News clipping – News 24.com – 10 March 2011

Dagga, knives found at school

Knives, cigarettes and dagga were some of the items found during a raid at a Pietermaritzburg school on Thursday.
“We are declaring war on drugs, carrying of weapons, pregnancy and any other impediment in the teaching and learning of our children,” said Education MEC Senzo Mchunu.

He was addressing reporters after knives, cigarettes and dagga were found at Copesville Secondary School on Thursday.

A rise in drug use and other substance abuse has prompted the KwaZulu-Natal education department to embark on an ambitious drug-busting campaign which was launched in Pietermaritzburg.

The campaign saw 300 police officers raiding Copesville Secondary School with pupils undergoing searches for drugs and weapons.

Mchunu said recent studies had shown that drug abuse was rife in Pietermaritzburg and the department had decided to kick-start the campaign in the KwaZulu-Natal capital.

According to the teachers at Copesville, the use of drugs had become a worrying factor and unruly pupils had found new ways of hiding drugs, including using the classroom ceilings.
“We welcome this move by the department and it would be good if this would be a regular feature so that drug users and pushers realise that schools are not a haven for such activity,” said principal Themba Xulu.

Mchunu also cautioned pupils, especially girls, against engaging in sexual activities, saying this would have a negative impact on their future.
“A relationship with sugar daddies is a very bad thing, you must stay away from somebody who is older than you because you run a risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and a delay in your future and you do not need that,” Mchunu told pupils.

He said pregnancy at schools was an ongoing concern for the department.

Mchunu also advised the display of posters containing police numbers in all schools. This, he said, would enable teachers to call the police if any drugs were found at the school