save our kids from drug dens

TEACHER unions in KwaZulu-Natal have appealed to education MEC Senzo Mchunu to clamp down on shebeens and drug nests operating around schools.

TEACHER unions in KwaZulu-Natal have appealed to education MEC Senzo Mchunu to clamp down on shebeens and drug nests operating around schools.

The unions say they are concerned about the effect drugs are having on schools, especially schools in townships.

The unions say it is common practice for a shebeen or a drug merchant to operate in close proximity to schools.

They say that while the department of education does not have control over social trends, a shebeen or a merchant operating near the school has a negative effect on teaching and learning.

Allen Thompson of the National Teachers' Union says the department should develop plans to deal with the problem of shebeens and druglords operating near schools.

He said in most cases the teachers are often terrified to report such things to the police because they are afraid of being victimised by the community.

Though most schools have tuck shops, this has not worked because pupils always find reasons to leave school premises.

"In all cases drugs and alcohol are sold on the schools' doorstep,' Thompson said.

"The problem won't go away if the community and schools remain terrified to report people who sell drugs and alcohol to children."

Anthony Pierce of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa said the schools' drug-free campaign was "not a oneman show" and the department will need the assistance of the safety and security MEC, parents and the community.

"The community needs to claim back ownership of schools and be actively involved in reporting the druglords," he said.

Pierce said that in most cases the police were aware of the houses where drugs were sold, and the department should make sure the police make arrests.

Meanwhile, the parents at the troubled Makhumbuza High School, where five teachers have been accused of operating a brothel in exchange for money and alcohol, said pupils in search of alcohol and drugs have made a hole under the security fence through which they sneak out unnoticed by the security guard.

Five teachers implicated in the scandal have since been suspended.

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