Drug Policy

In formulating this agreement that sets out the drug policy for Livingstone High School, we take cognisance of the following:

a. that, increasingly, our children face the danger of drug and substance abuse;

b. that drug abuse is mainly due to drug dealers targeting schools as easy markets and are using children as pushers;

c. that drug/substance experimentation and later abuse are often a consequence of peer pressure;

d. that such abuse damages a user’s physical, mental, emotional and psychological well-being;

e. that drug/alcohol/substance addiction is a medical problem that requires the support and treatment of a structured programme;

f. that such abuse invariably results in anti-social behaviour which could threaten the safety of the individual as well as other members of the school community;

g. that it is the moral duty of the school to support and assist any of its children who has become a victim of drug/substance abuse, on condition that such support does not jeopardise the safety or infringe on the rights of other members of the school community.

For the purposes of this policy, we accept the definitions set out by the Minister of Education in Government Gazette No 23490.

Procedure

The following procedure will be carried out if any child is found in possession of or using, or is suspected of possessing or using, any of the substances listed above. This applies to whether the child is on the school property, and/or in school uniform, or at any school event (such as a subject/learning area excursion; class camp; or school function).

a. An initial investigation (fact finding mission) will be conducted by senior staff members (or any other staff member delegated by the Principal) to ascertain the nature and extent of the drug/substance problem only. This could involve taking verbal statements from any other learners who have either witnessed or are implicated as well.

b. Where the initial investigation suggests that there could have been the possession or use of drugs or substances, the parents of the implicated learner(s) are informed as soon as possible thereafter.

c. The school reserves the rights to search a learner it reasonably suspects of possessing drugs/substances provided that the search is conducted in the presence of a peer of the suspected learner’s choice and an adult of the same gender. No body cavity or strip searches are permitted. Alternatively, the Principal may request that a police officer do the search.

d. Where there is the suspicion that the learner(s) may still be under the influence of the drug/substance, parents will be contacted to take the learner(s) for a drug test that same day. The cost of the test will be borne by the family.

e. The implicated learner(s) is/are interviewed by a senior or delegated staff member in the presence of the parents. A written account of the interview is presented to the learner(s) and parents for verification of accuracy and signature. A copy of the signed written account is given to the parent(s).

f. The same interviewing procedure (as in e) will apply to any other learners who have witnessed the drug/substance possession/use or have knowledge of the possession/use.

g. The matter will be taken to the Governing Body Disciplinary Committee (DC) where the procedures set out in the South African School’s Act and other regulations will apply.
h. If the Governing Body DC decides a DC hearing is required, learners and parents will be given at least 7 working days advanced written notification of such a hearing. Families may be accompanied by legal assistants should they so desire.

Experimentation and Drug-Related Problems

Where the initial investigation reveals that the drug use can be defined as “experimental” or “infrequent use”, and the Governing Body DC agrees with the school’s findings, then the senior staff or guidance staff will assist the parents getting the learner into a structured intervention programme without the need for a DC hearing. The clear understanding, though, must be that the learner must fulfil all the requirements of the programme in order to be reintegrated. Where a learner does not co-operate, the matter is referred to the DC for further decision.

Where parents are aware that the child has a drug-related problem, it is advisable to inform the school without delay so that assistance can be given.

Confidentiality is all matters is considered paramount.

Dealing and Pushing

We draw a clear distinction between using and pushing/dealing. The majority of Livingstone High learners do not have drug-related problems and have no involvement with drugs. However, they remain vulnerable to the attention of those who are involved. It is the school’s main duty to protect the safety and well being of this majority. Any learner suspected of pushing or dealing drugs/substances at school, irrespective of the extent to which it is being done, could be a danger to our welfare and be guilty of a criminal act. Drug dealing or pushing (i.e. getting others involved in their use) will in all likelihood lead to expulsion from the school.