That other students may not die
The Aruloguns campaign against negligence in schools
Misfortune is part of life and sometimes, it does not rain, but pours. However, brave men have been able to stand the test and turn the tide. That has summed up the Aruloguns’ experience, rising from the dust of adversity to lead a campaign that would correct a societal ill.
Dateline was November 21, 2008, which will remain unforgettable in the Arulogun’s family. It was the day their only daughter, Morenike Toye Arulogun, died from cerebral malaria and acute renal failure. The 11-year -old Morenike, a boarding student of Faith Academy at the time, died due to negligence and mismanagement of the school authorities.
According to Mr. Toye Arulogun, Morenike’s death exposed some ills that have been going on in boarding schools across the country, which have also resulted in loss of lives of young Nigerians. Rather than bear the pain of the loss alone and move on, the parents created a website in memory of Morenike, www.manis.org and started a campaign Movement Against Negligence in Schools (MANIS) to advocate for standards to be met for pupils’ safety in schools.
At a child health and safety week summit held recently with the theme ‘How safe is your child in school?’ Arulogun said the need to fight and ensure that adequate measures are put in place to reduce to the barest minimum death of students occasioned by negligence on the part of school authorities, formed the basis of the summit.
Morenike’s mother, Mrs. Idorenyin Arulogun said the idea came after she and her husband became convinced that their daughter died of negligence and lack of adequate medical attention.
“While we were mourning, we got to hear of deaths and near-death situations, which have happened in Faith Academy and other schools. There were so many we couldn’t keep quiet, because if someone had spoken up before now, these schools would have done what is right and I am sure my daughter would still be alive today.
“The campaign is to help schools do the right thing, which is why it is of great concern for us to sufficiently move against the negligence in boarding and day schools,” Mrs. Arulogun said.
Stakeholders from the education, health and safety sectors, as well as students and parents, interacted and brainstormed on ways to improve the overall safety of a child, whom they agreed is the responsibility of all.
Guest speakers included Dr. (Mrs.) Ronke Akinlembo; Mrs. Adun Akinyemiju, Proprietor of Dansol High School; Dr. Gertrude Ogunkeye of Child Paediatric Hospital; Mrs. Fayo Williams, Executive Director, Rely Supply Limited; and Mrs. Olabisi Ariyo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Lagos State.
Some of the recommendations from the summit included the need for every school to have a safety/health manual; a well-maintained clinic with a medical personnel on standby; workers and teachers welfare should be given a priority by school proprietors; parents’ help in disclosing information about their child’s health status to school caregivers; and establishment of safety clubs in schools, where awareness about what to do in emergency situations are taught.
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