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all aboard...next stop south africa

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    The growth in SBN's markets is astounding. Like dominoes at the moment. Just need to get some market traction (which is well on the way with the China and Russian alliances etc) to take fulladvantage of it.

    S Africa is now opening up - as indicated in this DISPATCH ONLINE article from yesterday


    Schools can search and test pupils for drugs

    2008/02/20

    SCHOOLS are preparing for random drug testing on pupils after government recently passed a law to allow such tests.

    This comes as anti-drug organisations described drug abuse in Eastern Cape schools as an epidemic.

    The South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca) in East London said it was already counselling over 200 pupils a month who had recognised substance addictions – the youngest a seven-year-old drug addicted boy.

    Yesterday, school principals welcomed the new education law empowering them to conduct random search and seizure operations and to test pupils for drugs.

    The Education Laws Amendment Act was gazetted at the end of December last year, pushing through significant changes to how searches can be undertaken. Its ultimate aim is to curb drug abuse and peddling at schools.

    The law states that principals or a delegate “may at random search any group of learners or the property of a group of learners, for any dangerous object or illegal drug, if fair and reasonable suspicion has been established”.

    Hailing the law as a “significant stride in the right direction”, East London principals said they were now armed to make full use of the law to improve their schools. “Our hands were previously chopped off and we had to get permission from parents to search their children. The new law will certainly empower us to act on suspicion,” said John Bisseker Senior Secondary School’s deputy principal Aubrey Lackay.

    John Bisseker is situated in Parkside, where one of East London’s most notorious drug lords operate.

    Lackay said the school has had incidents where pupils were found to be working for a drug lord and, outside, peddlers were selling drugs during lunch breaks. There had also been cases where pupils were found smoking dagga on the premises.

    “Last year we called in the city police to do searches ... But our approach is to take corrective measures, including sending learners for counselling and treatment. The new law not only protects the schools, but also the learners,” said Lackay.

    In welcoming the new law, Alphendale High School principal Clive Prince said he has had cases of children bringing dagga muffins to school and it would now be easier to deal with such culprits.

    Short of admitting there were drug-related issues at his school, Hudson Park High School principal Roy Hewitt said the school’s code of conduct dealt with such matters.

    “We believe it’s a good idea and feel that a concerted effort must be made with schools and society to address what has been a major problem,” said Hewitt.

    The Dispatch tried unsuccessfully to speak to other city schools, including Stirling, Selborne, Clarendon and Port Rex.

    Sanca director Gill McGregor yesterday said no school in East London could claim to be drug free.

    McGregor said 100000 pupils in 35 schools in East London last year participated in a nine week long preventative programme and she was hopeful the new law could change the alarming situation.

    “We have found that drug abuse at schools is an epidemic, and that’s not exaggerating. At some schools it’s a case of you can order whichever drug you want,” said McGregor, adding that police last year closed down a “tik” (crack cocaine) factory operating from a house close to a leading school.

    The new law gives a number of strict guidelines on how the search or test must be performed, including that it can only be done in the best interest, health and safety of pupils.

    It further says that pupils may be subjected to disciplinary proceedings if found in possession of a dangerous weapon or drugs, or tested positive for drugs, but that no criminal proceedings may be instituted against any such pupil. - By CHANDRÉ PRINCE

    Education Reporter

    l Do you think schools should be able to test pupils for drugs? Vote on our DispatchOnline poll at www.dispatch.co.za

    http://www.dispatch.co.za/article.aspx?id=176976

 
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