An online editorial about children,"Our jewels of inestimable value".We live in a world where so many mishaps happen to our children under our very noses,cases of child abduction,molestation,kidnapping,trafficking,school drop outs,abuse etc. We are here to look out for their Safety,Health,Education and also look at the best ways to take care of these God given gifts as Educators,Parents and Guardians.(Good Parenting)
These are coordinated activities and practices put in place in order to make our schools safe for children, youths, and school personnels like teachers,care givers,cleaners,drivers etc.
IS SCHOOL SAFETY THE DUTY OF SCHOOLS ALONE?
School safety is not just the duty of an individual or a school. This is the duty of everyone in the society. Individuals, security bodies, government agencies, corporate agencies etc. School safety is of utmost necessity, because real learning and assimilation cannot take place in a school environment that is unsafe and unfriendly.
For the fact that your child is not directly involved today doesn’t mean the matter should be taken less seriously. So many children, teaching and non teaching staff have gone to early graves today because of the malevolence happenings in our schools today. Our school environment should never be a place of fear, anarchy ,chaos rather a place of serenity ,comfort and peace for actual learning to take place.
The question of safety in schools, should cut across all academic sphere of learning, from that baby in the pre-school section to that youth in that Tertiary institution.
SCHOOL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT TO PROTECT OUR STUDENTS AND SCHOOL PERSONNELS FROM PROBLEMS THAT INCLUDE
1. ABDUCTION/KIDNAPPING: It is no longer news to us, how children are kidnapped in schools on a daily basis all over the world. The cases of school children abducted and used for money rituals, trafficking and for other barbaric reasons. Even the recent kidnap of school girls from Dapchi in the North Eastern part of Nigeria: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dapchi_schoolgirls_kidnapping
2.HARD DRUGS: Its so sad ,that a supposed place of learning, is now a ground for drug addicts. These days more and more students are into the abuse of hard drugs even within the school premises.There was an incidence that occurred in a school recently, where some students in high school were caught using a drug called “ Tramadol.”(a supposed painkiller) mixed with “Codeine”.This drug is similar to a narcotic,it can become a drug of addiction if misused.The rate at which this drug is abused by youths these days,is nothing to write home about. http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/tramadol-effects.htm
3. BULLYING: Bullying can come in different forms example:
(a) Physical bullying:When a child is constantly physically tormented by someone,example hitting,slapping,kicking etc.
(b)Verbal bullying:The use of insultive and abusive words on a child for no reason
(c)Social bullying:constant embarrassment and teasing in public especially among peers.
(d)Cyberbullying:This is the use of computers to send threatening,hurtful and malicious messages to a child.
Many kids have dropped out of school,worse still lost their lives because of bullying. The school environment becomes uncomfortable for learning and socializing for a child ,if he or she is constantly bullied by other students or by a teacher. Basic learning is not achieved and the mere thought of going to school becomes appalling
4. SEXUAL HARRASSMENTS:The cases of some female student who are sexually harassed by fellow male students and in other scenerios teachers victimizing these female students in other to have their ways with them. How is sound learning meant to take place in these kind of environment?.
5. CULTISM: These days ,some children get themselves initiated into various fraternities from elementary school. Most at times because of greed for money ,wanting to get things outside their allowance from home,moving with the wrong crew etc.The saddest part is that, most at times ,it doesn’t stop at primary school,it continues to high school and Tertiary instituition, except by the intervention of God. Parents have to be vigilant!. school open days:why parents should attend
6.VIOLENCE:There are cases of student threats and attacks on teachers in our learning institutions.At times even the families of these teaching staff are not spared. This could also be vice versa. It’s a pity to say that some Teachers abuse their position as “Teacher”, to inflict physical injury, verbal and mental abuse on children that have been placed in their care. They make the school environment look like a scene from an horror movie..
7.THE USE OF WEAPON: Some students smuggle weapons to the school environment, like penknives,matchets,daggers and even guns. There are many scenerios where such student used such weapons on teachers and their fellow students at the slightest provocations,leading to loss of lives.
WAYS TO MAKE SCHOOL SAFE
1.SCHOOLS SHOULD NOT BE BUILT IN REMOTE PLACES:As much as possible, schools should not be built in remote areas. They should be built close to residential areas.
2. ALL SCHOOL ENTRANCES SHOULD BE WELL MANNED WITH SECURITY:As much as possible,there should be a single entrance into the school premises, peradventure there more entrances,they should be well manned with security, and only one should be opened at a time.
3. SCHOOL POLICIES SHOULD BE ENACTED : Strong school policies should be enacted in schools, example anti-bullying, anti racial, ban of weapon, anti cultism, etc. There should also be severe penalty attached to these policies by defaulters.
4. REPORTING SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED:There should be a kind of orientation for children ,where they are encouraged to report any kind of anomaly happenings around them to their teachers,security personnels within the school and even their parents home.
5. TEACHERS SHOULD BE MORE RECEPTIVE TOWARDS THEIR PUPILS/STUDENT:A Teacher should be more receptive or approachable to their pupil or student, because you are the parents they see within the school environment. Many pupils and student suffer in silence because they feel they are all alone in the school.They often think that confiding in a teacher, on an issue might make matters worse. They rather prefer to carry the “cross” alone which is not suppose to be so.
6. SIGNING OUT POLICY BEFORE A PARENT PICKS A CHILD HOME: There should be a register for parents to sign out before picking any child home.Peraventure parent is not around to pick a child, they should put a call across to the school,before the child would be released to any body.
7.PARENTS, GUARDIANS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS SHOULD BE INVOLVED:Parents are a vital part of the community ,they should be highly involved. The school at all times,should make sure the parents are not kept in the dark with what ever transpires concerning their children.The popular association known as the” Parents Teachers Association should be kept vibrant.
8.SECURITY BODIES IN THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ALSO BE INVOLVED:Security bodies from the government and other corporate bodies should be involved “a hundred percent(100%)”. They should send delegates to visit schools,organize seminars and workshops for student,teachers and other school personnels on security tips .
Final notes: Tips on school safety,should never be taken with levity, because many innocent lives are always at stake. Therefore we all have a role to play in making our schools a safe place for learning and comfort for our children.Parents,Guardians,Educators,the communities, the government bodies, corporate bodies all coming together under an umbrella of unity to make the school the safest place our children can be.