Following reports of a scuffle between a parent at Queens College, Yaba, and some security guards over inappropriate dressing by a student of the college, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Queens College Parent and Teachers’ Association (PTA), Barr. Ahmed Abbas, in an exclusive chat with our correspondent, ELIZABETH UWANDU, spoke on the matter and moves by the college authorities to prevent future occurrence.
Q: There have been divergent reports on the altercation between a parent whose daughter was accused of inappropriate dressing and security officers at the Queens College. Sir, what actually happened?
A: For record purpose, no drama was going on in school at the time. It was obvious that the student in question was inappropriately dressed. As an SS3 student, she knows the rules. She should know better.
The incident was avoidable with the exercise of little discretion by the mother and probably people standing by. It was an unfortunate incident.
However, the best interest of the student is being addressed.
Q: Sir, a source said that it was a parent that posted the video on the school’s platform to serve as a witness if the parent involved in the scuffle denied her actions. How true is this?
A: PTA was not there. The investigation is ongoing. We await the outcome. The press will be addressed.
Q: People are also saying the college authorities silence since the video went viral is a ploy to cover up the incident.
A: Queens College has nothing to hide. Absolutely nothing to hide. What do you have to hide in the fact that you are enforcing rules relating to discipline? I think the public should applaud Queens College for standing up to be counted as one of the few schools that has zero-tolerance for indiscipline. Their products are well behaved and distinguished all over the world. One thing that is obvious and visible to all parents is that Queens College has zero-tolerance for indiscipline and unruly behaviour.
Q: Another section of the public are calling the school management to sanction the security guards for engaging in a brawl with a parent and exposing the affected student to humiliation. Sir, do you think the security guards and some school official seen in video handled the case properly?
A: Investigation is ongoing. Until the report is released we might not be in a position to comment on what happened or who did what. Let us wait for the outcome. We will address the media once the report of the investigation is out.
Q: And what do you think should be done to forestall such incident in the future?
A: The outcome of the ongoing investigation will determine how to forestall similar occurrences in the future. Queens College is a proactive institution. I don’t know any other Unity School that has a population of Queens College. It takes managerial dexterity to cope and manage such a population of the student without much crisis.
Q: What is the stand of the PTA?
A: We stand with the school authority on matters of discipline. Queens College has zero-tolerance for indiscipline and indecent dressing. The school is very meticulous and alert. They monitor their students round the clock. We support them. We stand by them.
However, the interest of the students is at the centre of any policy, rule or decision. That you cannot take away from the school. They watch jealously over their ‘Queens’ as they are fondly referred to.
Q: And also the stand of the school?
A: They make it plain always in their communication with parents that discipline is non- negotiable in Queens College. There is an insatiable demand for admission. If you meet a Queens College graduate, you will appreciate why parents want to send their children to Queens College from all over Nigeria.
Once again, congratulations on being elected the PTA chairman.
A: Thank you.
Q: Sir, what changes would you and your team bring to QC considering alleged negative issues and events that faced the school in the last few years?
A: Firstly, we intend to change the narrative. The PTA was established to assist management. Not to antagonize, intimidate, harass, bully or supervise school management. PTA is a complementary body, not a competitive body. They are partners in progress. Their visions are one and the same. Therefore, the era of the acrimonious relationship is over. The relation between them is like the one between a gynaecologist and a midwife. They are partnering to give birth to global ambassadors. We can disagree peacefully and respectfully.
Secondly, we are committed to harnessing the potential of the parent body to mobilize resources and networks to ensure infrastructural renewal and availability of competent and abundant human capital (teachers) to ensure a convenient and comfortable learning environment. We are compiling a list of what the school needs. We will be approaching the Federal Ministry of Education. The infrastructure is over-stretched. The school needs help.
Thirdly, we also want to partner with the school to ensure our teachers are happy doing their job.
Finally, we want to ensure parents do not go through stress during the open day, visiting day, resumption. Like a surgeon, we have started the surgical process of taking away their challenges. Testimonies have started rolling in. Some parents said they have never had it so good in the past six years. We are committed to their comfort.
In conclusion, at the end of our tenure, we will leave behind a more proactive, responsible, responsive, creative, innovative, inclusive Queens College Parents’ Teachers Association that the students, parents, management, old girls association and the Federal Ministry of work will be proud of.