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NO-ONE wants to see drugs in our schools. But, like everything, there are degrees of seriousness.

The law has recognised that cannabis, though potentially harmful and therefore still illegal, is not in the same category as heroin or cocaine.

Small wonder, then, that there is controversy over a head-teacher's decision to expel two GCSE pupils from one of Birmingham's best schools after they were caught with a joint.

The head is to be applauded for taking a tough stance against drugs, but in this case seems to have over-reacted.

Such an uncompromising penalty will threaten the education - and future prospects - of these foolish youngsters.

And, in a world in which cannabis is routinely smoked in public and celebrities such as Peter Doherty escape serious punishment for far more serious drugs offences, maybe their stupidity was understandable.

There are measures short of expulsion that would have sufficed in this case.

LET the sound of the prison door slamming shut on brothel-keeper Carl Prichatt act as a warning to those who seek to make money from this trade.

Prichatt, sentenced to two years, was the "driving force" behind Bearwood's Cuddles massage parlour, where 19 women from 10 countries were found to be working as prostitutes.

Lesser sentences were handed out to two other people who were involved in the money-spinning enterprise.

This newspaper has recently highlighted the vice trade in Birmingham, sparking a debate about whether prostitution should be legalised and properly controlled.

But currently brothels are unregulated and often staffed by vulnerable women who receive no adequate protection. They blight the neighbourhoods in which they operate.

Until the law changes, it must continue to act decisively against those who line their pockets in this wretched business.

At the heart of your community

The Birmingham Mail has served the city and surrounding towns as a local daily newspaper since 1870 and is independent of any political party.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 31, 2006
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