Kwara State School of Special Needs houses the visually impaired, deaf and dumb and some mentally retarded students. However, strained relationship between the blind and deaf, especially, has made it difficult for them to cohabit and led to calls for the government to separate them. Daily Trust on Sunday writes on the issue.
Last month, the cat-and-mouse relationship between the blind students and their deaf and dumb counterparts at the Kwara State School of Special Needs climaxed with a brawl over food during lunch.
According to findings, trouble started when some blind students (names withheld) went to the kitchen to collect their lunch of garri and beans, which led to a misunderstanding.
Narrating the incident, a blind female student said “When we got to the dining, the kitchen staff were not around but we met a deaf student who wanted to serve us our food. We then requested for additional garri because the quantity he gave us was small but he refused and started abusing us instead. We replied him and he stood up and gave me a slap, I retaliated with a blow and we started fighting. I bit him as my only means of defence. But some of the officials sympathetic to the deaf and dumb students blamed me for defending myself,” the blind student said.
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The above incident is one of the numerous altercations between the two groups in the school which was established in 1974. The blind students have alleged several challenges they have been made to go through in the school which include sexual harassment, cheating and undue advantage for the deaf students with the support of the school principal, Engr. Abdulganiyu Olododo, who is a deaf.
They said their situation, which requires them depending on the deaf students and others to carry out basic activities, has made them vulnerable to abuse and being taken undue advantage of by the deaf students.
While narrating her experience, a blind female student (name withheld) who claimed to be a sexually abused victim, described the situation as worrisome.
According to her, “I have been sexually harassed by the deaf students on several occasions at the hostels. Sometimes, they come to our hostels anytime they notice we were coming from the bathroom and I was almost raped on one of such occasions. I reported the matter to the school authority but we have not seen any real change so far,” she noted.
She said “the continued cohabitation of the two sets of students has led to discrimination and a superiority complex.”