*…poor parenting, govt policy on corporal punishment responsible
By James Ogunnaike, ABEOKUTA
IT is no longer news that students in public secondary schools in Ogun State have taken to attacking teachers and security agents.
The most recent of these was the attack on the Divisional Police Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, Obantoko Division, SP Alimeke Ignatius, who responded to a distress call to quell cult clashes between students of Asero High School and Egba High School, both in Abeokuta.
Before the attack on the DPO, a 38-year-old man, Abidemi Oluwaseun, led two thugs to attack a teacher for beating his 15-year-old daughter at Baptist Girls’ College, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of the state.
Oluwaseun invaded the school in an unregistered vehicle, accompanied by two other persons armed with dangerous weapons, to attack the said teacher. He was, however, arrested by the police alongside the two others who went with him to the school.
Similarly, a parent invaded Abeokuta Girls Grammar School, Onikolobo, Abeokuta, with thugs to beat up a teacher for reprimanding her daughter.
Findings revealed that students attacking teachers or hiring hoodlums to attack teachers have taken place at several schools across the state, including Egba High School in Abeokuta South Local Government Area, Itori Comprehensive High School in Ewekoro Local Government Area, Unity High School in Kajola area of Ibooro, Community High School in Ijoun and Ikenne Community High School.
Some stakeholders who spoke with Vanguard, blamed the ugly incident on parents who they accused of abandoning their parental responsibilities to their children in pursuit of material things, as well as government policy on corporal punishment.
They appealed to both the government and parents to wake up from their slumber and tackle the dreaded monster headlong before it degenerates into a state of anarchy in our schools.
Need for reorientation, counselling of students
The Commandant of the National School Crime Prevention Corps, Ige Folayinka, said those causing breach of peace in the schools have minds that are wounded, faulty and deteriorating, therefore, there is a need for reorientation and counselling.
Folayinka said: “We need to nurture and treat the minds of these students. Their minds are wounded, faulty and deteriorating. Once this is done, then we will put up School Crime Prevention Officers because not everybody can properly mentor the students. We need to sensitise the minds of these students.”
Lack of discipline, govt policy — Teacher
A secondary school teacher, who pleaded anonymity said: “So many causes could be advanced for this ugly trend ranging from government to homes, to society and even the schools.
“But notably or what seems to be the primary reason is the home, which is the first school of the child. You’ll find out that most parents today lack that discipline or qualities in bringing up a child.
“Most of them need proper parenting before ending up being parents. You can’t give what you don’t have and as a result, most of these kids lack the essential ingredients of good character and right values which ought to be taught from the home.
“Secondly, our government has always been playing politics with education, thereby neglecting the bedrock of sound education in the African way. And that bedrock is discipline. It’s extremely difficult to train an African child without using subtle harsh methods because an average African is inwardly recalcitrant.
“The moment government said teachers should not use corporal punishment on students, that moment, we lost it. The child now sees himself or herself as being above reprimand and goes on to misbehave. We all can see the results today.
“Coming to the school, some teachers too are found wanting. They infringe on the rights of these students and coerce them to do unholy acts and at the end of the day, it causes an internal revolution and the child may want to resist in any unwholesome way.
“These students are psychologists and they have studied their teachers and know their weaknesses and strengths. So when they want to strike, they do that with ease and the consequences are better imagined than experienced.
“To curb these acts, the government should revitalise the PTA in schools and fund them so that parents can have direct access and contribute meaningfully in the training of their wards.
“As a result of the training, kids are not left completely in the hands of teachers because teachers are not magicians and they can’t do it alone. Let levies be reintroduced to allow certain responsibilities to be taken care of by the schools so that paucity of funds won’t be a barrier to development.
“In addition, corporal punishment should not be eradicated and school administrators should be given a free hand to reprimand, correct and enforce discipline on any recalcitrant student.
Court jails secondary school student for threatening teacher’s life
To serve as a deterrent to other students, a secondary school student in the state, Segun Dosumu, was recently sentenced to three weeks imprisonment with hard labour for threatening to kill his teacher, by an Abeokuta Magistrate Court.
Dosumu, a student of Eyinni Comprehensive High School, Iboro, Yewa North Area of the state, pleaded guilty to the charge preferred against him.
Consequently, after the review of facts of the case by the Prosecutor, ASP Wale Diyaolu, the Magistrate, Mr S. S. Sotayo convicted Dosumu of the charge.
Sotayo said besides the admission of guilt, all evidence presented in court proved beyond reasonable doubt that the convict was guilty of the offence as charged.
The magistrate, therefore, sentenced the convict to three weeks in the correctional centre with hard labour, but with an option of N200,000 fine.
Dosunmu threatened to kill or injure Mr. Ismail Fadeyi, his teacher, with a bottle.
Ogun govt vows to send erring students to Juvenile Home
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Government said any student culpable of criminal and unlawful acts risk being sent to a Juvenile Home to undergo character reformation.
The Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu who said this in Abeokuta described the attacks on teachers and security agents by secondary school students as appalling and unacceptable.
He warned students across the state, to desist from criminal acts, saying that the government would no longer spare students notwithstanding their age, they will be made to face the full weight of the law.
Arigbabu said: “I want to stress it here, that as a state, we will not condone such acts of indiscipline. We are working together with the Police to make sure that anyone caught will be sent to the Juvenile Home for reformation. We want to rid our schools of such criminal behaviours and we will not relent until we achieve this.
“The governor is worried about the unruly trend of hoodlums coming into our schools to beat up our teachers, and he has frowned at such acts of indiscipline. Therefore, any student caught in this act would be made to face the full wrath of the law alongside their accomplices.
“Ogun State is known for being the home of respectable and responsible citizens and we will not allow any action that would tarnish our image.”
ASUSS attributes attacks to collapse of core values
With the recurring incidents of attacks on both the teachers and security agents in the state by secondary school students, the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, ASUSS, under the leadership of Akeem Lasisi, has strongly condemned the act, saying it is unacceptable.
Lasisi, who noted that the collapse of core moral values in the society, is one of the reasons some students misbehave against their teachers, said urgent measures to address the issue by government and other stakeholders is critical to avert the breakdown of law and order in our schools.
He said: “Their mental, psychological, physiological and emotional stabilities should be our utmost priority and concern. We are smiths, so, patience and calmness will be needed to reform many of our students.
“This strange development got to its height with the recent report of the stoning of the DPO of Obantoko Division of the Nigeria Police Force and the news of the death of a teacher which filtered in from our neighbouring state of Lagos.”
On his part, a school proprietor, Dr. Ransome Oboh attributed the evil act to parental, societal, religious failure built on the growing negative act and practice of justifications of unjustifiable, abnormality and celebration of criminality.
Oboh said: “Most parents whose ignorance of the place and role of their children’s upbringing by society and religion stupidly say that they wouldn’t want their children to pass through the ugly side of their yesterday. By implication, they end up spoiling their children unknowingly.
“Today, most parents don’t encourage the yesterday act and practice of the discipline of their children, they do go to school to either fight the teachers or abuse the teachers in the presence of the children. Invariably, such students will neither respect nor obey the teachers in schools.
“Parents should report children’s observed misbehaviour at home. Teachers should report students’ behaviour in school to parents.
“Students should be taught the place and role of discipline in the total upbringing in life, if the rate of indiscipline, immoral act and practice, and corruption, must be adequately checked.”