Pupil suspended and parents drawn in to 'space cake' scare
Matrics from two Gauteng schools in hospital after buying drug-laced cake
The principal of Randfontein High School, west of Johannesburg, has suspended a pupil for selling “space cakes” to his fellow matrics, who ate them, got sick and had to be hospitalised.
Space cakes are edible treats containing cannabis or other dangerous substances.
In a report to the Gauteng education department seen by TimesLIVE, principal Amy Appelcryn said the case first become known when a grade 12 learner entered the school office complaining that he did not feel well. He said he had eaten two space cakes he had bought from another pupil.
“Shortly after that he started losing consciousness. The school contacted an ambulance and took him to hospital,” Appelcryn reported.
The school’s head of discipline began investigating and found other grade 12s were also starting to feel ill.
The father of the boy who sold the space cakes was contacted and came to the school.
During this time other pupils began to fall unconscious and were rushed to hospital and their parents were notified.
“We ended up with five learners sick at Lenmed Hospital, where they are kept for observation and two learners at Robinson Hospital, one learner at Leratong Hospital and two learners were sent home. The first learner who collapsed is still in a serious condition and in ICU,” she said.
The learner alleged to have sold the cakes was suspended “as he endangered the lives of the learners”. A disciplinary hearing would follow.
She added that the school had planned to meet with parents of the affected learners to discuss further steps and their rights.
A meeting would also be held with all grade 12s to discuss the incident and the choices they make. She said it have been determined that all the learners were aware of what they were eating and that it was in violation of the school’s code of conduct.
We urge learners to refrain from purchasing or consuming unknown substances that put their health and lives at riskEducation MEC Panyaza Lesufi
She said the possibility that there were more pupils that had consumed the space cakes was under investigation.
This incident has brought the issue of space cakes into sharp focus. Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Sunday issued an alert in which he claimed to be “concerned with the ongoing trend of learners consuming space cakes”.
Lesufi said apart from the incident that took place at Randfontein High on Thursday, children from Mamellong Secondary School in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, were hospitalised on Saturday.
He said four grade 12 learners allegedly bought space cakes on their way to classes on Saturday morning. All four fell ill and were hospitalised.
Lesufi said all the pupils were still in hospital and their conditions were being closely monitored before they could be safely returned to their families. He said his department was alarmed by the ongoing tendency of teenagers to try space cakes.
“We urge learners to refrain from purchasing or consuming unknown substances that put their health and lives at risk,” he said.
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