Sylvester Oromoni: CPN demands justice, compulsory child protection policy in schools

The Lagos State chapter of Child Protection Network, CPN has called for thorough investigation and justice on the death of Sylvester Oromoni, a student allegedly beaten by his mates leading to his death.

CPN, a UNICEF initiative group, lamented the death of the 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, who was alleged to have been bullied by friends that tried to initiate him into cultism.

In a statement on Monday, the State Coordinator of the Child Right Group, Aderonke Oyelakin, called on the state government and the police in the state to ensure perpetrators of the late student’s death are brought to book.

Aderonke who condoled with the student’s family, also implored the state government to supervise and ensure that child protection policies are executed in all schools within the state.

According to her, “Most school owners and staff need proper orientation on the protection of children in their care because their manners of protecting these children sometimes is worrisome adding that,  “because of this, we call on the state government to effectively monitor the same”.

The Lagos State Child Protection Network says all schools have full responsibility in respect of their “duty of care” to protect children and to support pupils/students in the school, saying “these are givers/teachers have day to day contact with individual children during school terms, they are therefore particularly well placed to observe outward signs of abuse, changes in behaviour or failure to develop” (Working Together – Under the Children Act, 1989). Teachers, teaching assistants and other school supervisors should note that reporting the suspicion of child abuse, “in good faith” exempts them from sanction by the law.

“We demand an abuse free environment for children in Lagos State irrespective of the kind of school they attend, private or government.

“We demand that child protection policy should be mandatory for every school or place where children are and must be pasted in a conspicuous area within the premises. In case of any mishap or abuse while in the school’s custody, the caregivers/teachers & support staff must be responsible and accountable for their safety.

“A few weeks back, a girl in America took her own life because she was being bullied. We thought that was the worst-case scenario until a few days ago when we heard that this boy was allegedly beaten to death by his schoolmates. This is so worrisome”, Oyelakin lamented.

Speaking on parents’ roles in child upbringing, Aderonke, called on the parents and guardians to up their games on raising children properly.

“The question is who is raising these children that committed these acts? Parents need to do more and know who their children are. You need to know if your child is a bully or an accomplice to a bully or even a bystander when another child is being bullied? Parents also need to ask themselves a question whether he or she is contributing to making his/her child a victim of bullying.

“Many parents have outsourced the grooming responsibilities and outsourced it to the schools who are mostly only interested in the school fees.

“Where do you fall in all of these? Are you raising a bully or a victim? You see, it’s neither good to raise a bully nor a victim. We need to become conscious and deliberate about raising kind and confident children who know how to stand up, speak up and defend themselves against bullies,” CPN said.

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