You pay a small fortune to send a child to Hilton College, which sits atop the list of South Africa’s most expensive schools.
Clearly, parents aren’t giving their children enough pocket money for the tuckshop, because the school has now become embroiled in a ‘dagga scandal’.
According to the sources that TimesLIVE spoke with, two pupils have already been suspended for dealing, and the same sources “said several dozen pupils might be implicated in buying and selling dagga”.
Here’s more from that report:
…the school says ongoing investigations so far indicate that the number is “significantly lower”.
One of those suspended is part of the leadership of the school and the school has offered “amnesty” to those who confess about involvement.
In a letter to parents dated June 6 – which TimesLIVE has a copy of – headmaster George Harris said he had been made aware of a report of “alleged substance abuse among a number of our senior boys”.
“Although disturbing, this information is not yet confirmed. However, I am not naive to this practice among adolescents, as experimentation is rife in these years.
“My messaging has been, and remains clear. Boys know that the consequences for dabbling in this practice are severe.”
Slightly different to the ‘experimentation’ going on at Michaelhouse, of course.
Harris stated that the boys involved span grades 10, 11 and 12, and those that admit to their involvement will face less severe punishment than those who fail to come forward.
Whilst some schools have a more lenient approach to dagga use amongst pupils, Hilton is not one of them:
Hilton College’s substance-abuse policy clearly states that being found in a compromised position regarding illegal substances carries the “strongest school sanction”.
“The arguments in mitigation if one was found to be in a compromised position regarding illegal substances, eg being on holiday or off campus at the time, do not hold up against this policy. In other words, should a boy test positive for an illegal substance, regardless of where or when this imbibing occurred, he will be subject to our strongest sanction,” the policy states.
“We believe that when one signs up to Hilton, one makes the decision to live by the codes and practices that have defined, and continue to define, gentlemanly behaviour in its fullest sense and as such ethics in all matters, and especially concerning illegal substances, is our gold standard.”
OK, so personal and private dagga use isn’t illegal, thanks to that landmark ruling last year, but schools still have the right to enforce their own codes of conduct.
In a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling, also from last year, it was found that “the relationship between schools and parents was a contractual one which schools were entitled to terminate as long as there was nothing which offended any constitutional values or was contrary to public policy”.
Guys, did you know Hilton College has a nature reserve?
Do you think that somewhere in there, students aren’t going to try their hand at some herb growing? Yes, I called it back in January.
Essentially, boys will be boys, and we’re not going to pretend like high school kids smoking zol is some kind of crisis.
Still, it’s not exactly a great look when “several dozen pupils” are caught up in the mix, and some prudish parents who are forking out R300 000 a year are sure to kick up a stink.
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