13 Students Arrested as Kemeloi Boys School Is Closed For The 3rd Time In A Month
The troubled Kemeloi Boys High School in Nandi County has been closed indefinitely for the third time in a month after students staged another strike.
The riots on Sunday night occurred only a week after students returned to school.
Police have detained 13 students in connection with the most recent incident, and 800 students in Forms One, Two, and Three have been sent home.
On Sunday, students went on a rampage and vandalized school property, including classrooms, lab equipment, and computers.
Form Four students raided dormitories occupied by Form One, Two, and Three students, assaulting and caning them for making noise and accusing them of disrupting their studies.
The action sparked a heated debate, with the other students standing firm and engaging their seniors in running battles.
John Owuoth, the chief of police in Nandi South, confirmed that 13 students were detained for destroying school property. After the investigations are completed, they will appear in court tomorrow.
Some “13 students are in custody for assaulting their colleagues during the latest strike on Sunday night. They destroyed property which included computers and pulled down the newly installed CCTV and science lab equipment,” Mr Owuoth said.
Last week, a crisis meeting presided over by Aldai MP Maryanne Kitany was held to resolve the previous incident, which saw the school closed, before the students were recalled after some commitments were made.
The meeting called for a positive working relationship between the local community, teachers, education officials, and the church, as well as a declaration that acts of lawlessness and tribalism would not be tolerated in Nandi schools.
Frequent strikes at the school have been blamed on local community incitement and some teachers who are allegedly fighting the principal. There are also disagreements about school tenders.
Politics that divides
Internal problems and divisive politics from teachers’ union leaders and businessmen competing for tenders, according to Nandi County Commissioner Herman Shambi, were to blame in the latest incident.
“Groups with selfish interests, including parents, are inciting the learners and fighting the current school head,” said Mr Shambi, regretting that students were losing precious study time.
County Director of Education Zachary Mutuiri stated that the school will be closed until all issues are resolved.
“Incitement by locals is causing trouble at Kemeloi Boys and the ministry is committed to solving the problems facing the school,” he said.
At a recent crisis meeting, it was decided that the principal would stay on to oversee changes aimed at improving the school’s academic performance in national exams. The local community was urged to avoid the school.
Mr Shambi stated that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) was addressing a teacher shortage at the school, and he advised Form Four candidates to focus on their studies and refrain from engaging in illegal activities.