The West

A South West school is at the centre of a drug scandal after two senior figures - including its former drug awareness teacher - were convicted of drug offences.

Northcliffe District High School teacher Adrian Granger, who previously taught drug awareness to students as part of his job as a health and physical education teacher, appeared in Manjimup Magistrate's Court on August 2 charged with possession of a smoking utensil, where he was given a spent conviction.

And the chairman of the school council, Paul Owens, appeared on August 16 when he was fined $400 for possession of cannabis and $300 for possession of cannabis seeds.

The Education Department yesterday stood down Mr Granger and his wife, Northcliffe principal Kathleen Granger, pending the outcome of its own investigation into allegations of a drug culture at the school, 360km south of Perth.

The department yesterday also told Mr Owens that his position was "untenable" in light of his conviction.

Mr Owens, who is also acting vice-president of peak P&C body the WA Council of State School Organisations, declined to comment.

The department said it first became aware of rumours about a drug culture at Northcliffe DHS and the behaviour of some staff a year ago.

The rumours were raised with Ms Granger, who was directed to publish a policy for staff on appropriate conduct, specifically on the use of drugs. Police were alerted and the department's standards and integrity unit notified.

The department said it learnt of the charges and convictions only two weeks ago, though it was not notified by the school.

The decision to stand aside two staff was prompted by further concerns that came to light only yesterday.

Education Department director-general Sharyn O'Neill said she was deeply concerned at the culture that appeared to have developed at the school.

"Additional concerns have now arisen which I believe compromise the reputation of the school and I do not want to see any more disruption to student learning," she said.

"I expect the highest standard of behaviour from teachers at all times, both in and outside school."

A local parent said there was a long-term problem with drug use in the town and among school staff.

"It makes it pretty blurry for kids to know what's right and wrong in their teenage years," the parent said.

The West Australian

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