Five teachers of Kirimon Primary School in Samburu who were assaulted by unruly pupils last Monday narrated their near-death experience at the hands of the learners.
The attack is said to have been orchestrated by a group of 12 boys who had been initially suspended over allegations of misconduct.
The boys ambushed their teachers with clubs and machetes. Three teachers out of the five targeted were attacked immediately they stepped into various classes for their respective lessons.
Other teachers who intervened were also beaten up by the rogue boys, forcing the teachers to scamper for safety in the homes surrounding the school.
One teacher told the Nation that it was a near-death experience.
“Immediately I got into the classroom in readiness for my lesson, some boy rushed to lock the door from inside as some forced me to kneel down before the class. The more than 12 boys descended on me with rungus which they had carried,” she said.
She continued:” It was terrorising, I thought I would be killed as the other pupils watched helplessly. Some of the boys asked them to leave me alone after seeing me bleeding but they continued with the attack,” the teacher said.
Intervention by a police officer from the nearby Kirimon Administration Police post, who shot severally in the air to save the attacked teachers, was futile as he was overpowered by the rowdy youth.
Cultural beliefs, peer pressure and availability of small arms in the region have also been mentioned as a big threat to both security and education in the region.
“Guns are all over these villages. People have been attacked and shot dead in their homes,” a teacher at the school said on condition of anonymity.
“Some of us are not locals and we live within the small shopping centre here. We cannot be sure of our security especially after the armed police officer was also attacked by the rowdy youth,” the teacher said.
The incident continues to draw varied reaction from various sectors.
A member of the school’s Board of Management, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she had raised concern over boys in the boarding section carrying machetes and rungus with the school administration a number of times but no action was taken.
Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal condemned the attack on teachers and called for speedy investigations.
He assured teachers of their safety in the county, terming the incident an isolated case.
“This is a matter that needs to be looked into before spreading to other learning institutions. As leaders in Samburu, we want to call upon our security organs to establish the root cause of the attack and get a lasting solution to such cases,” the governor said.
Mr Raphael Leshalote, the Samburu executive secretary for the Kenya National Union of Teachers, said the aftershocks of the pupils’ actions would be felt far and wide.
“What happened to our teachers was barbaric, serious and uncalled-for. A learning institution that has pupils that behave like thugs is a very dangerous environment for both teachers and other lower primary children,” Mr Leshalote said.
Our investigations reveal that primary school pupils, some of whom are in their early 20s, pose a serious threat to female teachers in a number of schools in the county.
In a letter addressed to the school’s board, the delinquent learners singled out “madams” in the school as having been behind their troubles.
Culture tends to be central in why the learners took the law into their hands.
“We are very sad to see our school leaders are madams nowadays,” part of their letter said.
In the Samburu culture, women are required to respect morans (warriors) and men by all means, which entails refraining from touching them in public or sitting close to them. Women walking on the same path with men is also considered taboo.
Meanwhile, the teachers have been told to collect their transfer letters by Tuesday as their employer seeks to move them to safer schools.
The teachers told the Nation that they were contacted on Thursday by the Samburu office of the Teachers Service Commission and asked to go for their deployment letters by Tuesday at the latest.
This comes as police asked the affected teachers to record statements so that investigations can be finalised.
Speaking in Maralal, Samburu County Commander Alfred Ageng’o said investigations into the matter were hampered as a result of the teachers not presenting themselves to record statements.
To ensure the investigations are done, Mr Ageng’o urged the affected teachers to record statements.
“We know some of them are not in the county today but we are calling upon them to come and record their statements to allow us pursue the matter further and bring the suspects to book,” Mr Ageng’o said.
On Monday evening, the teachers made a joint report at the Kirimon Police Post but did not write elaborate statements.
The school, located at the border of Samburu and Laikipia counties, remains shut following the Monday morning incident.
Experts: Rot starts from top
Extreme measures that learners take to express their displeasure will not end unless Kenyan adults show more restraint during protests, a taskforce recently recommended.
A team of eight that went round the country to investigate causes of the wave of arson that saw property destroyed in more than 100 schools between June and August 2016 found that the bad examples from politicians and striking unions were catalysing student unrest.
The task force said Kenyan learners know how to ask for their rights “but they don’t know what their responsibilities are”.
“Reckless public pronouncements and demonstrations by politicians, teachers and other members of the society when demanding their rights influence students to adopt violent and destructive mechanisms of addressing their problems,” the team led by Mrs Claire Omolo, the secretary of administration in the Office of the President, said.