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Ikuu Boys Burn 4 Dormitories, Walk Out Of School

Ikuu Boys Burn 4 Dormitories, Walk Out Of School

Students of Ikuu Boys High School, Tharaka Nithi County, have walked out of school after burning four dorms on Sunday night.

Property of unknown value was destroyed after a fire broke out in Ikuu Boys High School in Tharaka Nithi county. No casualty was reported in an incident that left four dormitories reduced to ashes.

According to the principal, Mr Joseph Mbae, the Sunday night fire that destroyed the 480-person dorms began around 11 p.m.

Police had arrested 35 students on suspicion of being the masterminds of the arson. They are still being interrogated at the Chuka Police Station.

He stated that, while the institution could not fully account for the safety of the 243 students who fled the school during the commotion, no injuries had been reported by Monday morning.

He said Sunday was peaceful until they went to their dorms at 10 p.m. after evening preps.

However, around 10:30 p.m., while in his office, Mr. Mbae noticed a group of students outside the dormitories on his CCTV camera screen. He rushed there, only to discover that they had begun breaking window panes.

The principal attempted to contain the students with the assistance of night guards and other teachers, but the students outnumbered them and he was forced to call local police for reinforcement.

He claimed that the police were slow to respond and that he had to drive to a station about six kilometers away to pick them up. The three dormitories had gone up in flames by the time they arrived.

Firefighters from Tharaka Nithi County were able to put out the fire before it destroyed a fourth dormitory.

“When the police started shooting in the air to disperse the rioting students, about 243 of the total 1,030 walked out of the school and spent the rest of the night in the bushes, though some returned in the morning,” said Mr Mbae.

The board of directors of the national school agreed to close it indefinitely and asked parents to select their children.

Students who spoke to the media under the condition of anonymity said they were protesting prefect harassment and a punitive administration.

This was supported by some parents, who confirmed that their sons had long complained about harassment.

Parents and journalists were both barred from entering the school until investigators on the scene finished gathering information.

The news comes just a few weeks after students at Mama Ngina High School in Mombasa were sent home after a similar incident.

According to the school administration, the students set fire to a section of the school before it was extinguished to prevent further damage.

They went on to say that the decision to send the students home was made to alleviate any tension and potential damage caused by the first incident.

Parents who came to pick up their children chastised the school administration for keeping them in the dark about such incidents, only to be informed when the damage had been done.

Cases of school fires in the country have recently increased, with the government, through the Ministry of Education, promising severe punishment to those found guilty.

Parents have shifted the blame to school administration, which has shifted the financial burden to them as part of the effort to restore discipline among school-aged children.

Each year has also seen a flood of analysis into the causes of these fires. For example, in 2008, a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating secondary school students’ unrest held 33 public hearings attended by thousands of Kenyans.

Another parliamentary committee conducted interviews at 97 schools in 2016. The range of issues raised in those public inquiries – as well as in the majority of media coverage – has been broad.

The investigation in 2008 resulted in a massive report that identified 49 “possible root causes” and 124 recommendations. Students’ indiscipline, alcohol and drug abuse, peer pressure, school mismanagement, dormitory congestion, too many exams, criminal gangs, tribalism, poor parenting, students’ use of social media, and sensational media reporting were all mentioned by the 2016 task force.

On the one hand, such breadth may indicate an understanding of the complex set of factors underlying the phenomenon.

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Ikuu Boys Burn 4 Dormitories, Walk Out Of School

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