Parents Want Justice For Students Who Died In Schools’ Custody.
Two lives lost, and many questions with few answers is the situation that two families in the North Rift are facing.
Six months apart, the families lost their daughters in two different schools.
Beryl Jerop, a Form 1 student, died last October 24.
She died of bacterial meningitis, according to postmortem results from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Her parents claim they were never informed that she was ill.
The death was reported to the Kabiyet police station, but the family was later informed that the case was closed.
They claim that the family was never involved in the proceedings.
“We were never informed that our daughter was sick only to later learn that she had died,” Jerop’s mother says.
“It seems they had a different parent with whom they agreed to close the file concerning the death of my daughter.”
According to a letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions dated January 10, 2022, there was no negligence on the part of the school.
According to Nandi county police commander Naomi Ichami, an inquest was opened after a report of Jerop’s death was made to the Kabiyet police station on October 24, last year.
The student was said to have become ill at school and was taken to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Uasin Gishu county, where she was pronounced dead.
“We did open an inquest file and later forwarded the same to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as is required by the law,” Ichami says.
On January 10, 2022, the ODPP advised the police to close the file because there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in connection with the death.
Another family in the Turbo sub-county is struggling to cope with the loss of their daughter.
Sally Bett’s first thought when she wakes up in the morning is to go to her daughter’s grave in Kosachei, Turbo, and pray for her soul.
She believes her daughter would be alive today if the school administration had been concerned about getting her better medical care.
Emily Chelang’at, a Form 3 student, died from meningitis.
Bett claims her daughter was ill for two weeks but the school did nothing to get her medical attention.
“She was sick for long while in school and the administration let her sleep in the dormitory instead of taking her to hospital,” she says.
“It’s sad I only came to hear of my child being sick during the closing day when I went to pick her up as usual. I was informed she was very ill. I asked the matron about her whereabouts but she was rude and told me to go and look for my child.”
Bett, who has been depressed since her daughter’s death, claims she has gone to several offices in search of justice but has made no progress.
The families have stated that they will not give up until justice is served.
However, the schools in question have insisted that the cases be handled by the police.
According to Kenya National Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo, it is concerning that parents have been left to fight for justice on their own while unknown forces conspire to obstruct them.
Maiyo and the two families want the DPP to reopen the two cases and charge those who are found to have neglected their duties.
Human rights activists in the region, led by Kimutai Kirui, are also urging the DPP to reinvestigate the two cases.
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“The DPP should go back on these two cases so that all those who handled the two students are made to record statements. The two families need some kind of closure and that cannot happen amidst mystery,” Kirui says.