Again, Queens College – by Frank Ofili132 views
Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, is an educational institution. It is an organisation.
An organisation is group of people with a particular purpose. The particular purpose of Queens College is to provide education and learning to female school children.
Every organisation, Queens College inclusive, has certain features. These include structure, hierarchy of authority, division of Labour, specialization, a set of formal rules and a process and procedure for doing things.
Another characteristic of an organisation is the culture. This is a norm developed over time that it has formed part of the ethos (a set of guiding beliefs or ideals) of the organisation.
Of course, it goes without saying that anybody who belongs, or wishes to belong, to an organisation must give up a part of their personal privileges for the overall good. Such a person must pledge to abide by the rules and regulation of the organisation. If the person is not yet an adult, then their parents or guardian is expected to give such pledge.
I have no doubt that Queens College has these outlined features.
I am sure that even in our private lives, we have a set of values and morals we cherish and wish to instil in our children. Which is why I find what transpired recently at Queens College, Yaba, utterly reprehensible on all fronts.
Why does it seem that this school is always on the wrong side of news? If it is not in the news for sexual harassment, it is for outbreak of cholera due to contaminated water or poor sanitary condition. In 2017, three female students in the school died of cholera.
The school is, again, in the news. Again, for the wrong reason.
On Tuesday, 20 November 2019, a video went viral on social media platforms where a woman, whose teenage daughter is a student of the Federal Government-owned school was spotted fighting a security guard of the school. Trouble started when the girl was disallowed entry into the school for wearing make-up and fixing artificial eyelashes. It is not clear if this is in contravention of the school’s rules and regulation. But let us assume it does.
Many have condemned the action of the woman, first for allowing her daughter to break the rules of the school, and second for the even more serious matter of fighting the school security guard who denied her erring daughter entry into the school.
As a parent, I know my responsibility to my children, as is with all parents, I suppose, is to give them good education, live by example, instil in them good moral and ethical conduct, teach them how to function independently and to be obedient and law-abiding citizens.
The woman, in my view failed the last test, judging by the action of her daughter. Taking the law into her own hand by attacking the school security is also not a great way to live by example, neither is it a way of following due process. If she had a problem with the decision of the security guard to deny her daughter entry into the school, she should have availed the school’s due process to complain to the school authority.
But this is not to say that the security guard was right. No. It was alleged the guard did not only deny the girl entry into the school, but also harassed and tongue-lashed her. I hardly think this fall under his job description.
A school security guard’s primary responsibility is to protect students, teachers and the school community.
If it is the instruction of the school authority then it is okay to deny the girl entry, but I would think it should be only on the condition that the mother was still right there at the gate. If the mother had already gone, denying the teenage girl entry in these days of insecurity in a mega city like Lagos would have been dangerous.
I am sure it is also not the security guard’s duty to ‘discipline’ the girl with his tongue. I would think Queens College has a well-laid out disciplinary procedure. Even at that, a valid argument can be made whether a disciplinary measure is needed in this case since the primary purpose of a school is not only to provide learning but also to mould character and modify and correct deviant behaviour.
Nobody doubts that the girl was in deviant behaviour but is the security guard right to verbally abuse her? Proper thing to do, in my view, would have been to report the girl to the school principal, or at least the head teacher who would take it up from there.