Four high schools closed following students unrest

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 00:00 |
A car belonging to a Chesamisi High School teacher that was torched by rioting students. Photo/COURTESY

Four secondary schools were yesterday closed indefinitely after students went on the rampage and torched property running into millions of shillings in a worrying trend of unrest.

Koelel High School in Gilgil, Nakuru, Kimulot Secondary in Bomet and Chesamisi Boys and St Luke’s Kimilili Boys both in Bungoma were closed after students went on strike. 

By yesterday, six students of Kimulot were in police custody in connection with arson attack at the institution.

Separately, fire razed dormitories at Kituro High in Baringo county. There were, however, no injuries reported during the incident whose cause is yet to be established. 

Yesterday, the government, through the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) warned students against engaging in acts of violence and crime, which may dent their image once they leave schools.  

The DCI said they are archiving and consolidating charges, which may be preferred to each and every student involved in any crime.

The criminal charges will be reflected on clearance certificates and certificates of good conduct when such rioting learners apply for one. 

“This will be a permanent criminal mark that will bar many students from achieving their goals as no employer of worth will dare employ such characters.

The crimes include armed and chaotic demos, arson, drugs, cyber bullying, assault of any degree, drunkenness or any reported crime of any kind,” said the DCI. 

Speaking at the Africa Inland Church (AIC) Girls Primary School in Kajiado when he presided over distribution of free sanitary towels yesterday, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha warned the government will not tolerate indiscipline among learners.

 Magoha instead asked teachers to discipline wayward learners and report parents who are promoting bad behavior by pampering their children. “Parents are to blame for the indiscipline going on in our learning institutions.

We have parents who treat their children like eggs. The same children are the ones with indiscipline cases. It will not be business as usual,” said Magoha.

On the other hand, Gilgil sub-county Commissioner Rebecca Muturi, confirmed the closure of Koelel High School following student unrest. 

“The school has been closed indefinitely after the students walked out to protest lack of entertainment.

We shall hold a meeting with the management over the incident,” she said. The students cited lack of entertainment as the cause of their unrest claiming they were “bored.”

In Bungoma County, Chesamisi and St Luke’s Kimilili Boys’ High schools were closed indefinitely after students went on strike destroying properties.

Students of Chesamisi went on rampage on Saturday night, accusing the deputy principal of moving their entertainment schedule from night to daytime. 

It is said the deputy had adjusted the time to allow the students attend evening studies, a move that angered the learners.

The students claimed the teachers were also watching English premier league matches using the school television, which was meant for them.

Poor ventilation

They also lamented that the entertai nment hall was too small with poor ventilation to accommodate over 1,800 students. 

During the incident, the students vandalised teachers’ cars, destroyed window panes in classrooms and offices, broke into the school canteen before heading to the neighboring Chesamisi Mixed Secondary School where they damaged a few properties, but were repulsed by police when they tried to enter Sosio Girls’ Secondary School. OCPD Stephen Mwoni said the culprits will be brought to book.

At Kimilili Boys, the students accused the head boy of punishing one of them, who was found in possession of bhang. 

The boys smashed windowpanes of laboratories and office of the deputy principal before police moved in to calm the situation with authorities confirming they have begun investigations. 

“It is being alleged the students went on strike after the head boy punished one of them who was found with bhang, however, we have launched investigations,” he said. 

Kimilili Sub-County Education Director George Okoth, condemned the trend, saying those culpable should be dealt with in accordance with the law. 

At Kimulot High in Bomet, it took swift action from the county Fire Department to contain fire, which was spreading to other structures in the school. 

 County disaster unit officer Stanley Mutai said blankets; mattresses and other belonging could not be salvaged since the fire had engulfed the whole building by the time they arrived.

In Kituro High School in Baringo, the fire which started at around 9pm when students were in class for their evening preps destroyed property, including beddings, uniforms and storage boxes.  Reporting by Kirera Mwiti, Roy Lumbe, Yusuf Masibo, Felix Yegon and Robert Ochoro.

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