A viral video about a student of Queens’ College, Yaba caught my attention today as I went about my own hustle and having thought about the whole scenario and outcome of my modest findings and also as a concerned father, I am compelled to react.
My reaction is a sum of my experience in 2 Nigerian secondary schools and what I have seen as a true representation of what a school should look like especially in the areas of care for students, protection of students, delivery of lessons and providing guidance to students.
I tried to provide answers to a number of questions that crossed my mind as I ponder over the nothin to write home about incident.
First, what was the mother doing with her daughter on a Tuesday reporting back to school?
I had reasons to assume she, the student, must have been away from school to attend a family function or spend the weekend with her family as an average student in the boarding house would yearn. I then thought she must have overstayed the permitted vacation days and the mother felt the need to bring her in and give explanations plus, with the level of insecurity in the country, there may be a compelling need to get her daughter to school in one piece before returning home.
Second, what is the fuss about fixing eyelashes?
I expect this to flow straight from the moral point of view. Our expectation as parents and moral beliefs may vary but I have no doubt a vast majority would frown at a secondary school student going about with eyelashes within the school compound. So, to be very clear, I do not agree with wanting to show up in school adorning eyelashes.
You mush have noticed I mentioned SCHOOL every time I referred to the eyelashes.
This innocent girl was not even on the premises yet and as such can not be said to have done anything wrong in my opinion. If the mother brought her to school, it would suffice to say she was well in custody of her mum and still her mum’s responsibility until such is officially transferred to the school authority when the student must have been appropriately signed in to have returned to school. So, again, why attack a student on the street of Lagos especially by people one would have expected should protect her.
What happened to thinking she forgot to take the lashes off after whatever party attended or dress up she was doing? What happened to letting her get to school officially and have the issue raised like a decent teacher would be expected to do? What happened to the male teacher wielding a stick like some Fulani herdsman calling the mother’s attention to the eyelashes?
I stand to be corrected but I personally feel the mother might not have even noticed the lashes for all you care. I also strongly feel the mother at that point should be worried about protecting the daughter and not the eyelashes when the assault started.
Third, what exactly is the duty of security personnel stationed at the school gate?
I listened with rage and disdain to the security guys lashing out at the poor girl and even lating his hand on her? How does the eyelash represent security threat to the school? Why should any school allow security officers whose duty I expect would have been clearly defined to include issues bothering on security and associated matters rough handle a student who is reporting back to school?
Fourth, what is left of students’ teachers’ relationship?
When parents drive their kids to school, there is an unspoken transfer of trust, care and affection. We are saying, this is my child or these are my children, now you have them, take care of them as I would until I am back to get them.
If my daughter, who happens to be a student of Queens’ College shows up with eyelashes, would I have recorded whatever discussion we had and post it on social media? No, I won’t and that is the least I would expect from any teacher in his or her right senses. Your right to discipline my child is limited to what is just and deemed reasonable. You can not reduce my child to some item of gathering social media likes.
What happened to this poor girl must be condemned by well meaning people and we need to begin to really look deep into what exactly are we doing as parents in the name of instilling discipline.
I am that child that grew up with canes, horsewhips and punishment at any possible instance for every conceivable wrongdoings. I had my teachers thread the same pattern of beating and punishment. While some till date I think are justified, I lost count of abuse in the name of discipline. What about these beatings helped make me what I am today? Maybe not a lot and to be very honest, these abuses drew me more to seeking opportunities to revenge.
I am very well aware of the need to discipline our kids and this is the only way we can help build a sane society but we also should be able to draw the line between discipline and abuse. What is prevalent is abuse. QED!
This matter needs to be addressed to correct the ills of student harassment once and for all.
Here are my suggestions:
The teacher that posted this recording should be suspended and made to undergo proper teacher training at her own cost. She obviously lacks a great ton of that.
The security officers should be suspended or dismissed.
The girl’s examination time table should be shifted to allow her some time to settle down and get ready to write her examinations.
The Queens’ College management should distance the school from such shameful display of lack of professionalism and reassure the parents of the girl of their commitment to provide care and academic discipline to the girl and indeed all students of the school.
Queens’ college in this recent past had had to deal with a number of very ugly incidents and parents have shown nothing but love and solidarity through these times. The least you want to tell any parent is that you don’t care about the safety and emotional well-being of these girls.
Let me conclude by reaching out to social media moral activists. The perfect social media daddies and mummies who have no child of their own but have only read about how to raise a child in textbooks. You should be ashamed of yourselves and your straight-from-hell comments about this poor girl.
Wait to have a child of yours and understand the real pain of parenting and stop rushing to take out a spec in peoples’ eyes while you carry a log in yours.
May I by this, send my sincere love to this young girl as I wish her well and hope she is able to put this incident behind her and to the mother for doing what a mother should do in the face of attack on her child.
There are lessons for this girl to learn from all of these and those lessons must not be spared but must be taught in the most compassionate and best of manners.