Khorixas-More than 30 pupils of Welwitchia Junior Secondary School at Khorixas have been suspended after they were found drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages on school premises.
Principal Vaino Shikeshele told New Era on Friday that a group of learners were drinking in one of the classrooms at the school during the Entrepreneurship Day a week ago.
“Some sneak out and buy alcohol in the location, while some pupils from Cornelius Goreseb High School brought alcohol to our school,” a visibly disappointed Shikeshele said.
“It was by surprise we caught them. But we warned them before Entrepreneurship Day started not to indulge in alcohol,” Shikeshele said. The group of 15 learners were due to be suspended today after they were questioned in the presence of their parents.
“We will definitely enforce what’s in the (education) policy. This is a special case,” Shikeshele said. Asked whether Entrepreneurship Day will in future be cancelled due to the behaviour of some pupils, the principal said it would not be cancelled, as it is part of the curriculum and his school will heavily guard pupils during such days to ensure they do not use alcohol.
Shikeshele was concerned about the lack of parental involvement and said as long as parents do not say no to their children drinking alcohol there is not much the schools can do, as most pupils reside in the location.
Parents were also advised to enrol children, especially boys, in the hostel as the boys’ blocks have space.
Sgt Amon Kapiye of Khorixas police station said the local police were called to the school over the behaviour of drunken pupils, but said there was not much they could do except warn them. “Some sneaked out and bought alcohol at a local bar. It’s not a good picture selling alcohol to school pupils,” a concerned Kapiye said.
He told New Era the pupils had bought a three-litre box of Fourth Street wine. Kapiye also revealed to New Era that many cases of pupils indulging in cannabis were reported to the police. “Our book is full of reports of pupils indulging in dagga use,” Kapiye noted.
Frequenting of pupils at local bars is a thorn in a flesh of the community at the northwestern town, with some parents complaining on NBC Damara-Nama Radio service about this regularly. At one bar, a teenage boy also regularly takes the DJ stand.
Kapiye asked how police officers would know club goers are pupils and asked parents to lead the initiative to discourage their schoolgoing children from frequenting nightclubs and bars. Since last year Khorixas police has pleaded with local bar owners to turn away under-aged customers, but it seems their pleas fell on deaf ears.
During a meeting last Monday with the suspended pupils’ parents it emerged that some adults are selling cannabis to pupils, while some pupils are also suspected of selling dagga at school. Parents were also told that one local bar sells alcohol to pupils, even in school uniform.
New Era was told that a male pupil also sells cigarettes at the school. At present it is understood that a number of pupils at Welwitchia Junior Secondary School are pregnant – four of them in Grade 10.