HOW A SCHOOL DISCHARGES IT’S DUTY OF CARE TO PROTECT CHILDREN IN THE EYE OF THE LAW
Omale (not his real name), 10 was registered in a boarding school, where he spent less than a session. He was withdrawn from school due to ill health. The child suffered from ailments constantly during his stay in the boarding school and was admitted into the hospital twice.
The parents complained that the child lost a lot of weight while he was in the custody of the school and suffered untold trauma as he became extremely afraid, disoriented, and uncoordinated in his behaviour and utterances.
His parents removed him from the school on the verge of writing a promotion examination and took him away for medical and psychosocial treatments.
It was in the cause of the medical and psychosocial treatments that experts found out from the child that he was terribly bullied and sexually molested by two senior students in the boarding school. The child alleged that he reported the cases of bullying and sexual abuse to his boarding school housemaster, who promised to deal with the matter but never did anything about it.
The parents contacted a lawyer, who wrote to the school on their behalf, stating their case and requesting a fact-finding meeting with the leadership of the school.
At the meeting, the lawyer requested the school to walk him through their Children Protection System, codified into a policy, broken down into processes, on which every stakeholder is trained periodically and which is subject to annual or biennial review. The school admitted such was not in existence. They also did not have an antibulling policy.
The lawyer concluded and opined to the school that the case against them was far from the allegation that his client’s son was bullied and sexually abused. The real case against the school, according to the lawyer was that they do not have the standard preventive machinery in place to protect the children under their care.
It is the conclusion of the law today that the only way a school discharges the duty of care towards all the precious children under it’s care is to show in tangible terms, the operational processes it has in place, subject to its Child Protection System codified into a policy.
More often than not, schools, who have in place the system described above may not be entirely immune from cases of abuse but reduces their occurrences to the barest minimum.
The question today is this: how many schools can boast that they have in a place such tested preventive machinery? Yet until majority of our schools both at the private and public spaces embrace this the education of our precious children will be grossly incomplete and there lies the urgent importance of our #NOPROTECTIONNOSCHOOL Campaign to which we invite you today.
To gain CLARITY, please check out and share our campaign declaration here https://youtu.be/d3SR1ydXoac. Do have an INSPIRED day.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI
S.A.F.E® for Children ETHICIST