Child Safety: When to spare the rod

While growing up if you dared to come to school late, you were flogged like a criminal that committed a heinous offence by your teacher, I hated going to school because any slight mistake you make as a child was corrected with flogging.

It was as if the teacher enjoyed flogging students. I remember my
childhood friend then from a poor home, they could barely eat one square meal talk less of two. She was so skinny and obviously looked malnourished but she was bright and did very well in school despite her poor background.
She was always flogged for paying her school fees late. I remember our
mathematics teacher flogging her like a deranged man, when she couldn’t pay her lesson fees and after beating her, she was sent home.

My friend cried bitterly, her screams and pleas pierced my heart, even as a grownup I still shudder each time I remember it, I will never forget how hurt and helpless she was, as a child I knew it was so unfair, I hated witnessing such brutality, it was not her fault that her parents could not afford her school fees, why met out such cruelty on a vulnerable child who was facing her own challenges, my friend went to school without food most times and suffered so much hardship at home, her parents struggled to make ends meet.

It was so sad seeing our crazy teachers then beating malnourished, hungry, nervous and sad children whose parents couldn’t pay their school fees. Was it their fault? Is this the right punishment to give to children who we hope would compete with other children in the world?

These were helpless children who did nothing wrong to warrant such inhumane treatment.

This happened while growing up and it still happens today, this is
senseless. Nigerian teachers still think the appropriate way of correcting children is through cane. They believe that it is the best form of discipline. It is very common in schools especially public schools to see teachers flogging children like animals, these children are left with horrible marks and scars on their body.

There have been cases of corporal punishment that has gone drastically wrong, so many children have either lost their sight, ear impaired or even died as a result of extreme flogging.

Most teachers are ignorant of the fundamental rights of children which are violated by corporal punishment. The child’s right act clearly forbids battery, physical assault and abuse in any form. This law should be properly enforced in schools. Children must be protected and corrected with love especially by their teachers who are there to mould their character.
There are so many ways of disciplining a child without flogging. By brutalizing children in the name of discipline, a teacher is doing more
harm than good, that child’s self esteem and cognitive development is being killed. The child feels worthless becomes aggressive, rugged, and very timid.

Majority of Nigerian parents ignorantly support corporal punishment,
I have heard parents encourage teachers to flog their children without
knowing the adverse effect of such punishment and without thinking of the possibility of the child getting seriously injured.

It is my opinion that flogging should be banned in schools; no research has proven that children who are beaten excessively turn out good. Corporal punishment has yielded unsuccessful result, with all the beatings given for
late coming in Nigerian schools, we are still known for coming late to
events, even schools start their events late, I have never attended any
event hosted by a Nigerian school where they started early and they are so
unapologetic about it while in other countries where children are not
beaten for coming to school late are known for keeping to time. It is time
schools live up to the examples they try to enforce on their learners.

Njideka Obi, Child safety Advocate, 08060424282

[email protected]

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