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The bullies of Alliance High School will pay – Matiang’i

Parents and children’s rights activists on Thursday demanded the prosecution of those said to have tortured students at Alliance High School as Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i promised that action would be taken.

Chilling details of bullying and torture meted out on students — including one in Form Four — by prefects emerged following investigations by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Ministry of Education.

The premier school’s board of management, led by Mr Sam Mucheru, held a day-long meeting to discuss the damning report. A board member declined to disclose what was being discussed in the meeting, saying the chairman would give a brief.

With the exit of Mr David Kariuki as principal, focus shifts to a deputy principal in charge of discipline, who has since been interrogated by police in Kiambu County. Also questioned by police were a security officer, a nurse and three other staffers.

LIE ON GRAVES

More than 10 students reported being beaten up with sticks and electricity cables, slapped and forced to lie on the graves of the school’s founders for hours on end at night and to “swim” on grass.

Speaking at the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic graduation in Mombasa on Thursday, Dr Matiang’i said there was a clear policy guideline for addressing bullying of students in schools.

The CS assured parents of Alliance boys that the ministry was working with the TSC, the management board, the old boys’ association and faith-based organisations to end bullying.

“Schools’ management should ensure students have comfortable and conducive learning environment,” said Dr Matiang’i.

He, however, declined to reveal the action being taken against the Alliance High bullies, whose torture on fellow students led to one of them ending up using crutches.

“What happened is an incident that is being addressed,” Dr Matiang’i told journalists. “I am so satisfied with the conversations that are going on. I am so satisfied with the board of management of Alliance.

“They are fantastic and brilliant people who are involved.”

The CS said his ministry is keen on addressing cases of bullying and mistreatment of children.

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

“We want to make sure that learning environment is very conducive,” said Dr Matiang’i. “We are taking great care of our children.”

He added: “We don’t accept bullying and mistreatment of our children when they go to school. We want to raise happy and confident children not those who feel demeaned, harassed and mistreated.

“We have a responsible government. We take great care and we are keen on this.”

The CS assured parents that his ministry will end bullying and mistreatment of students in all schools through implementation of policy guidelines.

“We have very good conversation going on with Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association and Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association. We are working on this,” he added.

Uhuru Community Development director Davis Okombo said those involved should be held criminally responsible.

INTERDICTION OR SACKING

“We do not expect interdiction or sacking; those involved must be charged in court since the victims are children,” said Mr Okombo, adding that many cases could be going unreported.

National Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo said appropriate action must be taken. He added that prefects have no mandate to discipline students.

Reacting to a claim of cover-up of bullying by a parent on Thursday, Mr Kariuki said: “All these are a pack of lies stage-managed to paint me black.”

Teachers unions came to the defence of the principal, who retired on Tuesday, saying proper investigations must be done.

“We condemn bullying at all levels,” said Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) chairman Omboko Milemba on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion also defended the former principal.