Posh school expels pupils who sold drugs

25 September 2010 - 23:26 By KAREN VAN ROOYEN
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One of the country's top schools, St John's College in Johannesburg, has expelled three pupils for selling marijuana to other pupils - who then smoked it at school.

In a letter issued to parents this week and which the school forwarded to the Sunday Times on request, headmaster Roger Cameron said the three teenagers - one in matric and the other two in grade nine - had contravened the school's substance-abuse policy, resulting in the expulsion.

"The selling of drugs is illegal. St John's has a clear policy on the consequences of the use and distribution of drugs, which every boy and his parents sign on entering the college," he said. "We acknowledge that boys make mistakes and we need to give them the opportunity to make good. At the same time, we also have a responsibility to protect your children from drugs."

The Johannesburg school's extensive substance-abuse policy stipulates that drug usage is common across all communities, but that schools are "particularly vulnerable".

Pupils have access to various educational tools on the dangers of substance abuse, and a school counsellor offers confidential assistance to those who come forward for help.

A pupil who tests positive for drugs - the school provides screening with the permission of parents - is allowed to continue at school provided he voluntarily enters a rehabilitation programme.

Suspension or expulsion is only an option when the pupil is considered to have repeatedly failed at attempts to rehabilitate.

The elite school - fees range between R42000 and R78000 a year - had a 100% matric pass rate last year, with 94% of pupils qualifying for university entrance.

The parents of the boys who were expelled have a right to appeal, while those who allegedly bought and smoked the marijuana at school have been suspended.

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