Dominican Convent drugs saga: Sh0cking details emerge, sugar daddies wreak havoc at the school

File pic: Rich madala with young girl

DOMINICAN Convent High School, one of Harare’s elite educational institutions, has expelled eight female pupils over alleged drug abuse.

In a notice sent to parents and guardians yesterday, the school headmistress, Sister Kudzai Mutsure, said the incident which led to the expulsion took place during the 2023 Upper Sixth leadership camp in Nyanga from January 12 to 15.

She said the disciplinary committee exercised all principles of procedural fairness and found the girls guilty of violating the school drug policy.

“My heart aches for these girls and their parents but my duty of care is to ensure that the school environment is, as far as is practicable, safe and free from all risks. I have a responsibility to the whole school community and possessing, using or supplying a restricted substance, including vaping, is not acceptable.

“Investigations are still ongoing and we will not hesitate to weed out anymore culprits to sanitise the school space,” Sister Mutsure said.

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“I pray that the girls will receive the rehabilitation they need and that all parents take an active role, in partnership with the school, to modify the inappropriate behaviour of their children. I believe that school officials’ efforts to protect students from the dangers of substance abuse are sometimes hampered by parents and community members in denial about the pervasiveness of the problem and the potential for any child to succumb to the lures of drugs.

“I appeal to parents to be more vigilant and active by refining their parenting skills and being aware of their children’s activities as our investigations show that the pervasive behaviour started at home.”

Sources close to the school said the girls were caught red-handed using drugs and others were found packed in their handbags.

In leaked WhatsApp group messages circulating on social media, drug abuse was said to be rife at the school.

“Just coming from a parents’ meeting on drug usage and drug abuse at Dominican Convent High. My heart is bleeding. What do we do? Parents’ testimonies were heartbreaking. We are raising drug dealers and drug users and addicts unknowingly. Be wary of their outings to Queen of Hearts,” a parent said.

Sources said there was too much drug usage at the school and pupils were reportedly going to Sam Levy Village in Borrowdale to buy drugs from peddlers.

Well-oiled young professionals and “sugar daddies,” commonly known as “blessers”, were reportedly going to fetch young girls from the school during weekends and engaging in uncouth activities.

Parents have since condemned the exeat weekends concept, also known as “hang out” weekends.

Meanwhile, the drug problem is said to be rampant in many other schools in the country with drug peddlers targeting elite schools attended by children of the wealthy who can afford to buy expensive drugs.

Substances that are commonly abused are alcohol (both licenced and unlicenced brews), tobacco, cannabis, cocaine, crystal meth and non-medical use of controlled medicines such as codeine-containing cough medicines and benzodiazepines.

“My children are learning at this institution and I am glad that they quickly unearthed the drug abuse menace,” a parent who requested anonymity said.

“This is a wake up call to us all because pupils from other schools are reportedly supplying drugs to Dominican Convent, the situation might even be worse in other schools.”

Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Ms Tumisang Thabela declined to comment on the issue last night saying it was still to be brought to her attention.

She referred questions to the ministry’s spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro who could not be reached by the time of going to press.

“I am not aware of that story. I am hearing it for the first time. Send written questions to Mr Ndoro,” she said.

Anti-Drug Abuse Forum (ADAF) executive director, Mr Collin Mapfumo, said such incidents require a proactive approach rather than pointing fingers.

“Both the school and parents are equally responsible,” Mr Mapfumo said.

“A robust approach is needed from both the school and the parents. We recommend regular random searches, peer education, drug tests and even sniffer dogs in all schools to create firewalls against such delinquent behaviour which has become rampant in schools.”

Zimbabwe is experiencing an upsurge in drug abuse cases and most of those abusing the drugs are young people. Last year, the Ministry of Health and Child Care launched a five-year strategic plan (2021- 2025) against substance abuse to curb its prevalence, which has reached alarming levels.

Researchers observed that the prolonged closure of schools during the Covid-19 lockdowns had resulted in the rise in drug abuse among learners.

Such tendencies may have persisted when normal classes resumed after the end of the lockdown periods.

— Herald

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