Children who use banned performance-enhancing drugs in school sports could face expulsion from Monday, the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) said.
CEO Khalid Galant said the institute was rolling out a testing programme in schools on Monday in an effort to stamp out “the growing scourge” of steroid and drug use in school sports.
“The schools’ testing strategy is no longer just about catching ‘in-competition’ drug cheats,” he said.
“It is now about protecting the health of our children and making them realise the dangers of doping and the importance of responsibilities as a school-going athlete.”
A principal could initiate a test on a pupil or pupils if there were fair and reasonable grounds for suspected prohibited substance use.
The case would be referred to SAIDS, which would then send a doping control officer to test the pupil, in the presence of the principal or school official and an adult witness of the same gender as the pupil.
The test would be done in a private area and doping control documentation would be filled out.
Minimum of three months’ sanction
The pupil would be tested for steroids, diuretics and other masking agents, hormone and metabolic modulators, and stimulants.
If the test came back positive, SAIDS would inform the principal and would provide guidelines for disciplinary action.
All substances carried a minimum of a three months’ sanction from the sport and a maximum sentence of expulsion. This would be decided by the school’s governing body.
Galant said the testing protocol was drafted by leading sports attorneys and took the Schools Act into account.
A national road show would take place until next Thursday to explain the protocol on a legal and educational basis.
Workshops would be held at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, Bishops in Cape Town next Tuesday, St John’s College in Johannesburg the same day, and Kearsney College in KwaZulu-Natal on February 12.
Galant said schools which formally adopted the protocol would be accredited as SAIDS compliant for a year.