Schools drugs tests resisted

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Drug testing is set to become a regular feature in schools after the Education Laws Amendment Act was passed by parliament at the end of December.

Though pupils are targeted as customers by drug dealers and addiction and drug-related violence and crime are spiralling out of control, there has been resistance to the law.

Professionals in the substance abuse trade are some of the people less enthusiastic about the Act. They are concerned about infringing on the individuals' constitutional rights and the validity and integrity of testing procedures.

Daphne Bradbury, former head of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport, and an internationally recognised expert in drug testing policy, said: "Schools must source reliable and accurate quality testing equipment and develop and document a workable drug policy. Ethical and effective drug testing procedures must be read, understood and complied with by everyone involved in the testing programme."

This would bring about confidence and consistency and protect the fundamental rights of the pupils and the person conducting the test.

"It is also important that the school gets buy-in from all the roleplayers, and reassures them that the anti-drug programme should be regarded as an effort to promote a drug-free and safe environment for everyone who attends the school."