A SECONDARY school in the Scottish Highlands has excluded pupils 14 times in 12 months due to drug use.
Culloden Academy near Inverness accounted for two-thirds of all school exclusions in the region for substance misuse in the 2014-15 academic year.
New data, obtained by a local newspaper, shows that pupils were removed from high schools in the Highlands 80 times due to drugs in the past five years.
Close to two-thirds of schools in the Highland region excluded youngsters for substance misuse in the same period.
Data released by Freedom of Information Act revealed that one school, Inverness Royal Academy, excluded pupils in four out of five of the past five years in connection with “substance misuse – not alcohol.”
Four schools recorded drug-related exclusions in three of the past five years, and another recorded exclusions in two of the past five.
Local politicians have called the statistics “deeply worrying”.
Douglas Ross, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands said: “It is deeply worrying when any pupil is excluded for drug use.
“Clearly the schools have taken a strong stance and hopefully that sends out a strong message to the pupils involved and any others that would consider reckless behaviour.”
Parent council chairwoman for Culloden Academy Liz Green added: “I can’t comment on individual cases. It has been a very good school for my children, that’s all I know.”
In total, 18 of the 29 schools in the Highland region excluded children for drugs.
Every school in the Highland capital of Inverness, excluding Inverness High School, took action over substance misuse.
Bill Alexander, director of care and learning for the Highland Council said: “The council works very closely with partners to educate chidlren about the dangers of substance misuse abd the importance of making the right choices.
“There are effective interventions to prevent and reduce substance misuse and we have very successful substance misuse services.
“The welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility and early intervention is extremely important.
“I would urge anyone who has any information or concerns about substance misuse to report this to the police or bring it to the attention of a teacher.”