Othaya Boys Principal Pays Sh30,000 Fine To Avoid Jail.
A school principal in Nyeri who was found guilty of contempt of court for failing to re-admit 20 students was fined Sh30,000.
High Court Judge Justice Florence Muchemi sentenced the Othaya Boys High School Principal Edward Muhuni to a fine or a month in prison.
This came after Mr. Muhuni, through his lawyer Siro Christopher, told the court that his disobedience of the order was dictated by the need to protect the students’ lives.
“It was therefore not intentional, I pray that the respondent be granted a fine instead of being committed to court,” he said. A receipt produced in court shows that the school has since paid the fine.
The court ruled that the School Principal had disobeyed a March 23 order requiring him to re-admit the students, all candidates, who had been suspended for assault.
Justice Muchemi stated that the students, through their lawyer Muhoho Gichimu, had provided sufficient proof that the order had been served on the principal and the school’s Board of Management (BOM).
She stated that they provided stamped copies confirming that the order was received and responded to by school administrators.
“Service of the orders on the respondent has not been denied in this application as the school’s BOM has replied trying to justify its failure to obey the said order,” she said. She faulted the school administration for failing to challenge the order in court.
According to court documents, the students were suspended in October of last year after attacking three of their classmates, leaving one seriously injured.
Mr Muhuni stated in an affidavit that he rescued the trio from the school’s ablution block where the incident occurred and reported the incident to the police station.
After the students were charged in court, the school decided to suspend them at a BOM meeting because they were suspected of bullying others.
However, the students rushed to the High Court and requested that the school administration re-admit them pending the outcome of the suit.
Following Justice Muchemi’s orders, students and parents were invited to a meeting with school administrators to discuss how they would sit their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams, which were scheduled to begin in March.
The school also demanded that they report ready for re-admission and pay Sh3,500.
During the meeting, however, Mr. Muhoho, the students’ lawyer, informed the court that the school administration had violated the terms of the invitation.
“The students were instead informed that they would be day scholars and be accommodated at a nearby local school where an external cook and an armed officer contracted by the school would take care of them,” Mr. Muhoho said.
The Sh3,500 was intended to cover the cost of the external cook’s services.
Mr Muhoho claimed that during the BOM meeting, school administrators were not cordial as they condemned the students for suing the school.
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Mr Muhoho also stated in court documents that the administrators only called the meeting in response to the court order after the county director of education intervened.
The lawyer had requested that the principal be sentenced to six months in civil jail for violating the court order.