Schools across Epping Forest claim they are working hard towards combating the problem of nitrous oxide misuse among teenagers.
Police and neighbourhood watch groups in the district have reported finding used nitrous oxide canisters in car parks, parks and other public areas in Epping, North Weald, Loughton and Waltham Abbey.
Groups of teenagers are thought to be inhaling the gas, also known as ‘laughing gas’, from balloons having bought the canisters online.
Although no reports of nitrous oxide misuse have been made within school grounds, teachers and school staff are keen to take action on the issue.
Paul Banks, head Roding Valley High School in Alderton Hill, Loughton, is aware of the problem and has already alerted parents to be vigilant.
He said: “I have raised the issue in a newsletter I circulate to parents every week and I will do so again this week.
“It is not an issue we face in school but I am keen to support parents, neighbourhood watch and police in the community to tackle the issue.
“We will have a speaker coming in July to talk to the students specifically about the dangers of nitrous oxide.”
Head teacher of St John’s C of E School in Bury Lane, Epping, George Yersoimou, is also keen to address the issue but does not want to promote the misuse to pupils.
He said: “I will circulate the information to my staff but I wouldn’t want to advertise the issue in an assembly unless we had a specific incident relating to the school.
“Sometimes discussing an issue like this can act as publicity for it and give children the idea to go out and do it.
The school also invite specialist speakers to come into the school and discuss various topics including the misuse of drugs as part of the students Personal Social Health Education curriculum.