Lead British International School: A case of the normalisation of bullying in Nigerian schools

Lead British International School, a highly esteemed secondary and primary school, has been forced to shut its doors for three days in the wake of a harrowing incident of bullying captured on a viral video. The video, which was first posted on X, depicted a distressing scene of a female student being relentlessly bullied by her peers, reminiscent of interrogation tactics.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, attended by concerned parents and media members, the school’s management condemned the incident and assured the public that an investigation was underway.

The video has sparked mass outrage among social media users, with various individuals drawing up thought pieces and sharing their bullying experiences while in secondary school.

These recent events have served as a stark wake-up call, catapulting the issues in secondary schools into the spotlight and demanding immediate attention.

 “I can’t help but feel a deep sense of shock and sadness at this turn of events,” says a former student who graduated in 2016.

“I remember Lead British as a school that prided itself on its zero-tolerance policy towards bullying, yet now it seems the very thing LBIS prides itself on has been compromised.”

Watching the video reminded her of when she felt safe in Lead British International School. Passionately, she implored the school authorities to “take decisive action and restore the school’s reputation as a haven for learning.”

More cases of bullying

RDNE Stock project via Pexels

While the topic continues to produce more opinions and the school is handling the case, another video of male students bullying another male student in the school has surfaced on the internet. The video shows a group of boys speaking harshly and slapping another boy who appears to be their junior as he kneels on the floor.

These two videos depict the school’s climate regarding bullying and show no real repercussions for bullying. Now, people on the internet are wondering, what is the real repercussion for bullying in schools, seeing as so many bullies have managed to get away with this barbaric act?

Sylvester Oromoni

In December 2021, Sylvester Oromoni was pronounced dead after sustaining lethal injuries from being beaten up by fellow students who tried to get him to join a cult. In a video which surfaced on the internet, Sylvester was seen writhing in pain from the beating, and a few days later, he was pronounced dead.

Lagos coroner Mikhail Kadiri, in April 2024, determined that Sylvester Oromoni’s suffering was a result of “unnecessary and intense pain” stemming from both parental and medical neglect. Additionally, he absolved the school of any negligence and cleared the students who were accused of bullying the deceased of any wrongdoing.

Purity Okojie

In October 2021, Nollywood actress Mercy Johnson-Okojie raised concerns, alleging that her 8-year-old daughter, Purity, was facing bullying from a teacher at school.

According to her Instagram post, the actress expressed that the teacher openly disliked her daughter and criticised her behaviour. The teacher suggested that celebrity children were poorly behaved and advised her to refrain from bringing her mother’s “aura” or online drama to school.

Following Okojie’s public outcry, the school administration responded by acknowledging the issue and initiating an investigation into the reported bullying incident. However, the actress did not provide any further updates on the situation.

Keren-Happuch Akpagher

In 2021, Keren-Happuch Akpagher passed away due to sepsis from being sexually molested. According to Mrs Akpagher, she pulled her daughter from school after receiving a panicked phone call from Keren in which she complained about her health and wanted to come home. Mrs Akpagher stated that Keren did not feel like her typical self and took her to the hospital two days after returning from school.

At the hospital, the doctors found condom remains and sperm in Keren’s vagina. Unfortunately, Mrs Akpagher wasn’t able to find out who had molested her daughter before she passed away.

In March 2022, Mrs Akpagher filed a ₦10 billion lawsuit against the school management, alleging negligence and a failure of duty of care towards her daughter. The most recent development in the case occurred in July 2023, when the court admitted crucial evidence against the school management.

Bullying and the law

Marco VDM via iStock

At the moment, there is no effective law against bullying in schools, seeing as it deals specifically with underaged children (children under the age of 18). This means bullying cannot be classified as a criminal issue, as students often inflict it on them. In Nigeria, the Child Rights Act of 2003, which several states have adopted, includes provisions aimed at protecting children from violence, abuse, and exploitation; it can encompass bullying; however, laws about bullying in schools are not explicitly stated.

The issue of bullying is so complex as it includes mental and physical harm, which can be difficult to prove until significant damage is done. All over the world, children in schools are facing multiple forms of bullying. Currently, in the United States of America, the rate of bullying has doubled between 2007 and 2019, with about 282,000 students being attacked in some way. One in five students faces some form of verbal bullying in school.

Without a doubt, bullying not only causes mental and physical damage, but it can also result in the brutal death of students. The limits of humanity are often tested in institutions where young people reside. Bullying is an issue that must be taken seriously by parents, guardians, educational institutions, and the legislature. We must all come together to ensure that bullying does not become the norm in our schools and, as a result, ruin the childhood experiences of young people everywhere.



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