A report filtered in over the weekend of yet another incident of death that occurred in a secondary school. It left the parents and the society in agony and questioning where we are heading to with these kinds of crimes.
Reminiscing on the activities and experiences of Secondary school days often bring forth such memories and such smiles on faces of those who lived through it. As a person who lived in the boarding school, it is still one of my best memories. I consider it as the best stage in life.
The punishments from the senior students and some kinds of bullying – which is a bad thing, the mischiefs played on the junior students, the pranks the junior students played on the senior students and the junior students patiently waiting for their time to play senior students are part of the memories. Events; good or bad, are part of life’s experiences. They helped fortify us to be able to face the world, different kinds of people and situations.
Amidst all these, there were healthy competitions in the academics. Those who took first positions strive to maintain that while others struggle to unseat them. The competitions spurred the students to work hard.
Incidents of crime and violence are taking over the excellent performances of students in their academics and in turn, making secondary school and living in the schools’ hostels to be dreaded.
In 2019, Chukwuebuka Nnanna, a student of DMGS, Onitsha was said to be stoned to death out of envy by fellow students. The school authority debunked the claim. Keren-Happuch was raped in the Premiere Academy, Abuja and died of a complication from a condom left in her body and Sylvester Oromoni of Dowen College in Lagos was brutally beaten by fellow students that led to his death.
These incidents are not supposed to be heard from schools of learning. Schools are meant for learning and character formation and should remain so. It is not a breeding place for crimes.
That students are becoming criminally minded takes root from the homes and can come from different sources, take on many forms and involve different people. The teachers who somewhat are victims of bullying develop nonchalant attitudes. Bullying happens among the students, teachers on students, students on teachers, parents on teachers, and so on. Criminalities in schools take place in different ways and in varied contexts.
Issues that arise from the home and even from the community affect the children and they carry these to schools. Through the pursuance of materialism, parents have forgotten their basic duty. Some of these parents often believe that by providing all needs for their children, is enough for their character development. These failures are costing society more.
Teachers should also be held responsible. When teachers fail in their duties and become part of the problem in raping and encouraging these criminalities even by their willful silence, it is damaging as well.
Not so long ago, teachers lived within the schools with the students. At that time, students were monitored and deviants were rightly punished and corrected and the moral character of the students was strengthened. In my Secondary school days, teachers lived among us in the teachers’ quarters.
As the society is weakened by the morally unsound generation, orchestrated by weak teachers and parents, the society is bound to get these occasional incidents of criminalities in the schools.
Some children get corrupted in school, while some crimes are brought into the school. Criminal acts on students can create anger on the victims who would choose to retaliate; some would go to the extent of drug and substance abuse to carry out these acts while some will commit suicide.
In a private school of low population, the school authorities should be able to monitor each of the students but when many people establish schools for economic pursuits, such undertaking may not be explored.
The society is going bad and salvaging it is not by what trends with blames and counter blames thrown around while another incident happens, it is a deliberate choice between good parenting, proper guidance, and each stakeholder including the government to take back their roles. Teachers, students, families and communities are grossly affected by the crimes in schools.
The government can step up their roles in supervising and regulating the schools, especially the private schools. Re-establish the teachers’ quarters and schools; both government and private to provide them. Take away licenses of the schools where such incidents occur especially if the school authority is established to cover up. Institute and expand academic and sports competitions. Expand the syllabus of security education to include learning about the dangers of these criminalities, being involved in them, learning how to handle it as a victim and effects of cultism, drug and substance abuse.
Children at the age of secondary school like to explore and that is why the government, church, parents and teachers should take up the task of putting them through the right character.
No child should be left to be a bad child.
The schools should return to institutions of learning rather than the institutions of crime and violence that they are turning into.