Lie reveals big drug problem

2010-03-16 00:00

AN Eastwood Secondary pupil is facing disciplinary action after making claims of being beaten up last week, allegedly over an incident relating to drugs.

The Witness received a report that the boy had been fingered as one of the pupils owing money for drugs to another pupil at the school, who apparently sold drugs for a gang in the area.

The pupil claimed he was beaten up but managed to run away and board a taxi. However, his assailants were waiting for him in town where the assaults are said to have continued.

Responding to the query, Education Department spokeswoman Mbali Thusi said the boy in question came to the school yesterday with his parent and confessed that the entire story had been a fabrication. She said the pupils involved will face up to their irresponsible behaviour.

Thusi did not say why the boy would make up such a story.

While the story might not have been true, a local minister said drugs and gangs are indeed rife in the area.

He said the quality of life for many households is diminishing because money is being channelled to drugs.

“It is a big problem. You see more and more youngsters gathering in the streets, especially over the weekends. And these gatherings are becoming more and more out of control.”

While an obvious solution to this would be more police patrols and better police presence, he said, the fight needs people who are not seen as friends of these criminals, as is currently the case, to deal with it.

Carter High School is known for its no-nonsense approach to drugs and regular unannounced drug searches.

Principal Ashwin Ramgoolam said they decided to tackle the drug issue on three levels.

“We keep emphasising the issue in our Life Orientation lessons. We try to take a proactive stance and make the children aware of the dangers of drugs. Our school counsellor is then able to provide support to the children who need it.”

He also said that the school constantly monitors the drug situation. If it hears a hint of something happening, the police are immediately called in.

He said this has worked well because they have been able to get buy-in from parents, which he admitted can be a challenge.

“We have found that parents will readily get involved, whe­ther their children are seen to be in the right or in the wrong, if you’ll keep them in the loop. And that is a big thing we do,” said Ramgoolam.

He said the support of the ward manager, who is quick to act when a matter is referred to him, has assisted the school in its success stories.

“Last year we were able to commit a matriculant to a rehabilitation centre. He is now rehabilitating nicely… We are in partnership with the Townhill Police Station… We call them and they organise the dog unit to get here whenever we need police assistance.”

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