Pupils accused of abusing drugs at recreation club

The Marina da Gama Recreation Club has been used by local high school pupils to gather and smoke dagga.

Caretaker of the club, Winton Europa, has more than once been verbally abused by a large group of pupils, dressed in Muizenberg High School uniform, when he discovered them smoking dagga on the recreation club grounds. “I won’t repeat what they told me to do, when I asked them to leave and explained that they can’t smoke this on our property. They became very verbally aggressive and just refused to leave. I had no option but to call Deep Blue Security,” he said. Much to his horror, while the girls fled, the boys defiantly lobbed rocks at the Deep Blue car.

Mr Europa is extremely concerned for the safety of girls in the group and said he is certain that none of these pupils’ parents have any idea what they are doing. “They are also bringing people onto the property that do not live in the Marina, not to use the facilities or play tennis or swim, but to smoke dagga. This is a real prob-
lem and we appeal to their parents to become involved,” he said.

The False Bay Echo took the information to Muizenberg High School principal Leonie Jacobsen. “We are appalled as a school when learners bring our school and our ethos in disrepute. In our school rules and procedures we are clear under general conduct that learners are expected to be considerate and co-operative, to keep their academic work up to date and to fulfil their obligations related to extramural activities. Their behaviour in public should uphold the principles of the school,” she said.

“These principles are value-based and refer to a sound work ethic and a healthy and safe environment and lifestyle. Further core values that we often reiterate are dignity, respect and a culture of tolerance and peace.”

Ms Jacobsen said that failure to observe any of the above mentioned will be taken up with the pupils concerned and stern action will be taken in the case of conduct which brings the school’s name in disre-
pute.

Ms Jacobsen has asked for the pupils to be identified so that the matter can be dealt with in-depth. “In terms of substance abuse I would like to make reference to the fact that the school has a zero-tolerance attitude towards the use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs. The use of such substances in public places or on public transport is strictly forbidden. This also applies when learners are not in uniform but are in groups where they may be identified as learners from our school,” she said.

Ms Jacobsen said the moment the individuals have been identified the parents of these offenders will be informed of their transgressions and appropriate action will be taken in the light of the offence and the pupil’s record. “Such action could include an interview with the parents, counselling and/ or a governing body disciplinary hearing,” she said.

She added that truancy and being in possession of or using illegal substances are against the law (Safe Schools’ Act 1997 (Act 12 of 1997) and is seen as serious offences according to the act. “We are pro-active and preventative in our approach dealing with the social ills and we have a very successful wellness centre at the school, teaching the learners about life choices,” Ms Jacobsen said.

“My counsellor works not only with the children at risk but we often counsel and work with our families. We have strong links with the Living Hope Centre which helps and facilitates the anti-drug drives at the school. We also work closely with the neighbourhood watch organisation as well as with security agencies, such as SAPS, Deep Blue, ADT, and Mountain Men to keep our learners and neigbourhood safe.”

Ms Jacobsen said that she is encouraged by Mr Europa’s concern. “I also acknowledge we do not have all the answers. We are always grateful when we are made aware of any incidences and behaviour patterns that we need to focus on or deal with. The way forward certainly will be to arrange a meeting and see if we can identify the individuals and to work on a collaborative approach to solve the issue. In this case it truly takes a village to raise a child,” she said.

Ms Jacobsen said she would appreciate being invited to any forum where issues are raised so that the school can give input or be made aware of issues pertaining to their pupils. “I would like to thank the community around our school for their continuous support and efforts to help our young people to rise to their full potential and to become citizens of upstanding norms and values.”