By Benedicta Apeh
Many children have lost their lives because of the neglect on the part of the actors in the school system. Families have been thrown into agony from missing their loved ones and being disappointed by a system that is meant to protect their precious ones. The safety of every child in any school must be the priority before going ahead to instill the required knowledge or education that such a child has come into the school system for.
Safety refers to “the state of being safe; freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss. It is also the quality of averting or not causing injury, danger, or loss.” So, any form of violence or attack carried out or intended on any child’s physical, mental, or emotional health must be guarded against. Anything or anyone that can cause a child to be maimed, affected negatively in any way, or left with a scar physically or physiologically must be kept far away from every child in school.
As a child steps into school, parents have automatically entrusted the care of that child to the staff in charge, and the management of that school. Therefore, everything must be done to ensure that such a child is handed over back to his or her parent in good condition. Anything short of this is sheer neglect on the part of those that should be called caregivers. And if any issue arises beyond the control of the school, the parents should be informed firsthand before the issue escalates.
Unfortunately, the education system in our country has made it very difficult for a teacher to oversee the children, because of the massive number of children in a class as seen in our government schools. The teacher’s only concern is to get into the class, shout at the top of his voice, try really hard to cover the lengthy scheme of work within the allotted weeks, set exam questions and look forward to a holiday of rest after an exhausting term period. No time to look around, observe and take note of the general well-being or even interact personally with the children in his class. Also, bad enough is that due to the rate of unemployment and the desire to meet one’s daily needs, people who have no desire to teach or have any heart for instilling knowledge into children are given employment letters and sent to the classrooms. The children are left at the mercy of these teachers who have no desire to see to their progress in any way.
Worse is the school system being turned into a money-making venture and business opportunity where the progress of the school is dependent on the populace, obtaining a certain status in society, and monies that are pumped in as fees. When schooling and quality education should be more like the bedrock that holds the nation together, which everyone in the formal education sector must see as a point of call and work toward. Insurgencies, kidnapping, and banditry that have plagued our country have also directly negatively and immensely impacted the children that should benefit from it, leaving no room for encouragement.
With all these, the children are at the receiving end, and their safety is not even made a concern at all. Internally, the school system is not safe for the children, and externally the school is being attacked by ill-meaning individuals, non-implemented or partially implemented policies, etc.
The safety of every child in school should be paramount. It is either they are kept safe or they are kept safe. Every child must be protected from any other ill-meaning child or adult looking for ways to exert negative influence or authority on them. Every report by any child of bullying or hunch that a child might be in danger should be taken seriously. Every child must be protected from even harming themselves by engaging in harmful activities that can lead their lives nowhere, by showing and guiding them along the right path, Every child must be protected from half-baked knowledge that will affect them negatively in the future, by making sure they have the right teachers and instructors. Every child must be shielded from injuries of any kind; minor or major that could injure, harm, maim, or threaten their lives by creating a safe learning space and environment. Every child should have the right to safety in the school environment and with the people assigned or that have taken up the duty to protect them. Their general well-being must be first; physical, emotional, social, etc.
As a country, as individuals, and as stakeholders who have children in our lives and all around us. It’s time to see the lives of these children as a serious business, because their feelings matter, how they fare matter, their health matters, their well-being matters, their lives matter, and their future matters. We need to be more cautious to keep our children safe. Let’s take the safety and lives of children more seriously, sacrificing our time and attention to see that this is made possible. We owe the children that much for as short or long a time as they are in our custody.
Let’s keep our children safe in the school system by all means. Safety first!
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