A secondary school principal from Kisumu County is under investigation by the government after it emerged that the teacher conspired to block a Form 4 candidate from sitting her final examination, citing her mental health.
The form 4 candidate at St Barnabas Girls School in Kombewa had been registered for the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam but was denied her right due to ‘her attempt to commit suicide.’
“The above-named student attempted suicide in school owing to reasons she alleges emanate from home,” said the terse letter by the principal Mrs. Benter Ayacko, dated December 7, 2020.
The letter however did not mention how the 17-year-old candidate attempted to end her life. The administration stated that the reasons began from home.
The student was sent home, all her belongings packed, in the school van and driven to her rural home in Gem, Akala (Siaya County), and handed over to the area assistant chief.
A Teacher, Mrs. Deborah Mideva, and the school matron are said to have escorted her, a local administrator confirmed.
The girl’s father has blamed the principal for unilaterally deciding without hearing their side of the story.
“Instead of attempting to counsel the child over an alleged suicide attempt, I was surprised that my child was forcefully ejected from school without informing us and establishing the root cause of the problem,” he said.
His two attempts to seek an audience in the school were denied. He says her daughter did not face a disciplinary panel, neither sanctioned by the board before her dismissal.
Kisumu County Commissioner Josephine Ouko stated that they are probing causes that could have led to the expulsion of the girl in December 2020.
“I sent a letter to the headteacher directing that the child should be allowed to learn and I’m surprised that no action was taken,” said the Kisumu County Director of Education Isaac Atebe who’s efforts to resolve the dispute failed.
The father was forced to privately pay for his child’s tuition at home for the last three months and when the time came for his daughter to sit for KCSE exams on Thursday she was sent back again by the school management.
“I took accompanied my daughter to school for the rehearsals, but security guards asked me to leave her at the gate.
“A few hours after leaving the school, my daughter called me using the phone of a boda-boda operator alerting me that she had been sent away,” he said.
After the intervention of the Kisumu County Commissioner the child was readmitted to school after 6 pm.
“It is unfortunate that the child is being stigmatized and sent away from school over what should have been resolved through professional counseling,” said Mrs. Ouko.
Mrs. Ouko said it is against the right of her child to be denied education.
“We are going to investigate the matter and forward it to the Teachers Service Commission for a possible disciplinary action to be taken if it is indeed found that she flouted the law and blatantly disowned directions from her superiors,” said the county administrator.