolboys is no doubt just the tip of the iceberg. Likewise those caught with cannabis at Anglo-European. Don't believe me, just read the articel on the drugs crisis in Brentwood (and Billericay) article in this week's Brentwood Recorder. We need an emergency strategy from government, which sends in a crack team of narcotics experts to help heads like Barrs and Hammond, who are evidently finding the current drugs crisis in their schools too hot to handle. What a mess our local comprehensives are in, this is very sad.

  • Billericay11  |  July 30 2011, 9:46AM

    To the previous comment....This just shows your intelligence, thinking that 6 students who clearly disgraced the school, would equate to 1500+ pupils that attend The Billericay School being underachievers. Billericay School produces some fine students that go on to top universities around the country!

  • QuentinaS  |  July 29 2011, 11:13PM

    Funny how, despite the article stating that it was up to 6 youths only, readers here automatically shame the school instead. Billericay School played no part in any of it- as clarified by Mrs S Hammond. We would not have this reaction if drugs were found on the street. In fact, we turn a blind eye whenever that's mentioned. Sometimes we have to conclude that no matter how much nannying we do, there'll always be those who don't listen- like it or not. Is anyone going to say that they've always obeyed whatever others have told them? There's devastation, and then there's just disobedience mixed with teenage rebellion. Please say we haven't become too ignorant to recall this sad but lingering realisation. The Billericay school proms, much like other schools', are organised the students, and so the only connection they have to the school is that the students go there. The school can only truly be blamed if there was an overwhelming lack of education. You've read it yourself- the majority were upset. How can LESS THAN 3% of participants really dictate the status of the school? If you were in the head's position, what would you do? Most likely exactly the same as what Hammond and, as far as I can tell, Barrs have done. They have isolated the culprits and tried not to tarnish the achievements of the other students- something which I hope you realise is their job- to support every child's education, and not let others affect their own learning experience. It's just a shame that UP TO 6 out of 200 have to become the headliners and spoil the hard work that 1800 pupils put into maintaining the Billericay School's good name.

  • PoetPeter  |  July 29 2011, 5:33PM

    Children should not be using cannabis. If it is harnful at all, it is in th still-developing brain. Unfortunately our ridiculous laws gift the multi-billion pound cannabis market to organised crime and abdicate any responsibility for control or harm reduction. Tax and regullate cannabis so it is sold to adults only through licensed outlets. Do something to protect opur children instead of this inane, hopeless "just say no" idiocy.