School gets snif­fer dog

Ca­nine to help com­bat drug use by pupils

Sunday Tribune - - METRO - TASCHICA PIL­LAY

A Drug-sniff­ing ca­nine will be on gate duty at a pri­vate school in Kwazulu-natal in Jan­uary.

Posh, a Ger­man Shep­herd, is the new ad­di­tion to Ash­ton In­ter­na­tional Col­lege’s se­cu­rity team when schools re­open for the new year .

The school in Bal­lito re­cently came un­der the spot­light when two pupils were ex­pelled af­ter be­ing found to have con­tra­vened its code of con­duct, which pro­hibits pupils from bring­ing to school, con­sum­ing, dis­tribut­ing or test­ing pos­i­tive for drugs or al­co­hol on or off the cam­pus and at any school func­tion.

It is al­leged that in Oc­to­ber a Grade 10 pupil had given a Grade 11 pupil cannabis oil, which was then used in front of other chil­dren in the se­nior col­lege ablu­tion fa­cil­ity.

Fol­low­ing a dis­ci­plinary both pupils were ex­pelled.

Joe Eras­mus, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ash­ton In­ter­na­tional Col­leges, said Posh, to­gether with the school’s se­nior se­cu­rity of­fi­cer and dog han­dler, Isaac Nyaba, will be sta­tioned at the pedes­trian se­cu­rity guard house, where vis­i­tors, pupils and par­ents en­ter and exit daily.

“She is trained in a va­ri­ety of se­cu­rity mat­ters as well as il­le­gal sub­stances and, in more com­mon terms, co­caine, heroin, ec­stasy, man­drax, dagga, tik cat and com­bi­na­tions of other drugs. Isaac is on a one-month train­ing course cur­rently in Pre­to­ria to be trained fully on han­dling and tak­ing care of her,” said Eras­mus.

He said pupils and vis­i­tors would not just be sniffed on en­ter­ing the school.

“Trained dogs will be able to pick up the scent of most il­le­gal sub­stances. hear­ing In­stead of mak­ing use of an out­sourced dog, the ran­dom checks will be done by Ash­ton’s own dog,” said Eras­mus.

Eras­mus said Ash­ton had been re­search­ing the pur­chase of a well­trained dog for a while, adding that the process was al­ready in progress and the pur­chase fi­nalised be­fore the in­ci­dent.

“We have 100% sup­port from our par­ent body,” he said.

A par­ent, Bev­er­ley Gaul, com­mended the school for be­ing proac­tive.

“When the chil­dren see the dog they will ask ques­tions, creat­ing a dis­cus­sion and raise aware­ness. Drugs are a real prob­lem and to pre­tend it isn’t a prob­lem is bizarre. Preven­tion is bet­ter than cure. This is a great de­ter­rent,” said the mother of two.

Jeanne Cas­sidy, also a par­ent, said schools should be safe.

“I am in sup­port of this. If I know my 10-year-old is safe, then I am happy. Kids are sub­jected to peer pres­sure on a daily ba­sis. All big prob­lems start with some­thing small,” said Cas­sidy.

POSH and dog han­dler Isaac Nyaba will be part of Ash­ton In­ter­na­tional Col­lege’s se­cu­rity team.

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