Following the arrest of the Principal of Government Day Secondary School Rimin Zayem, Toro LGA, by the District Police Officer of Toro for a disciplinary action taken by a teacher on a disobedient girl-child, the Ministry of Education hereby announces the indefinite closure of that school until the community and the police assure the Ministry that its teachers are safe to discharge of their duties.

The public in general must know that, under the doctrine of duty of care, teachers and parents are allowed by law to take disciplinary measures on their subjects. It is their duty of care to punish where necessary for the good upbringing of the child. What form that punishment takes depends on the society. In Nigeria we know that it includes spanking the child, among many others.

The Ministry of Education thus supports the punishment of any student in forms practiced in this country and will walk every distance to defend its staff in the discharge of their duty. Education by definition is not about imparting knowledge only; it is equally about building good character in children and students alike. Any parent—no matter how powerful—who is not civilised enough to know this can keep his child at home or take him to where he will be rewarded with chocolates for misbehaviour!

This is the second time such parents are threatening our teachers in the school. That a senior police officer will support them to the extent of arresting a principal, in spite of earlier intervention by the Ministry and the State Government, is not only shocking but also gives a wrong signal that such barbaric behaviour is tolerable. It puts the lives of our teachers at risk.

GDSS Rimin Zayem will remain closed until further notice. No child will be readmitted into the school until his or her parent signs a form consenting that his ward can be reprimanded by teachers whenever desirable. This was the promise that the Ministry made to the elders of the community who came last Monday pleading against the possible closure.

Statewide also, all parents in the State will be required to sign such an undertaking when schools reopen for the 2021/2022 session this October.

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
Ministry of Education

17 March 2021

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