Whistleblower ‘victimised’

2014-09-01 00:00

A 15-YEAR-OLD who blew the whistle on alleged drug use at Carter High School claims she is being victimised for speaking out.

The child has obtained a protection order against a parent at the school who confronted her and accused her of spreading rumours and being a troublemaker.

The teenage girl, whose identity is known to The Witness, told the school in July that her school-mates were using ecstasy tablets and consuming alcohol.

Later that day she said she started receiving derogatory and threatening messages via Facebook and the BBM messaging application.

Carter High School learner affairs officer Johan de Goede confirmed that the teenager had reported the alleged use of drugs and alcohol to them.

“The learner did report a matter of drug use by certain class-mates of which only one incident was in fact correct. The school dealt with the matter through a formal disciplinary tribunal.

“The learner informed her class-mates that she reported them for drug usage, which prompted a very negative response especially given that [some of] the information supplied could not be verified,” said De Goede.

The province’s Education Department last week promised to intervene to protect the whistleblower.

Spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said: “We are going to ensure that this learner is protected and her right to education is protected,” said Mlotshwa.

The teen’s distressed mother said as a result of the victimisation, her daughter had missed more than 10 days of school since she blew the whistle.

“Before she reported them to the headmaster she tried discouraging them from doing drugs at school.

“[She told them the drug use] was disrupting classes and that it is bad for them. The use of drugs at school continued and she then [decided] to report them,” the mother said.

“The only thing that my child learnt is that if you can’t beat them, join them. Don’t stand up for what is right. Keep quiet and don’t say a word and that drugs are a health risk, but not illegal,” said the disappointed mother.

She claimed that another parent, a police officer, had harassed her child.

Her daughter had since obtained a protection order against this parent and his family.

“A father who is a policeman approached my daughter at the school gate two weeks ago and accused her of spreading rumours and causing trouble for his daughter. My daughter tried to explain to him what is happening, but he refused to let her talk,” said the mother.

Her child had tried to obtain a court order against her fellow pupils, but this was not granted, the mother said.

The teenager said she felt unwelcome at the school.

“Lately every time I go to my class they tell me that I don’t have a place there. The threatening messages have been made by different students,” she said.

The Witness has seen some of the messages posted on Facebook and others sent to the teenager’s sister, also a pupil at the school.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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