SIXTEEN pupils from Milton High, Townsend Girls’ High, Pace College and Girls’ College, were arrested on Friday after they were caught drinking and abusing dangerous drugs at Centenary Park in Bulawayo.
The pupils, all clad in school uniforms, were arrested and taken to Bulawayo Central Police station facing public drinking charges. They were arrested around 5PM when police raided the Centenary Park after receiving an anonymous tip-off.
The pupils, whose names cannot be published as they are minors, are also believed to have been engaging in s*xual activities as there were used condoms nearby.
A source said the pupils were raided by police details from the dogs section. The police, the source said, found the pupils with bottles of whisky, dagga and a widely abused cough syrup with a high alcohol content, Broncleer, popularly known as Bronco.
They said the group made up of eight boys and eight girls admitted to drinking, taking dangerous drugs and engaging in s*xual activities.
“They were all drunk when they were arrested. They said the park was their new base where they would freely drink and enjoy themselves,” said the source.
The pupils were released after their parents, guardians and school authorities were called in.
They painted a dejected picture tinted with shame as they sat on the floor at the police station with exhibits in front of them.
Bulawayo province police spokesperson, Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo, confirmed the arrests.
“I can confirm that a group of boys and girls were rounded up by police on Friday but they were dealt with accordingly. They’ve since been released and the matter is being handled by their parents and school authorities. As the police we’re still investigating and tracing suppliers of the dangerous substances they were found in possession of,” said Inspector Moyo.
He urged parents to always monitor their children in terms of behaviour and whereabouts after school and on weekends.
“These days the pupils are engaging in Vuzu parties and they are now doing them during school days. As such we’re encouraging parents and guardians to monitor them particularly when they say they are going to weekend parties as they use the opportunity to indulge in unsafe s*x,” he said.
Insp Moyo said police have joined forces with the National Aids Council and Childline Zimbabwe to do campaigns in schools against alcohol abuse and unsafe s*x.
“We have joined hands with NAC and Childline Zimbabwe in holding awareness campaigns in schools to highlight the dangers of drug abuse and engaging in unsafe s*x in greater Bulawayo.
“We have been doing these campaigns for about a month now,” said Insp Moyo.
Teenage binge-drinking in Bulawayo has reached alarming levels amid concerns of moral decay in the city.
Over the past few months, there has been a plethora of house parties hosted by youths, who in most cases are as young as 13 years in the affluent suburbs of Bulawayo.
The teens organise house parties on the social networking platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and Mxit.
It remains a mystery where the teenagers, most of whom are still in school, get the money to host the parties and buy the alcohol and drugs. Equally baffling is whether the children have the blessings of their parents and guardians when they host the wild parties.