By Momodou Jawo & Aisha Tamba
The principals of Gambia Senior Secondary School (GSSS) and Muslim Senior Secondary School (MSSS) are demanding the expulsion of 8 grade 11 students and 3 grades 10, 11 and 12 respectively from their schools following the leakage of a dirty dancing video that has gone viral.
The principals of the schools have written to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) and demanded to be allowed to expel the students who were involved in the sexually graphic dance video at Muslim Senior School on 29 October. The GSSS governing board backed its principal’s stance on the matter.
The senior management of the two reputable senior secondary schools have vowed to resign if the ministry rejects their recommendations to expel the students.
GSSS principal, Lamin MB Jaiteh, described the incident as “shocking”, adding that the school board has recommended to MoBSE for eight students to be expelled. The students whose names have not been given, are said to be 17 years of age. He said the expulsion request is as a result of the immoral dance that the students were involved in which violated the school’s code of conduct.
Jaiteh said it was “very disgraceful” when he watched the video. “These are students who spent at least two years with us and they know some of the rules and regulations and the code of conduct of the school,” he said
“We have to take severe measures in ensuring that these kind of things are not repeated. The recommendation taken by the board will serve as a deterrent so that others will not copy. In African society, moral dancing is valued. So why go in for a dance that originated from the Caribbean or certain part of Africa that they called ‘Pasa-Pasa’,” the principal queried.
The head girl of GSSS, Channeh Camara, described the incident as “shocking and unbelievable”.
She said she felt “very sad” to see her peers involve themselves in such a degenerate act. “In fact, now days, I am so ashamed to wear my school uniform for the fact that I am not as proud as I used to be,” she emotionally said.
She said she welcomed the decision by the school management to expel the eight students from the school. “In fact they should have punished them severely well before they expel them. They should have been brought in front of the assembly and disgraced in the presence of the entire students,” she stated.
MSSS principal, Lamin K Marong, lamented the circumstances of the incident. He explained that a dance competition was organised by the Banjul Red Cross Society link. “The Red Cross wrote to us informing us that they were going to hold their annual programme and as finances were not readily available to them, organising the event as a fundraiser was the only option to them”.
He said when the video surfaced, he watched it but could not bear to go through it. “It was terrible and disgusting. As a parent, I could not continue watching it to the end. I became angry and called for an emergency disciplinary committee meeting at which the people that organised the programme were present,” he explained.
Marong said the school management had to take action. “In fact I never knew this kind of dance happens here until someone showed it to me. We are all disappointed and angry with the people who organised it and even the students who participated in it,” he remarked.
The MSSS principal was emphatic that if the ministry turns down their recommendation to expel the students, he would be left with no option but to tender his resignation.
The permanent secretary at MoBSE, Mohammed BS Jallow, condemned the incident. “When I was informed about the incident and shown the video, I immediately asked the deputy permanent secretary to write to the principal of the various schools in order for them to explain how it happened,” he said.
He said the ministry does not condone such untoward activities in schools. “We have said that in the past and we have sent memos to schools, and that is why we have written to the principal of MSSS to explain to us as why he allowed this thing to happen in his school,” he said.
Asked about the recommendations to expel the 11 students, PS Jallow said they are yet to receive the letters from the various schools. “We recommend that some punishment must be done if they can justify why those students should be expelled,” he said.
He finally urged principals and head teachers to ensure that such depraved activities are not held in their schools.