Sound relationship between students and teachers in both single-sex or mixed gender schools has important, positive and long-lasting implications for the students’ academic and social development.
In essence, students who feel a strong sense of personal connection to their teachers and freely with them, in return, receive constructive academic and moral guidance from teachers. Thus, invariably, students who have support of and relate positively with their teachers will attain higher levels of achievements than students with otherwise relationship to their teachers.
Expectedly, parents and education authorities encourage schools to keep positive teacher-student relationship with a view to promoting students’ desire to learn and become deserving leaders of tomorrow.
Yet, a retired educationist, who prefers anonymity, said girls, unlike boys, tend to adapt easily to school environment and get along well with teachers.
However, male teachers are generally cautious in dealing with female students, especially in boarding schools, mainly because of fear of being accused of flirting with the girls.
On the other hand, girls are encouraged in schools, including universities, to report cases of harassment, bullying and other forms of misconduct targeted at them by male teachers.
Yes, girls are advised because some male teachers are in the habit of seeking to always take advantage of their relationship with female students to make physical gain.
Thus, when a parent recently alleged, in a letter she wrote to a blogger, that a teacher in Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, has attempted to have sexual intercourse with her daughter at about midnight, close to the student’s hostel, many people, especially parents of students in the school, believed her. Why won’t they?
In fact, no sooner had the letter reached the blogger than it went viral on the social media.
The parent, who refused to disclose her identity, said Mr Olaseni Oshifala, a biology teacher, was under the influence of alcohol when he attempted to have sex with her JSS-2 daughter (names withheld).
Regrettably, the letter pointed out, Oshifala was not sanctioned by the school even after the parent’s complaint.
The letter read in part: “Mr Oshifala, who by the way, lives in the boarding house areas, had cornered her (daughter) on her way back from easing herself just before lights out. She told me that he called her and she thought he wanted to punish her for leaving her dorm room when it was almost lights out. But when she got closer to him, he was smelling alcohol and she ran away from him. But he ran after her and grabbed her and tried to kiss her while touching her private parts. She started screaming and then students started coming out so he left her and pretended to punish her.”
Ironically, the school’s authority denied receiving a complaint of that kind from a parent, students and or the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of the school which, left with no other option, established a committee to probe the parent’s allegation.
Lami Amodu, the principal of the Queens College, said: “As I talk to you, no single parent has come to me or any of my vice-principals to report Olaseni as a molester. I assure you that if the allegation was true, other parents would have been buzzing our lines non-stop. Children spread gossip fast. They would tell their parents or relations, if anyone was molesting them here. No parent would take such news lightly.”
The accused teacher also received the gossip with bewilderment and quickly went to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Panti, Yaba, to report the matter. Unfortunately, he was detained there for some time. Why? Perhaps, for going there in an attempt to clear himself of the allegation made against him by an unidentified parent.
He later said some people wanted to tarnish his image because they were jealous of his achievements.
He said: “I was employed as biology teacher and posted to the school in 2003, and within the period, apart from my normal academic duties, I have served about six principals at the college as their personal assistants.
“I have never lobbied for this position. I was removed as the school’s maintenance officer and another teacher was appointed.”
The case became ‘the talk of the town’ and the school, parents, teachers and the federal government, which owns the school, became uncomfortable with the situation. The Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, constituted a committee to investigate the case.
The ministry issued a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr Ben Bem Goong, asking parents, guardians, students and staff of the college who had credible information on the matter to avail same to the committee via the following telephone number: 07034613096 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The statement said: “Apparently disturbed by media reports over alleged sexual assault on a JSS II female student of Queens College, Lagos, by a male teacher in the same school, the minister has set up a panel to unravel the veracity of the allegations being leveled against the teacher. Several reports from the conventional and social media networks in the past few days have indicated that there was an alleged case of sexual molestation on a JSS II student by a teacher in the same school.
The minister has assured the general public, particularly parents and guardians whose wards are in any of the Unity Schools and other Federal Government Colleges that their children are in safe hands.”
The committee was said to have completed its work and its report sent to the minister for further action. Professor Anwukah later summoned a press conference on May 3 to explain the findings of the committee but the conference was postponed to later date on the pretext that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and not the state minister, as earlier thought by many, will, instead, speak.
A competent source at the ministry said the committee did not find the teacher guilty of the said offence. “Because nobody has submitted any evidence to the committee as requested, the allegation was deemed fabricated, intended to smear the image of the college and the teacher,” the source said.
Source: DAILY TRUST