Today I received yet another video of learners smoking dagga within school premises. This is becoming a common sight within our schools and cannot be acceptable. We must tackle this head on and I request every school to ensure that they follow the relevant disciplinary procedures.
We cannot allow school culture to degenerate into that which society in general seems to be flaunting.
The recent Constitutional Court ruling that the private use of dagga is legal for adults has no bearing in our schools. Schools are public spaces and in terms of the Regulations for Safety Measures at all Public Schools the National Minister has declared all public schools as drug free and dangerous weapon free zones.
Through the schools’ codes of conduct, schools should state clearly what kinds of behavior they consider unacceptable. This certainly includes substance abuse in schools – both in dealing and in use.
Should a learner transgress, then the school has the right and responsibility to suspend and discipline the learner.
The WCED will support schools that ensure that the relevant disciplinary procedures are followed when it comes to violence and substance abuse in our schools. The WCED’s Policy on Learner Discipline and School Management assists schools on how to conduct this process. The WCED district offices are also equipped to provide advice on how to manage the disciplinary procedures.
This is yet another example of the lack of respect some learners have for the institutions in which they are being taught. Respect and discipline begins at home and we are appealing to parents to teach and encourage discipline, respect and tolerance, both at home, in society and in school.
Our youth will never progress if they are not taught essential values and behaviors.
Our learners need to be taught from a young age what the values are that they should demonstrate towards their educators, as well as their peers.
That is why the WCED has identified “The Year of Values-Driven learning” as a theme for 2018. This theme focuses on six values: caring, competence, accountability, integrity, innovation and responsiveness. Schools have been asked to identify 12 values that symbolise and characterise the values that they want to espouse and then to showcase these values in various ways.
The WCED has also adopted a Mindset Change programme which aims to help individuals make the shift from adopting negative attitudes to positive approaches instead.
Our schools are places of learning and we ask the whole of society to assist us in addressing this scourge in our society, as well as, to ensure Quality Education for every learner, in every classroom, in every school in this Province.
While we have many socio-economic challenges in our province, we cannot become a society that accepts or condones violent behavior or substance abuse in our schools.
Bronagh Hammond: 072 7241422