Nigerians who watched a recent viral video of senior students punishing a group of junior students were shocked to the core.
Junior students were whipped with sticks of various sizes, leather belts, and beaten in the most inhumane manner. One of the victims was even punished naked.
It was such a dehumanizing experience that prompted the Edo state government to issue a firm statement, signed by at least one person as the secretary of the state government – a clear indication that the government was deeply dismayed. by what happened and that he took the appropriate action. to initiate justice for the victims. The government of Edo State is to be commended for the direct action it took in this horrific incident.
It goes without saying that the incidence of bullying is on the rise again in most secondary schools in the country, except in a few schools where the authorities of these schools are very vigilant and have mechanisms in place to deal with the slightest protests. of bullying. Schools are created with the aim of educating children intellectually and morally. As in any setting where there is a gathering of young people like a school, and especially those with boarding schools, bullying of junior students by senior students or even stronger students against their weaker classmates is a trend. data that manifests itself during interaction between students.
Incidentally, the threat called bullying is not associated only with boys in schools. High school students are even worse. Bullying happens in private, public, and missionary schools as long as you have teens from different backgrounds in the same school.
It goes without saying that bullying negatively affects the victim’s psyche and produces character traits that can be detrimental to society as a whole, as the threat causes victims to harden themselves and lose some sense of purpose. ‘humanity. This engenders a quest for revenge in the upper classes and similarly intimidates the juniors. A relatively innocent junior student of JSS 2 who is being bullied could develop a phobia about living in a boarding house, which should have been a valuable character-building experience resulting from community living and shared beneficial exposure.
It is gratifying that effective school authorities do not sleep on their oars or pamper the threat. Such school authorities effectively wield the baton of punishment, even to the extent of the exclusion of notorious student bullies. This is the way to go because bullying leaves a bitter taste, serious psychological and physical injuries.
A relevant question is: why do senior students bully juniors? I met a student, Favor Ngwangwa, who lives in my neighborhood and asked him the question posed in this paragraph.
In response, he said, âI went to a mission school in the East. The number one reason we bullied junior students during our time was because we were seriously intimidated as junior students. “
Taking off his shirt, he showed me the scars from the cane he used to whip him. Then he added, âBullying is nothing new in schools, and it hasn’t started today; it has become a generational thing like passing the torch. Those who intimidated us were also intimidated by their elders and it became a vicious circle of evil that quietly crept into the institutions. It saw decades before it happened to us because no one can trace the history of bullying. It’s as old as the boarding school system. Most of our parents can also give a full testimony about the school bullying they experienced in one way or another.
Notably, the threat could be compared to bigotry in universities, which started out small and then evolved into the evil it is today. It has caused great damage to the social fabric of universities and to society in general. According to Ngwangwa, the government will take strict measures in collaboration with school authorities to eradicate bullying.
Certainly, there is a need for senior students to maintain discipline in schools, however, there is no justification for senior students to descend on junior students and inflict animal treatment on them as if they were criminal criminals. common. There is simply no justification for this. Often times, he does this to prove his superiority and feed his ego.
Another former student told me, âOur elders have done very inhumane things to us. They used wire as well as chains to lock chairs to tables in classrooms and sticks with nails to whip us, for doing nothing. Why didn’t you report to the school authority, I asked him? “If you make a report and the elder is likely kicked out or disembarked, his classmates would take turns looking after you.” It was this fear and intimidation and pressure that made us keep our lips sealed and wallow in pain until our bruised bodies healed. This is what we passed on to the junior students and from them to their own juniors.
The other side of bullying is when a senior decides to extort a junior student and is stubborn (in the opinion of the senior student). It goes like this: a senior student could call a junior student and ask them to provide snacks like four sausages (Gala or similar) and a bottle of soft drink without giving the junior student any money. The senior could even ask the junior to buy food for a certain amount. The junior student would be the one who would figure out how to meet the senior’s demand, even if it means stealing from his classmates, as long as the senior is happy, that’s fine. If the junior pupil fails, in the wee hours of the night, the elder will come in force when there is no hiding place because the master of the house and the other school authorities would also have gone to rest. Unless the case was reported by a daring junior student, no one would hear about the midnight exercise as it would die in the ears and eyes of other student spectators who saw or heard anything. When the boy is dragged into the senior dormitory, the same senior and his comrades pull out a chain, a whip, a stick with nails and ask the failing junior to choose which one he wants to be whipped with. And indeed, he will get the flogging and beatings of his life for no reason whatsoever. Most of them suffer horrific injuries from older students.
Senior students who see themselves as lord and master do not like to share hallways, aisles, stairs or even the field with juniors. Juniors have to step back for them or get an instant slap for hanging out with them. Some students make life difficult for others in the name of seniority.
There have also been instances where blood ties have helped their classmates bully their junior parent in the same school. Take the case of Boma Adolphus, an older cousin of Pere Wilcox, who mobilized his classmates to intimidate his younger cousin because he refused to be extorted by him.
Winifred James, who is completing her college education, also attended co-ed high school. Recalling how the 12th graders treated her at school, she said, âWhile I was in SS1, the school principal seriously admired me and wanted me to be his girlfriend. He would send me gifts to attract me more; whenever he had the chance, he would come to my class to talk to me. Most of his peers were aware of his quest to get closer. I hadn’t really given him my consent, but when he came to my class, I would go out to see him. During this time, I did not know that his class girls who were also my oldest were already angry and compiling my file. During a short argument in the dormitory, eight girls came down on me with a mop, a hard rubber slipper, and the legs of a broken plastic chair. It was a free fight for all; I targeted one and bit her finger. Hot blood spattered our dormitory that night. Our matrons ran to save me. The case was taken to the school authority and all the senior girls were suspended from the dormitory. On resumption, their parents were forced to sign a commitment to good behavior. As the case unfolded at school that week, some students criticized me for having a boyfriend in a senior year class, let alone a head prefect while the food hadn’t been around for the final year girls.
Girls do not have the audacity to extort from college students, but they want total respect, their seniority recognized, intact and protected. There is nothing wrong if a senior asks a junior to wash his shirt, sweep the corner, or at most kneel down as a punishment, but the amount of hitting that goes on is unreasonable.
Again, bullying could be executed this way: Parents of an undergraduate student visit him at school. Any gifts they brought him could be immediately snatched from the young child, leaving him empty-handed.
Dear Nigerians, the time has come for the school authorities to sit down, to be more vigilant to protect the youngest. Once a child is returned to school as a boarder, the school authorities, from the principal to the guardian, have a duty to ensure the safety of that child. Under the law, they could be held vicariously liable for negligent conduct that could be shown to have caused serious bodily harm to a child in the hostel at a distance. Perhaps this is the reason why some schools have found it advisable to install CCTV cameras in parts of the school premises for security and other reasons. When older students with a tendency to bully realize that their treacherous behavior could be videotaped as evidence, they will begin to hold their “demons” in check. Dormitories could be searched or rearranged unexpectedly by security personnel with the naked eye.