Disrespectful conduct, drug abuse and late-coming are just a few of the problems at schools in the Ilembe district.
At a community meeting recently, Glenhills Secondary School principal M Budhram said substance abuse and children arriving late was a huge problem.
He pleaded with parents to work with the school to discipline their children.
“There are problems with dagga and alcohol in schools. It is a very serious social ill that impacts on the community and most crimes committed locally are happening because of substance abuse. We must understand that children’s brains are not fully developed. When they consume alcohol and drugs it actually interferes with their mental growth and leads to a lifetime of problems.
“Alcohol abuse is a vicious cycle that carries through generations and ensures that communities can’t makes progress.”
Budhram warned that if children were not in class by 8am, they would be marked absent and it would affect their promotion at the end of the year. Late-coming has been an ongoing problem at other district schools including Shakaskraal Secondary and Guzana Secondary School, in Shayamoya.
“Pupils who are absent for more than 20 days face a problem when it comes to passing and failing. These are challenges that we will not sweep under the carpet.”
Two weeks ago close to a hundred Guzana Secondary School pupils protested outside the school gates outraged with a new policy that would not allow fancy hairstyles and an arrival time of later than 8am. Umhlali SAPS captain Vinny Pillay said that police were often called to schools to help with late arrivals and to speak to pupils whose behaviour was out of control.
“Late-coming is getting out of hand and pupils refuse to listen.”
Pillay said the pupils were handed letters calling for their parents to meet with the principal. Many of the pupils refused to accept the letter and left to go home.
KZN education department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said issues of discipline should be dealt with by the school. He said truancy was a reflection on school leadership.
“Late-coming is a widespread problem and it is serious. It is concerning that we are still seeing this but if the school leaders were firm enough then this would not be taking place. When it is an issue of transportation, the education department tries to assist in whichever way possible. This is a problem of discipline and we appeal to parents to ensure their children are arriving at school on time with a mindset to learn.”
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