By Debo Oladimeji
The Project Lead of Schoolrun Academy ably led by Dr. Bisi Esuruoso for Safe Schools Lagos (SSLAG) has said that the only way to ensure security in our schools and prevent a recurrent of the unfortunate incident that led to the death of Desola Whitney Adeniran a 12 –year-old girl of the Chrisland Schools at Agege Stadium on February 9 during inter-house sports bis for every staff of schools in Lagos State to be safety conscious and put safety measures in place.
Speaking in Lagos during a Capacity Building Conference (CBC) on Safety for school teams (Heads and Managers) organised by SSLAG for schools she said risk cannot be eradicated but we can mitigate it. She said that it is important for schools to have defibrillators to prevent such a tragedy from happening in future.
“And you must have staffers that are trained to handle it. You must have a register for it so that other people can use it as well.”
She recalled that an emergency rescue plan which Chrisland would have had would have saved the situation. “If it had taken up the SSLAG compliance plan, the trips would have been covered and they would have had an ambulance from emergency rescue Africa. When that incident happened they would have had prompt attention because there would have been paramedics on ground that would have responded immediately.”
“How do we mitigate risks? It comes from awareness, knowledge and structure. I tell my staff that safety starts for organization, structure. When you are under pressure it is your structure that will make you stand or cope. That is why CBC that you are attending today is for everybody.”
She explained that members of the school community need to understand that Safety is very important in schools.
“Audit has started in some schools this week. We will ensure that the school are compliance to all the 20 Lagos State Safety 1Commission standard. We have 12 of the safety standard for day schools, 8 for the boarding schools. Don’t tell me that the fact that you are a day school, you don’t know need to know about the boarding requirements.”
She explained that when they are on any trip that may take two to three days out of the school is similar to boarding. “That is boarding. What happened in Christland would not have happened if they understood the boarding requirements. In England when students are on any 2trip you cannot board them in an hotel. Hotels are for adult from 18-2 years and above.”
She regretted that most schools in Nigeria have free period in their time table and they allow children to learn on their own. “It shows they are negligence. Because children misbehave when they are alone.”
She said that when they go to schools for audit they are not looking for physical things they are looking for hidden curriculum. “There is the seen curriculum and the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum are the things that people don’t see that is the norm. And you will know. It will not take me five minutes to know whatever is going on in any school.”
“Excursion is part of their learning. We appreciate that. But things must be done properly. An incident happened in stadium we need to beam the search light on the stadium. Not just the school alone. Up till now nobody has gone after the tour operator. Somebody arranged that trip for Chrisland. That person is somewhere and Chrisland is taking all the blames.”
Dr Kayode Solomon said that abroad defibrillators are very common. “If you walk into any airport you will notice that they have provisions for it. It is a reflective something. We encourage schools to have them but let me advice don’t just buy it from anywhere because most times people will sell to you what might just become useless to you very soon. Can you replace the parts? The parts have expiring dates, can it be managed here and all of that. How to use a defibrillator is part of what we do in our training.
He said that if there is an emergency in your school what do you do? ”Let me tell you what most people do. They pour water. Somebody would have said pour water during the Agege incident. If the girl could talk they would have told her to drink water. It is not just Nigeria thing but it is a general thing. We say water has no enemy.
“One thing we need to do for schools is to create awareness. Let there be awareness of what to do in an emergency. You must be able to identify those who have training in your environment and let those people take the lead of what to do. Not just anybody. Sometimes you make assumptions. What people do in an emergency is what is at the back of their minds. What their grandmother told them or what they watch in home videos. A child just has a seizure, many times how you handle the situation will determine life or death. When you have a simple seizure and your nanny now pour water and in the process the person drown in his own vomit. Life is so delicate there is a period in time when intervention will work. For few minutes or seconds after which no matter what you do nothing will do except a miracle. All these things don’t have scientific backing those are the things you should not do.
“What most times killed seizure patients is what is called post seizure sleep. If they are not placed in a proper position that can lead to death. While you are doing superman, causing injuries the real job you should do you now leave them causing the person to die. Knowledge is power and we need to have requisite knowledge. Let us expose our minds to some of these information that are available online. We need to reorient ourselves. Many of the things they do in those home videos are just wrong.”
A staff of Lagos State Safety Commission, Mrs Osokoya Ajoke said that one of the things she will like the participants to take home is the fact that they need to be safety conscious in whatever they do in their schools.
“They have to ensure that safety should come first in their list. They need to ensure that those children under their cares are well taken care of not just the curriculum aspect alone but the safety aspect is very paramount. Then they need to ensure that they don’t because some other agencies are coming to their schools reject our audit team. What people are coming to do in their school is different from what Lagos State Safety Commission is coming to do. We have our mandate they also have their mandate. They should allow us to come for their school for safety audit.”