Yomi Otubela, the National President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools have begged Nigerians to stop making unsavoury comments on the Chrisland saga and consider the mental well-being of the minors involved.
NAPPS recommended that the “children involved should be taken to experts in mental health for adequate intervention and rehabilitation”.
It also commended the “swift intervention of the Lagos State Government and the police by taking over the investigation of the matter”.
While reacting to some sections of the media apportioning blame to the school, Otubela noted that the issue of moral decadence cuts across every aspect of the society, stressing that a more concerted effort is needed to nip the malaise in the bud.
He also stated that parents must take a greater role in shaping their children’s future by inculcating morally acceptable behaviour in them. Otubela also urged schools to take decisive actions on the issue of morally bankrupt learners without fear and favour.
According to him, schools must take appropriate and well-documented steps to deal with deviant behaviours noticed in their learners.
He also suggested that schools should have a child protection policy in place and properly engage parents, staff members, students and other stakeholders on how to ensure strict adherence.
He stated, “The attention of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) has been drawn to the viral sex video involving students of Chrisland schools Lagos while representing their school at the World School Games held in Dubai recently and the resulting public outcry it has since generated over the social media.
“While we condemn in its entirety the act as depicted in the said video involving the minors, we appeal for caution from members of the public and enjoin them to refrain from making unsavoury comments over the issue for the sake of the mental well-being of the minors involved.
“Moreover, we have confidence in the ability of the police authority, the officials of the ministry of education and the school authority to do the needful on the issue.
“Going forward, we wish to address the issue of moral decadence in schools with a view to minimising the occurrence of issues around it.
“The acts portraying moral decadence are not exclusive to schools as the issue cuts across every aspect of our society. Since children are a reflection of the society they live in, it, therefore, shows that a concerted effort will be needed to nip the malaise in the bud.
“Sadly, moral decadence has eaten deep into the moral fabrics of the society and the result is what we are witnessing today in the society including our educational institutions.
“Most studies show that parents are to take the larger portion of the blame for children’s behaviour, hence, parents must take a greater role in shaping their children’s future by inculcating morally acceptable behaviour in them.
“They must bear in mind that children’s moral development begins at home. The school is to complement their efforts. Unfortunately, parents are shying away from this responsibility rather they prefer to shift this responsibility to the schools.
“This neglect of parental responsibility from home has made it a herculean task for the school to achieve much progress. For instance, when the background of a child is already faulty and without the needed support from home to effectively collaborate with the school management to address the identified challenges, one can only imagine how such a child will turn out to be in society.
“It is only effective collaboration between the school and the home that can bring out a morally rich child. It is sad to note that this much-needed collaboration has been lacking in our educational system due to societal pressure which has created a communication gap between the school and home.
“Parents are not usually present to monitor their children at home due to pressure from work and unending heavy vehicular traffic, especially in the city. This makes many parents leave home as early as 5 am and return home from 9 pm in the evening. No quality time with the children.
“Given the gross reduction in moral values, parents are advised to pay special attention to the emotional needs of their children.
“Also, we are aware of the fact that we are in an era where the use of technological devices has become imperative to advance the course of mankind, parents must ensure that they devise a means to monitor what their children watch to restrict them from accessing adult sites at home.
“Some television programs, including the reality TV shows, should be properly censored by appropriate government agencies before allowing them on cable TV.
“The school management must be alive to its responsibility by taking decisive actions on the issue of morally bankrupt learners in their schools without fear and favour. Appropriate and well-documented steps must be taken to deal with deviant behaviours noticed in their learners.
“Every school should have a child protection policy in place and properly engage parents, staff members, students and other stakeholders on how to ensure strict adherence to the instructions contained in the policy. Technological devices used by students in schools must be restricted to ensure students are limited to educational sites only.
“Parenting programmes should be organized periodically by the school authorities periodically to sensitise parents and the school on how to appropriately deal with negative issues regarding their children.
“The society should pay equal attention in counselling boy child as we do for the girl child. They both need to be fully guarded and provided for as they approach puberty.
“More worrisome is the unabated use of substances among teenagers in primary and secondary schools. The situation is already getting out of hand. Except the relevant government agencies restrategise and double their effort in combating this ugly situation, we are all in for trouble.”
Speaking further on the closure of the school units in Lagos State, Otubela said this may further affect the students, whose parents are not always available to cater for them.
Otubela, however, suggested that the Lagos State Monitoring and Supervisory committee be introduced to the Chrisland Schools Management team.
He added, “While we are in support of the swift move by the Lagos state government to investigate the issue, we view with concern the recent announcement of the state government to shut down all branches of Chrisland Schools in the state over the said sex video.
“We feel shutting down all the branches of the school might deny other children their rights to learn more and for those in the terminal classes the right to continue their preparation for their final examinations.
“Equally of concern is the fact that the parents, as observed above, are not always available for the upkeep of these children. So, we are disturbed about what becomes of these children for the period of the closure.
“However, we support that Lagos State Monitoring and Supervisory committee be introduced among Chrisland Schools Management team pending the conclusion of the investigation.
“We await the outcome of the government investigation on the alleged gross negligence on the part of Chrisland Schools to allow students of such age bracket sleep alone without the presence of a teacher of the same sex, as well as the allegations of the school poor communication, the delay for over a month after the incident before calling the attention of the minor’s parents to the exact issue. This will help us make informed decisions.”