Unlike the old times, when families spent time together and most activities were domestic, so one didn’t necessarily have to be far off from home to accomplish a task, things have changed. These days, families spend time away from home and each other. Children are sent off to school, while the parents go to their workplaces. Going with the current style of living, we notice that a lot of time is spent away from home , especially for children. The average Nigerian child spends about nine months out of the year (for those in a boarding school) away from home. Day students on the other hand are in school for five days a week, from the early morning hours to late afternoon. During these times, who’s responsible for your child at school?Thinking about this, you see it’s a complicated matter. In general, most people would say the school is responsible for the child’s safety and this is quite true.
Schools have been considered to be some of the safest places in our nation. But of recent, we’ve been receiving reports of gunshots at schools as well as missing or abducted students. These incidences keep occurring and it’s getting to a point where one considers it normal,but this shouldn’t be the case. Contrary to what is expected of a school being safe and all, I’m afraid to say that our schools are no longer safe.
When you walk into a school for the first time, there are some visible indicators that lets you know whether or not it’s safe. You might notice that the building and its surrounding property is clean, well-lit and well maintained. These factors promote a sense of safety and security. School safety however goes beyond what can been seen on a tour of its facilities. For a school to be safe, so many factors such as the learning environment, the staff, students as well as parents involved with the school must have proper safety measures in place. This helps to handle any type of emergency that might occur. Notice I made mention of “the staff”, this is because teachers and others in positions of authority could also be bullies. You should have heard of stories where teachers punish students unjustly and these students in turn refuse to speak up at home for fear of such teachers. Where then should we find safety for our children if the schools are no longer safe?
A safe school should be one where pupils, students, parents and staff can go and not be concerned by external threats such as, intruders, kidnappers or bullies. Even when security measures have been put into place, it should be invisible to those protected by them, it should have a relaxed and serene feel, with one or two students and members of staff occasionally seen moving about and also the voices of children and teachers ringing out, as they engage in learning. It shouldn’t feel like a hide and seek zone. Also,it is extremely important for schools to control access to the premises and its students. Those involved with the school should know of its rules and regulations, because when everyone knows what is expected, it is less likely for a problem to occur.
As a parent, before enrolling your child in a school, you should ask certain questions concerning these regulations, if anything, a good school should have a handbook for parents or guardians addressing its rules. Ask questions pertaining to health management, how safe it is for a child to make reports especially if another student is involved, ask whether or not they have a background check on the staff, are there security cameras installed in order to monitor movements within and outside the school and so on. These questions are important because most of the tragic occurrences in schools are due to the negligence on the part of those in authority. Most of these schools set up flashy structures and have fancy uniforms that lure parents in, without putting proper safety measures in place. There have been cases of students sustaining injuries on the playground as a result of the swings or slides in poor conditions. Sometimes you hear of sick students not being attended to or not being given the right medication which could lead to serious health problems.Although, we can’t blame all incidences on the school, it is still very important that necessary measures are put in place to prevent such crises.
So my advice is that parents should encourage and make sure their children report and reach school safely. And they should also enrol their children in security-cautious schools instead of just looking at the good buildings and probably the academic excellence. And to the government, please help ensure that schools have an acceptable standard of security before approval is granted. Also bodies should be created to monitor schools by carrying inspection at designated times. This is in order to make sure schools go with and maintain a good level of security. Until we rightly address the issue concerning our schools and their safety, we’ll definitely continue to have more problems. We shouldn’t forget that the society needs children, for they are the future. So, let’s do what’s right for them by seeing to it that they are always safe both at home and school.


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