Namibia: Keetmans Pupils Tested for Drugs

Three Grade 7 boys at Krönlein Primary School at Keetmanshoop were on Friday tested for drugs, after one of them was caught with dagga on the schoolgrounds.

A urine test was conducted on the pupils at the local state hospital.

//Kharas education director /Awebahe //Hoëseb confirmed the matter yesterday.

He said the drug tests stem from the discovery of a small plastic bag containing dagga in one of the three boys' school bag.

"The school management and the implicated boys' parents agreed on the drug test," he explained, adding that the drug test results are expected within 14 days. //Hoëseb said the decision to subject the boys to a drug test was taken after consultation with the police.

From the three boys, two were part of a group of six who had earlier been suspended for a week for allegedly having smoked dagga on the schoolgrounds, the education director noted.

The Namibian recently reported that six Grade 7 boys at the said school had been suspended after they were allegedly caught smoking dagga on the school premises.

//Hoëseb said all boys implicated in the dagga scandals at the school are receiving counselling on the dangers of dug abuse. The school board was also set to meet last night to decide the fate of the boys implicated in dagga-related offences.

"The school board will determine the way forward," he stated, adding that it can recommend either the suspension or expulsion of the implicated pupils. He was quick to note that only the executive director of education could expel a pupil from a school.

According to //Hoeseb, the school's life skills teachers are doing their best to warn pupils about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

There is, however, a need for parents and the community at large to explore ways to keep pupils away from drugs and alcohol, he added.

The education ministry's executive director, Sanet Steenkamp, yesterday told The Namibian that the police presence and such searches at schools are conducted in light of the alleged drug abuse.

"The primary aim is to eliminate items prohibited on schoolgrounds, and ensure the safety of all pupils, teachers, institutional staff and parents/guardians".

"In terms of general inspections, investigations and information as stipulated under Section 64 (1) (Education Act), all schools, classes, hostels and programmes are subject to inspection and investigation to ascertain whether the provisions of this act are being complied with," stressed Steenkamp.

She said the ministry has also partnered with the police for a #KeepMeSafeSchool campaign, which is aimed at addressing violence against children.

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