Schools join in scheme to test for drugs

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

It's official. Kwazulu-Natal schools will join others from around the country in implementing random search and seizure and drug testing programmes on their premises next year.

This emerged at a one-day Schools' Safety Summit held at the Northdale FET College in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Already teachers and principals from selected schools around the country are undergoing training on how to identify the symptoms of drug abuse.

The drug testing process is now a legal prerequisite and has already been gazetted by Education Minister Naledi Pandor.

Schools in Western Cape are already using drug testing devices.

KwaZulu-Natal's programme will only start when principals and teachers have attended workshops on how to use the device and identify signs and symptoms of drug use.

According to Shaheed Shaik, head of Stonefountain College in Cape Town, where a drug testing policy was first introduced at the beginning of the year, the testing device will cost only R60.

"Teachers will be taught how to use the device which tests urine to detect drug use.

"In 2006, 86percent of those who had tested positive on their first test, tested negative at their subsequent testing," Shaik said.

He said punishment for pupils who tested positive for a third time was being sent home to study alone for a certain period.

At the time of going to press, the summit had not concluded the programme of action to address other safety concerns at schools.