Following the shocking revelation by a woman, Mayokun Akpoterabor, that her son, Medad, was allegedly ‘expelled’ from a school for advising a female student to report a case of sexual molestation, the school involved in the controversy has voiced its part in the affair.
In a telephone interview with YNaija, the school principal, Mary Iyayi, said that contrary to the insinuation and allegation of Akpoterabor, Medad wasn’t expelled from the school but was instead “told to leave the hostel on the basis that he has a history” of vandalism.
The school, Cayley College on Celestial Church Street, off Amaraolu street, Agidingbi, Lagos, was established in 1995 and Iyayi, who says that she is a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God and PhD holder in education, has been the principal of the school for the past twenty years.
Iyayi expressed her shock that Akpoterabor would ‘fight dirty’.
According to her, Medad had spread false rumor about another student. She further disclosed that Akpoterabor was owing the school over a million Naira in fees and had defaulted on a proposed payment plan and even gave the school a bounced cheque.
The school principal informed our reporter that the school had allowed Akpoterabor’s son, Medad, to continue schooling because she was a widow.
The principal revealed that Medad was suspended from school early this year for pouring water on the bed of the hostel’s housemaster. Alongside another male student, Medad had harassed the housemaster.
According to Iyayi, the housemaster was told to resign from the school for failing to ‘represent the school well’ and ‘failure of leadership’ because for the student to pour water on his bed means his ability to guard and lead the student were questionable.
“For the children to treat him at that level, it means the job is not suitable for him,” Iyayi said.
The school decided to give Medad a shorten suspension that will coincide with the school’s mid-term break. However, on the day of the mid-term break, Medad, who was already on suspension, came into the hostel on the pretext of meeting his younger brother, also a student of the school.
Alone in the hostel, Medad, his younger brother and another student proceeded to damage several properties in the hostel.
Iyayi said she contacted Akpoterabor to inform her of the damage her sons did. Akpoterabor failed to believe the principal, saying that her sons could not do such as she knows them very well.
Iyayi said, “Medad had issues earlier this year that led to his suspension from the school. Usually, we don’t use suspension from the school flippantly. He was on suspension when he came to the school, because then he had a junior brother in the school, he used his junior brother as an excuse to come into the school and destroyed some school properties.”
“I got in touch with his mother and said; ‘look at what your children did, they were left alone alone in the hostel, three children, look at this damage’ and she said ‘No, I knows my son, my son can never do such a thing. I asked her if she was saying that the school was lying against her son?’ What do i have to gain? He is my student?”
On the debts owed to the school by Akpoterabor, the principal said, “She’s owing the school over a million Naira. On the basis that she’s a widow, we left her. She has done payment plan and failed. WAEC came and I said to her ‘listen you’re owing so much, why don’t he do this exam.’ I’ve advised her more than once ‘let your child be a day student, that will reduce cost for you.’ She said no.”
The principal noted that Akpoterabor, a media practitioner, had refused to enroll her son as a day student as her work often tied her up, thus leaving her with no time for her children.
On the issue of an alleged molestation, Iyayi said that it wasn’t a molestation but two junior students who willingly engaged in an offense for which they were duly punished.
She noted that the students involved were in JSS3 and JSS2, respectively. The JSS 3 students had initially reported herself to a teacher, while the JSS 2 student, on hearing about the report, told Medad about the incident.
Before now, the JSS 3 students had had a fall out with Medad after he bullied her younger brother -another junior student. The school does not condone the bullying of junior students.
Seizing the opportunity, Medad informed other students that the JSS 3 student was a lesbian. Hence, causing emotional and mental hurt to the poor girl.
Iyayi said, “So when this issue now happened, this particular one. I bless God for the kind of school I am running. I’m interested in the character and prosperity of the child. And I have a responsibility to build a child up”
“Now these two girls [did this] during the day, its no like it was at night. It was a case of let me feel what kind of bra you are wearing and stuff like that. The two of them sat somewhere in the school hall. We’ve never had any issue like this. One of them went to a teacher and reported herself and said ‘look, I was touching the other one’s breast and I know what i did is very bad.”
“It’s not a case of molesting. Both girls are in junior school -one is JSS 3 (year 8), the other in JSS2 (year 9). But this Medad is in SS3. Now when this girl reported herself, the other girl went to Medad instead and told Medad. Now this girl that reported herself was part of the reason Medad was suspended in the first place. Medad saw this as a good opportunity to get back at her, told people in the school and started to spread rumor that this girl is a lesbian. And the poor girl was so miserable. She has already reported herself and said this is ‘what I did wrong’. The matter eventually got to my office.”
“I see my work as a ministry. It is more than any money. I’m a pastor with the Redeemed Christian church. I have a PhD in education. So i know what life means and that God has sent this children into my care.”
“I invited the parents of both girls to my office. We discussed all this things and we said to the girls ‘what you have done is not right. You shouldn’t have touched each other, it’s wrong. Now, you are going to be punished.’ We gave them punishment, counseled them and then I prayed for them. This was about a month or three weeks ago.”
Speaking on why Medad was told to vacate the hostel, the principal said that his action was malicious and unfair to the girl. She also noted that Medad had a history of vandalism and that he might do more harm to the school if he remained a boarding student.
She said, “And then I said ‘Medad if you can do this, spread false rumor about a girl, you that I have more or less left to stay in the school. You’re owing the school over a million, how can you want you to destroy another student because the two of you had an issue in the past. That’s not fair. You destroyed the school toilet and all that, I’m not going to wait. I’ve allowed you long enough. I allowed you to write your WAEC and NECO because I believe you have a future. You’re owing the school -technically you’re not even supposed to be here.’
“I decided to allow him write his examination but he would write it from home because I’m not even sure what he’ll do to the school if the exams are over. If you can do this when you are still a student, what would you do when you’re not? No need putting ourselves at risk.”
“And if his mother can say ‘I can’t believe my son did that’ then I don’t want to take chances. I allowed him to do his exam and go. That’s what happened. Meanwhile, all this while I called his mother, the mother did not come to the school, all she said was that she was busy and that she was tied up at work. Fine.”
“By the time, we finished handling the matter and the decision for Medad to leave the hostel was reached, I called the mother again and said ‘I’m sorry Medad has to leave the hostel’ and we gave him a letter. The mother still didn’t come, she sent somebody to come pick Medad. That’s all. After that I didn’t see the mother neither did she come to the school.”
On the accusations by Akpoterabor that her son was expelled, Iyayi said, “the child wasn’t expelled, he was told to leave the hostel on the basis that he has a history….. vandalism. I can’t wait for him to do more before we act. I would have thought that after the exam what the mother would do is come to me and we will discuss on what to do about his graduation because he really wants to graduate. And then we’ll talk about it. No she didn’t do that. She wants to fight dirty because she doesn’t want to pay. If what the school did to your son was so terrible, how come you did not take us up immediately? You waited for him to finish his exams and that’s when you started doing all this.”
Iyayi also noted that Akpoterabor and three others visited the school with cameras. And instead of coming to see her, they had had gone to the see the Director of Studies.
When they later came to her office, after she, Iyayi learnt of their presence in the school and sent for them to come, she listened to them and subsequently informed them that she was heading out when she heard of their presence in the school and would invite the mother back on a later date.
This she said resulted in a verbal exchange with the men that accompanied Akpoterabor.
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