#JusticeforDonDavis: What concerned authorities can do to stop the menace of sexual abuse in high schools

The story of the maltreatment of Don Davis, an 11-year-old Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1 student in Deeper Life High School, Uyo Campus, has left Nigerians horrified. With the hashtag, #JusticeforDonDavis, many Nigerians are now calling on the authorities to ensure that justice is served as no child deserves to be treated in such a manner.

The story of the young boy sparked nationwide outrage after one Deborah Okezie, Don Davis’ mother, posted videos and photos of her son on social media; describing how he was physically and sexually molested by his seniors, and starved by the school authority for bedwetting. 

The school principal was said to have taken the punishment a step further by moving him from the JS1 hostel to the SS2 hostel where he was frequently assaulted by his seniours.

Describing her child’s ordeal, the devastated mother said:

They will remove his boxers and push their legs and hands into his anus. Look at a child I sent to school, he came back with a broken anus.” 

According to Davis, his seniors threatened to kill him if he reported what they did to him.

Following the outcry of Deborah over her son’s maltreatment, the school authority responded to the allegations in a statement which says such heinous act is not tolerated in the institution and investigations are ongoing to uncover the whole truth, adding that anyone found culpable will be made to face appropriate disciplinary actions. Meanwhile, the Principal of the school was reportedly suspended pending further investigations.

RE : MOLESTATION OF A JSS 1 STUDENT OF DEEPER LIFE HIGH SCHOOL, AKWA IBOM

Monday, December 21, 2020, The Management.

“The attention of the management of Deeper Life High School has been drawn to a viral post on the molestation of a JSS 1 student at our campus in Akwa Ibom state.

“We will like to categorically restate that Deeper Life High School is built on the core values of godliness and excellence and will not tolerate any immoral act or molestation of any student. We believe Parents /Guardians enroll their wards in our schools all over the country because of the strong perception that ours offers a sure-footed platform for moral armament and academic excellence.

“We want to assure the general public that investigations into the case have commenced and no culprit, whether staff or student, will be spared if found culpable at the end of the exercise. As an interim measure and to underscore the seriousness we attach to higher superintending values, the school principal has been suspended summarily even as further investigations continue.

“We firmly assure the discerning public that the overall outcome of the investigations will be made known and appropriate disciplinary actions will be meted to all culprits in this unfortunate act that admittedly threatens to cast unnecessary aspersions on a unique institution that has been a shining example to all over the years.”

This is devastating when you consider that it involves a missionary school, owned by the Deeper Life Bible Church known for its emphasis on a godly lifestyle.

In an era when all sorts of atrocious things happen in schools, many parents look to missionary schools as institutions with the capacity to instil the right ideals and good morals in their wards. But, situations such as this end up making them rethink their choices because it portrays schools that claim to be upholding the highest standards of morality in a bad light.

On another note, the situation has raised a debate about which schooling system between day school and boarding school is best for kids.

Those who have their reservations about sending their kids to boarding schools will have one more reason why it may be a bad idea after all. While it is believed that boarding schools can help to build self-reliance and instil self-confidence in children, the dangers it poses might discourage more parents from sending their kids to boarding schools, and those whose wards are already part of the system may be living with some form of trepidation after seeing what young Don Davis suffered.

Not only does this horrifying incident speak of the rot in Nigeria’s education system, it also points to the fact that urgent steps need to be taken by the ministry of education to ensure that students are safe within the four walls of educational facilities in Nigeria – through regular inspections to ascertain the wellbeing of the students and sanction defaulting school authorities who do not prioritise the welfare of their students. 

School authorities must also ensure that they keep a keen eye on the senior students to avoid situations where the junior students are victimised, as no student deserves such cruel treatment – under any circumstance.

It is hoped that young Davis and his family will heal from this traumatising experience and get justice for the heinous crimes committed against him – to serve as a deterrent to school authorities that condone such ill practices.

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