Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Face Initiative, a civil society organisation, in collaboration with the police, the International Federation for Women Lawyers (FIDA) and other stakeholders, have called for an end to violence against school children, especially during school hours.
The groups said in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, yesterday that they were worried by what they described as the “alarming rate of violence against students in Bayelsa State,” by those supposed to protect them.
To this end, the Face Initiative, is seeking a framework for dealing with issues bordering on cases of infraction or violence inflicted on school children in the state by teachers and other educators in Bayelsa schools.
Presenting what it said was a comprehensive research project on the subject to the authorities of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Education, the group particularly urged the government to rid the state of gender-based violence in all public and private schools in the state.
“Part of the recommendations in the research is the need for the government to instill discipline in all schools in the state, and the need for all students to be compelled to leave the school premises back to their respective homes immediately the last bell rings.
“This is because a greater proportion of violence against students take place in the school,” Inatimi Odio, the Executive Director, Face Initiative said.
During the workshop in Yenagoa, Mr Odio posited that children are exposed to several forms of violence at school and urge the stakeholders to work towards ending the menace.
He noted that the stakeholders’ workshop was meant to sample views as to how to end the raging issues in the state.
In his comments, a lecturer at the Niger Delta University (NDU) Prof. Ibaba Ibaba, who was the lead speaker at the event, stressed the need for the society to give attention to gender based-violence.
He also urged the Bayelsa State Government to get a policy framework to deal with issues relating to violence in schools in the state
Ibaba, who highlighted some forms of school related gender based violence, stated that some major culprits in the violence against students, especially female children, were male corps members and school teachers.
However, he faulted the school managers for what he described as their “inability to regulate the school environment for effective and violence-free learning”
In their separate goodwill remarks, the Chairman of FIDA in the state, Dise Erhisere, senior police officers as well as Powei Otrofanowei, a representative the state Ministry of Education, vowed to ensure that the menace was nipped in the bud.