Today’s adolescents face an increasing number of threats and challenges to both their code of values and to their right to freedom of choice. Among certain groups, the use of illegal drugs (such as dagga, Ecstasy and “acid”) is perceived as being socially acceptable, and the ready availability of drugs like dagga, combined with natural curiosity and peer pressure, can result in children making decisions which could have negative and long-lasting effects on their lives.
The dagga available today is estimated to be ten times stronger than 20 years ago, and it is particularly dangerous to adolescents, as it affects their ability to concentrate, removes or greatly reduces motivation and goal-orientation, and interferes significantly and negatively with their academic performance. In addition, the use, possession and distribution of dagga are prohibited under South African Criminal Law and punishable by substantial fines, imprisonment and other sanctions upon conviction. This poses further risk to the well-being and future of learners using and trafficking in this drug. Studies show that children who remain drug-free until the age of 18 are far less likely to use drugs as adults than their counterparts who use drugs while still at school.
In order to help our children resist the temptation of drugs and ensure that our policies and protocols are in line with the current legislation, we have amended the Dainfern College Drug Policy to include a Voluntary Drug Screening service to learners and parents in our community to help our teens say ‘no’ to drugs.
We would thus urge you and your child to read the Policy and to become part of the Voluntary Drug Screening Programme. Complete details of the programme can be found under Point 8 in the Policy, but in brief the programme is as follows:
- Learners who are part of the programme will be randomly tested at the College on the basis of numbers generated by a random number generator.
- The drug screening will be done by analysing urine samples. The samples will be collected at school under strictly controlled conditions and according to international procedures similar to those laid down for the testing of athletes, and with respect to the dignity of the learner. These samples will be identified by coded numbers and will be tested by professional pharmacologists who will not be able to identify individual learners. The cost of the tests will be for the parents’ account.
- The results of tests will be dealt with confidentially and sensitively, and will be known only to the Principal, the student and their parents, in the first instance.
Should a learner test positive, the following procedure will apply:
- The learner and parents/legal guardians will be informed and included in the processes which follow. The Housemaster and School Counsellor will become part of the process of rehabilitation.
- The learner will be required to participate in an appropriate counselling programme with follow-up drug tests as part of the process (for the parents’ account).
- Should the learner test positive in the follow-up tests, the Counsellor would report the matter to the Principal. The learner would be required to appear before a Disciplinary Enquiry in which the circumstances of the substance abuse will be investigated.
- In the event of a learner testing positive in a second random test, disciplinary action would follow.
- Where it is suspected that the learner has been involved in drug trafficking, the South African Police Service will be informed and their assistance sought.
In order for your child to be part of the Voluntary Drug Screening Programme, you and your child need to download and complete the Consent Form and return it to your child’s House Tutor. We strongly encourage you to join the Voluntary Drug Screening Programme. It will be in your child’s best interests, as it will make it that much easier for them to say ‘No’ when the temptation arises. It will certainly assist us in our attempts to keep Dainfern College a “drug-free zone”.
If you have any further questions or concerns please contact the staff below.
Deputy Principal: Pastoral Care, Leadership & Outreach