From: Petrus Obi, Enugu
Proprietress of Early Dew Montessori Primary School, Enugu, Mrs. Ify Okonkwo, on Wednesday, explained that the reported arrest of some pupils of the school who did not do their assignments and those whose uniforms were dirty, was done to instill discipline.
The proprietress, who confessed to not considering the implications of her action, gave an open apology for adopting such a strategy which she vowed was targeted at improving the pupils.
The innocent looking proprietress who broke down midway into the press conference noted that the pupils were asked to get into the back of the police Hilux Van where they pleaded to be of better behaviour.
“I want to thank the people of Enugu State especially Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the Commissioner for Education Professor Uchenna Eze, for showing concern in this matter. I also want to thank the parents for their understanding.
“What happened in the school on Thursday 16 of February was to encourage the children to be focused. I brought the police to come and talk to the children and to ginger them to be reading on their own without being pushed.
“In my mind I thought I was doing it to bring the children up in a way 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 we have a group chat I opened for parents as one family to brief them on the school’s activities. When I took this action, I posted it on the platform, 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 myself and the teachers; also when I uploaded it on the platform, parents were commending me.”
She, however, noted that while other parents were commending her action, one of them who had issues with the school, uploaded the report of the incident on Facebook, alleging that the state government, in conjunction with the school, arrested the pupils for not doing their assignments.
The Internet report attracted the visit of the state commissioner for education, Uchenna Eze, to the school where he requested that the school management addressed a press conference to put the records straight.
One of the parents who also spoke at the conference Mrs. Jessica Nnamani said on that day she came to the school to attend to her sick son when the school mummy told her of her plans.
“Some of the pupils involved were looking very dirty so when the police came she told them that the police would take them away until they promised to be of good behaviour.
“Then I acted and said, school mummy please don’t take them away, they will change. I said okay, are you people promising school mummy that you will be doing well from now on; they were all saying yes.
“The people you saw on that van were people who weren’t serious with what was happening; they were rather laughing. They now took them behind the van; it was then they started begging.
“If I should say she didn’t mean no harm; as a parent I supported what she did. She did it in the interest of the pupils.”