Whitney Adeniran, a 12 year old student of Chrisland School was on Thursday, February 9, 2023 reported to have died during the school’s inter-house sports activities at Agege Stadium in Lagos.
The parents of the deceased in response to the incident accused the school management of negligence. Blessing Adediran, the mother of Whitney said the school failed to take the necessary measures to save her daughter from the untimely death.
“The school made no provision for emergency response at the event, hence did not administer first aid,” she said.
Meanwhile the school had refuted the allegation in a statement it released on Sunday, February 12, 2023.
According to the statement Whitney slumped in public view and not under any hidden circumstances. She was subsequently rushed to the nearest medical facility for first aid.
“Our immediate response was to take advantage of proximity to first-aid, by identifying the nearest medical facility to take her to, where the doctor on duty, administered oxygen and every aid possible on her,” the statement read.
Whitney was said to have suddenly slumped while discussing with her colleagues as they were walking during the sports event and was rushed to a nearby hospital, but could not make it alive.
In May 2022, Chidera Eze, a five-year-old pupil of the Redeemers Nursery and Primary School in Ogba, Lagos State was reported to have died during a swimming session.
The child who was said to be playing with his colleagues was said to have suddenly slipped into the pool.
Read also: Parents, others protest death of Whitney at Chrisland Schools
Anthony, the pupil’s father, however, alleged that the school’s officials neglected his son, resulting in his death.
On Friday, July 8, 2022, the news was broken about how two children died in their school bus in Aguda-Surulere in Lagos State.
The country has not forgotten in a hurry the sudden and unfortunate death of Sylvester Oromoni who was alleged to have been killed by his colleagues in a school where there are supposed to be guardians and safety.
Schools are meant to provide an important environment for care and development of a child, especially at the nursery/primary level.
According to experts, school attendance at the pre-school and primary levels bridges the gap in home care and lays the foundation for future learning.
And that unless children are raised in a healthy and safe school environment during early childhood, their future development could be seriously hampered.
Elizabeth Ohaka, an early childhood educator said to achieve maximum protection of children in school, management must pay more attention to the children and monitor what they are doing each time.
She warned that the caregivers should desist from leaving things to chance.
“Don’t leave things to chance. We pray a lot without watching. A safety officer should be appointed, who understands the child protection policy. Safety must be prioritised,” she said.
Benedicta Eboh, a University of Lagos trained educationist frowned at the incident which she said she ought not to be in an ideal situation.
Eboh reiterated the need for schools to budget some money for the provision of necessary facilities such as medicines, employ medics, and other needful services that would guarantee a child’s safety and wellbeing.
Meanwhile, Bamidele Okuwoga, a legal practitioner said schools should endeavor to put in place provisions for secondary control of venues of their events such renting ambulance cars, positioning security experts, among others and as such protect the children from potential dangers.
The Lagos State government has in place certain rules governing the ownership and effective running of private schools in the state.
Among which are that there must be on-ground evidence of affiliation to a government-recognised hospital close to the school. A well-equipped first -aid box with a certified paramedic and a functional weighing scale is needed in the school premises.
Also, certificates of medical fitness of food vendors should be ensured and portable water and wash-hand basins in strategic places in the school, while adequate provision must be made for specially challenged pupils.
However, Friday Erhabor, director of media and strategy at Marklenez Limited said the problem is in monitoring and not in enacting laws.
“Many private schools are not well regulated and monitored. The problem of negligence in schools cuts across almost all the private institutions, the universities inclusive.
The authorities concerned should see to it that before and after a school is given a license to operate, it is monitored and regulated,” he said.
Some experts believe the safety of a child should start from homes. Matthew Adediran urged that parents should monitor the health condition of their children and wards before releasing them to schools.
“Parents need to take the well-being of their wards more seriously, and not release them to go to school when feeling unwell,” he said.