Were Bolanle and Ade suspended?
Did they get punished?
What disciplinary measures were taken by the school?
Hmm… these were some of the important questions parents and educators asked about what happened with the incident I narrated two days ago.
I must say right from the start that the school in question rarely suspends or expels children!
Yes, I know some of us are outraged already, but think about it. In most cases what would this action of keeping children out of school achieve?
Yes, if they have done the unthinkable, like kill someone, purposely injured another person in an evil attack…. then obviously that would be the right course of action, with a sign-post to professional therapist etc. for the child to see of course.
If on the other hand the children had been called out either at assembly or during the ‘Lets talk frankly’ sessions, very little except shaming them and losing face in the whole school would have been achieved.
Instead of all the above and more that could have been done to Ade and Bolanle, here is what happened…
My name is Ade, I am in Primary 5 and 9 years old. Last year something happened to me.
Actually, I did it to myself.
This is what happened.
There is this girl in our school, her name is Bolanle, she is Primary 3 now. I wrote her a letter… the teacher saw it, but we did not know until much later.
I asked to meet her behind the library so we could plan how I would meet her and take her out on a date!
The next thing I know the teacher reproduced the letter without our names on it (Thank God!) and asked us (the then Primary 2 and 3 students) to edit the letter!
I was honestly scared. I thought she was going to call my name.
I nearly wet my pants!
After that lesson of editing the letter, it was break time.
We did not bother to meet as planned.
We knew, they knew and were watching us.
I was expecting something to happen, but nothing did to start with, until we got back to school on Monday and the Head of School, Mrs Gbadebo announced at assembly that the Primary School children would be having their Circle time separately.
We used to sing nursery rhymes with the younger children, we were happy that a distinction was being made between us… we did not know why, but I soon found out.
Our teacher introduced the time we were to spend together as a time for us to discuss, debate and share our opinions!
It was to be called: “Let’s talk Frankly”!
Then to my surprise she brought out a sheet of paper and started reading that same letter!
My heart was racing fast!
What have I gone and done to myself? I thought, “She is going to call my name!”
But she did not call my name!
When she finished reading, she simply asked us a question:
‘If this was written by one of you, what would you say to him or her?’
And then the discussion started.
Some said they would find it funny, others said there was nothing to say, but most said they thought that none of us would write such a letter as this seems like what grown-ups would do.
Our teacher, Ms Ann asked lots of questions and the class finally agreed that we were too young to understand what having a boyfriend or girlfriend was about anyway.
I could not talk at all, I noticed that Bolanle was quiet too.
My classmates had many questions about movies that they had watched and the words of songs they sing.
Ms Ann told us that we would return to discuss these topics at another time, and so we ended our first ‘Let’s talk Frankly’ time.
I knew I had to do something, I was now feeling guilty for writing the letter, for asking Bolanle to be my girlfriend, and for asking her to meet me behind the library!
I did think about writing another letter to Ms Ann and one to Bolanle to say sorry, but I thought about it again, and decided to speak rather than write.
It was the writing that got me into this soup to start with!
During the break time that Monday, I first asked to talk to my teacher. I told her that I wrote, the letter.
As if she did not know that already! She did not say anything except, “I know, I am listening.”
“I am so sorry Ma; I was carried away. I like Bolanle and I watched this movie where I man who liked a woman wrote her a letter, I got the idea to do the same ma. Though, immediately you produced the letter for us to edit, I felt bad and knew I had done something wrong.”
Ms Ann then asked me what I felt I could do to make things right.
I had to think about this very deeply, then after a while, I told her I thought I needed to talk to Bolanle but would like her to be there too. I would also talk to my parents and discuss with them so we can talk frankly too.
So I had that talk with Bolanle, with Ms Ann present, and I am happy it all went well.
My talk with my parents was great, Ms Ann had asked me to wait and she would tell me the best time to bring it up with my parents.
So we only talked after Ms Ann told me too. I am not sure what she did, but I know it was good because my parents did not scream and shout. I was dreading talking to them though I knew I needed to.
I have learnt my lesson, no boyfriend, girlfriend business for now. I still have a long way to go before all that!
I am learning, I know I will make other mistakes, but with my parents and teachers to guide me I know I will be alright.
One more thing, my writing skills have also improved. I am so grateful for this positive result from the whole incident, it’s a win-win, is it not?