Police search for drugs at Cape school

Cape Town – At least four pupils from a Wynberg high school have been expelled and four others have disciplinary hearings pending for either using or dealing in drugs.

The situation is so serious that random search-and-seizure operations have been conducted by the police at Wittebome High School throughout the year.

“These form part of our broader campaign to improve safety in our schools,” Education Minister Debbie Schäfer’s spokesperson Jessica Shelver said.

The Western Cape Education Department confirmed that two pupils attended disciplinary hearings last month and the disciplinary committee had recommended expulsion in both cases.

Shelver said four pupils from Wittebome High had been expelled this year, one of whom was in matric. There were four cases pending and one also involved a matriculant.

She could not give further details about the cases because the minister was the final appeal authority, but said the department’s Safe Schools directorate had been working with Wittebome High after the principal reported that he suspected a group of pupils were using and dealing in drugs.

Pupils who tested positive for drugs had been referred for counselling.

According to Shelver, last year the department received 96 applications for expulsion from schools in the Western Cape for drug possession and/or use, and 38 were expelled.”

It had also received 48 applications for expulsion in the same year for dealing and/or distribution of drugs at schools. Of these, 36 were expelled. The vast majority of cases were for provision of dagga to other pupils.

In all cases, irrespective of the decision by the head of department, pupils involved with drugs were referred to the district-based support services for additional therapeutic support, and many were also referred to external rehabilitation programmes.

The provincial Education Department has encouraged schools to conduct their own search-and-seizure operations should they reasonably suspect any pupils of carrying any dangerous weapons.

It urged parents to use the department’s hotline at 0800 45 46 47 for counselling and assistance.

Wittebome High’s principal could not be reached for comment.

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