More problems may be brewing for Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos State, as another parent complained of her son’s bullying in the school.
In a viral video of a zoom meeting held by Concerned Parents and Educators Initiative after the death of Sylvester Oromoni, mother of a student at the school lamented how her son was bullied by the senior in an occultic like gathering at night. Gistmeblog247 reports
She said the school, despite collecting N3 million for tuition fees had failed to ensure adequate protection of the children in the school.
Meanwhile, one Mr Samuel, a former staff of the school has faulted the Dowen College system and structure which gives room to bullying.
Samuel said, “I was a guidance counselor for many years. I want to say that I worked at Dowen College for several years. One of the problems we have with boarding houses today is that the structures are not purposed-built for boarding houses. I might be referring to Dowen College. Now a situation where you have several floors and no floor has a house parent monitoring the students, by the time you hear a sound and go upstairs, the seniors have changed the story.
“From the first day they moved the children from hired buildings into the permanent hostel, it was a time bomb waiting.
“Eventually I resigned. I left there and went to A’ Hall because of that situation. The children are not well monitored. I shouldn’t say so much about a place where I am not working.”
The aggrieved mother then interjected: “Why did you not say it since? Why are you just saying it now when a child has died? My son was bullied and almost died in Dowen College.
“Why did you keep this for nine years and then you left the school? My son was a victim. They did exactly what they did to Sylvester to my boy. They put off the light; they beat him; they were dancing around; they put a box on his head – seven of them. They forced my son to kneel down; they put a suitcase on his head; they were dancing around him like an acoustic thing.
“At the same time, they took out a phone and recorded it. That video is online somewhere. Now you are telling me that you left Dowen because of the bullying. Why did you not say so that people like us will not put our children in that hole?
“I have been crying since Thursday when I saw the video. I have not eaten; I have not drunk; I have not slept. A child has died. That was 11year old – the same age as my son. He could have been my son. I was lucky but Sylvester was not lucky. You tell me you observed this for nine years then you left. On what basis are you talking?” She said.
She added that “everything Sylvester Oromoni said is the truth.”
“The principal told me that she saw my son’s video of being bullied but she did not think it was important to act because it was not yet online. So she slept on it.
“And you tell me that you knew and you allowed us to bring our children to the school. The school was collecting N3 million and you cannot put an ordinary CCTV camera? My 11-year-old boy just join them in September and they bullied him – seven boys,” she said.
However, the CPE has called on the government to pay unscheduled visits to boarding houses across the state.
According to a statement issued after the meeting, the CPE said “The Concerned Parents and Educators Initiative has called on government to address critical issues in the Education sector. This call was made in a communique sent to the media after a meeting with key stakeholders on Saturday 4th December.
“The Virtual meeting with over 440 participants was attended by Parents, Schoolowners, Nigerians in the diaspora, Teachers, Counsellors and other key stakeholders in the education sector.
“According to the founder of the group, Mrs Yinka Ogunde, the issues at stake even go beyond the education sector. This is a time that we must all come together as a nation and choose to re-examine our values and the impact of it in the lives of young Nigerians. It is a period that calls for urgent National reorientation.
“The meeting was held to discuss some of the critical issues that the Dowen College incident has brought to light.
Participants made various suggestions on how to tackle the problems encountered by Nigerian children in the boarding school
1. Discipline in our schools should be well defined.
2. Schools should have a system where students can report bullying without fear of victimization.
3. CPE should have a desk office to report incidents of bullying.
4. The ministry of education and youth ministry needs to set up monitoring criteria and set up formidable task force to ensure safeguarding of boarding schools.
5. Ministry of education should have regular unplanned visits to boarding schools and ratings should be made public.
6. Schools should have safeguarding policies.
7. Peer mentoring
8. Suggestion box should be made use of in schools.
9. Boarding house should be well structured for that purpose with well trained full time staff.
10. CCTV cameras should be installed in the hostels.
11. Whistle-blowing policy in schools.
12. Government should partner with NGO’s to monitor schools.
13. Government should organize regular training for hostel staff.”
Mrs Ogunde assured that CPE would continue engagement with stakeholders “to work towards driving change in the education sector.”
Kabir Olanrewaju Ishowo is a Kwara-Born, a community developer, An Online Media Practioner and the CEO/Publisher of Gistmeblog247.