By- The government says schools are permitted to expel learners found in possession of drugs.
This follows last week’s expulsion of eight learners at Dominican Convent High School, a top Harare girls’ school, who were allegedly found in possession of illicit substances stashed in their belongings during a recent school trip to Nyanga.
The matter is currently under police investigation.
In an interview, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro said: “We have carried out quite a number of community outreach programmes with partners, including those from the Zimbabwe Republic Police; the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation; and various other stakeholders to ensure we try and curb this scourge and nip it in the bud before it progresses.
“As the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we have a robust mechanism of outreach programmes to ensure that we stop drug and substance abuse in all our schools.”
He said school heads are obliged to suspend a learner for 14 days where they reasonably suspect them of serious misconduct, pending investigation.
“If the head is satisfied, after a fair hearing, that the learner is guilty of serious misconduct that merits expulsion after consultation with the district schools inspector, then the pupils will be expelled,” he said.
“Where a head has decided to expel a learner, they should give the parents written notice of the date on which the expulsion is to take effect and, in the notice, they should state the reason for the decision to expel the learner.”
Upon being notified of the expulsion, he said parents may appeal in writing to the provincial education director within 14 days of receiving the notice.
“While the appeal is being determined, the learner who has been expelled is permitted to attend school.
“However, provided that if the head of the school believes, on reasonable grounds, the learner’s attendance may lead to indiscipline or may result in injury of another person or damage to property, the head can prevent the learner from attending school for not more than a month after the appeal has been launched.”
In a separate interview, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said investigations into the Dominican Convent matter were ongoing.
“The matter is work in progress and we are still carrying out the investigations,” he said.