Feature News Analysis

Bullying of Students Living in Boarding Schools

Schools have always been recognized as institutions for transfer of knowledge and culture to future generation. 

It is a dynamic human system dedicated to the nurturing of mutual growth and understanding between children and adults.

The school is also expected to be a place where students should feel safe and secure and where they can count on being treated with respect and care.

There are day and boarding schools and the major purpose of boarding was for communal coexistence among students from different background and culture.

Some scholars believe that boarding school is essential for the overall development and growth of a child and the most critical aspect of boarding schools are the networking opportunities it renders.

The students learn the importance of tolerance and respect for different views and perspective through the bonds they develop in such a close-knit educational setting. 

The reality, however, seems to be that only few students or pupils can harmoniously blend with their school mates without experiencing violence in their various learning environments. 

The extreme cases of bullying in Nigerian boarding schools have gone on for decades and it is seen as a lifestyle that students are expected to adapt to.

Bullying in Nigerian boarding schools seems to be an acceptable culture which unfortunately might have sent some students to their early graves while some sustained a life time injury both physically and mentally. 

While hearing some of the stories of bullying, such like sexual molestation, gang rape, exploitation and torture of students in Nigerian boarding schools bring to memories the pictures of traumatic scenes and horror movies which are cringe worthy.

For example, some months back, a mother, Mrs. Deborah Okezie posted a video on social media, where she cried out that her eleven year old son, a student of a private school in Uyo, Akwa -Ibom state, was sexually molested by his seniors.

Last week, a video went viral in Benin City, Edo state, where some students were seen brutalizing and humiliating their classmates where one of them was stripped naked.

The development has led the state government to suspend the principal, housemaster and all the students involved in the abusive behaviour while they have also been handed over to the ministry of justice for investigation and prosecution in accordance with the child rights law.

  The question is, will this erase the trauma of the harassed student?

Stealing of boarder’s food stuff, beverages, cash, clothing and other personal belongings by seniors have traumatized the juniors who are helpless.

The consequences of bullying could be far reaching ranging from low self esteem to increased violence and juvenile crime within the school environments. 

The act of bullying at the end not only does more harm to the intended victims and the perpetrators, but may affect morale of teachers and indirectly, the capacity of all students to learn to the best of their ability.

To reduce the incidence of bullying and prevent its occurrence, individual, groups and systematic interventions need to be implemented in schools and it must include students, teachers, administrators, parents and host community.

There should be an established and strictly followed zero tolerance to bullying in schools.

Guardians and councilors should administer surveys to determine the extent of the problem in schools.

It is essential also that surveillance camera should be mounted in strategic places in schools for proper monitoring of daily activities of students by schools authorities. 

Above all, ministries of education should come up with a strong and firm disciplinary measure for violators to serve as deterrent for others to reduce the spate of bullying in boarding schools. 

Rasheedat Makinde

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