Sometime in early February, the proprietress of the Early Dew Montessori school in GRA Enugu, had arranged with some officers of the Enugu state police command, to arrest some of the pupils simply because they had failed to turn in their assignments.
The students were put behind a police van, an act which the proprietress claimed was to ‘discourage indiscipline, and also instill hard work and good conduct among pupils’. She however shared the pictures on the school’s Parents-Teacher’s Whatsapp forum, where according to her, some parents even commended the action.
Explaining her actions, the proprietress, Mrs Ify Okonkwo, said:
“In my mind, I thought I was doing it to bring the children up in a way that they will be attached to their studies. No child was manhandled neither did they point a gun at any of the children.
I was the person that took the pictures and posted them on Whatsapp, with the caption ‘Some children were arrested today for not doing their homework, for not reading their books, for not behaving well, but they promised to change’. I didn’t mean any harm; I meant well for the kids. If not, I wouldn’t have made it public – it would have been between me and the teachers.”
Following the outcry by a Facebook user who shared the story, the Enugu state government stepped into the situation by suspending the school’s operations on Monday, February 20.
The Enugu state Commissioner for Education, Professor Uche Eze, said the issue was ‘an embarrassment to the state government and a serious psychological abuse of the concerned children’.
He however ordered the school’s management to write an apology letter to the state government, parents of the children and the entire people of Enugu state, stating that these measures must be taken by the school or they would face permanent closure.
The commissioner said this action also serves as a warning to other schools in the state who use such ‘unethical practices’ all in the name of corporal punishment.
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