Management of Substance Abuse in the School Environment of a School District in North West Province of South Africa
Background: South Africa experiences rife substance abuse among school children, which causes disruption in the school environment, and results in ineffective learning for the affected learners. Although school authorities are expected to manage the situation of substance abuse in the school environment, there is no formal training for the teachers on how to manage this aspect of social life that impacts on academic outcomes.
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to explore how schools manage substance abuse at a school environment.
Methodology: A qualitative design was used to collect data using indepth interviews from 21 members of School management teams in a school district in North West Province, South Africa.
Results: The 3 themes that emerged are contradictory views regarding the extent of the drug problem, with some acknowledging that substance abuse is rife while others downplay the magnitude of the problem, the actions of the school management team consist of calling people in cases of substance abuse, and teachers are not trained on how to mitigate substance abuse.
Conclusion: The ways used by schools to deal with cases of substance abuse among learners is not effective as it consists mainly of ‘reporting’ the abuse to several individuals. Schools do not have interventions for prevention of substance abuse, and the teachers do not receive training on how to deal with substance abuse in the school environment.