Restriction of Teachers’ Right to Punish Children: A Panacea for Sexual Abuse of Children by Teachers

Madam Joy woke up that Sunday morning with a rare kind of excitement. It was her daughter’s visiting day. She was hasty with her routine that day because she made a promise to her daughter, Nancy, that she would arrive early for that visiting day. She eventually arrived at Nancy’s school as planned and was among the first set of parents to visit their children.

Unfortunately, her visit took an unexpected turn when she met her daughter. She immediately gave Nancy a curious glance and could not hold back her tears.

“What happened? Who did this to you? What offense did you commit?” Madam Joy asked spontaneously in quick succession.

Nancy held her mum’s hand tightly and wept.

“I have not been able to please them with anything I did since the day I turned down Mr. Joe’s request to visit him at an odd hour in an obscure room in the school.”

Nancy said that she became suspicious of that teachers’ invitation because of the experiences of students who have honoured such invitations. Madam Joe was so disturbed by the development that she immediately reported the case to the school principal, and this excited immediate investigation by the school authority. The outcome of the investigation was quite revealing.

Mr. Joe, a teacher in the school could not have his way with Nancy in his usual habit of inviting female students for sexual escapades. He therefore commenced the application of his usual strategy of coaxing his victims into complying with his evil demand. His strategy was to exaggerate little offenses by such students and severely punish them. Mr. Joe was not alone in this practice. He had a clique of teachers who would also apply the same strategy on their victims in order to achieve the results they desired.

The teachers were able to actualise their evil plan because of the freedom the school gave them to inflict all sorts of punishment on the students in the name of disciplinary measures.

Even though Madam Joy withdrew her child from that school for obvious reasons, the school still commended her effort at exposing such evil and ensuring that it was properly dealt with.

Parenting Lessons

  1. It is obvious from this story that school policy on disciplinary measure is a necessity! Discretionary power to teachers on this issue has yielded nothing but confusion.
  2. In compiling such a policy, it may be necessary to prohibit male teachers from punishing female students because of the spate of violence and abuse against women. It should, however be noted that female students are as exposed as the male students to sexual abuse in school. Accusing fingers have been pointed at all cadres of workers in the school environment including principals, headmasters and proprietors.
  3. It should be noted that a school policy on disciplinary measures should explicitly state The Students’ Grievance Procedure. Perhaps Nancy would have made a formal complaint about her ordeal if this was in place in her school.
  4. The fact that education to protect children from sexual abuse should be given in schools and homes need not be overemphasised. Reference should be made to our seminar guide on the topic. It is in the devotional menu on the Passion in Parenting blog.
  5. Parents are well-positioned to provide help and support to children in their daily challenges if effective parenting skills are applied.

Effective parenting is non-violent, godly, lovely, and peaceful. It produces admirable results and protects the child.

Keep learning it! Keep practising it! Keep sharing it!

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

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