Fresh details have emerged on last moments of the Bomet girl who took her life after she was allegedly scorned by her teacher over menses mess.
In a preliminary report by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), it has been revealed that Jackline Chepngeno suffered shame in school, which drove her to commit suicide, yet there were plenty of sanitary pads in the deputy headteacher’s office and at her home.
On September 6, the day she hanged herself, there were 77 packets of sanitary pads in the store of Kabiangek Primary School in Konoin, Bomet.
“The school had received its full consignment of sanitary towels for second term,” the report signed by TSC CEO Nancy Macharia reads in part.
At home, Jackline had left one packet in her box, according to the 42-page report presented to National Assembly Committee on Education on Thursday.
“The (investigation) team visited her home and confirmed that she has used of the two packets of sanitary towels give to her by the school on 30th July 2019,” Ms Macharia says in the report.
The pupil was among the 50 eligible girls who had been receiving their supply of sanitary pads from their school in July. Each of them were issued with two packets for use during the month of August and September.
Jackline’s mother, Beatrice Kirui, confirmed to the investigation team led by Bomet County director of Education that the girl had one packet of unused pads.
“The girl told me that she had been sent home by teacher Jennifer (Chemutai) for staining her clothes but she had left pads at home,” she said in her statement.
Ms Kirui’s statement, however, contradicts the statement recorded by the teacher, who was Jackline’s class teacher and taught her English.
In her statement, Ms Chemutai said she neither ridiculed nor sent the pupil home while the investigators alleged she talked to the girl “politely”.
She claims after realising that the pupil had stained her uniform, she informed her “it was normal” and left for the staffroom to bring pads.
On the fateful day, according to the report, Ms Chemutai had asked her pupils to write composition using pencils.
But a few of the pupils, including Jackline, did not have pencils and were instructed to go and borrow from lower classes.
“But Jackline hesitated. But when Madam Jennifer prevailed upon her to go borrow pencil and do the assignment, she stood and walk toward the door,” the report says.
“That is when the teacher noticed that she had soiled her dress, followed her outside and talked to her politely.”
The investigators say the teacher accompanied the pupil to get the sanitary towels after which she could go home, change her uniform and return for afternoon lessons.
“But when the teacher headed to the office to get the sanitary towels, Jackline walked towards the gate and went straight home. Attempts to call her back bore no fruit,” the investigators say.
On reaching home, Jackline explained to her mother that the teacher had dismissed her after staining her clothes.
According to the report, Ms Kirui instructed her to wash her clothes and return to school in the afternoon.
“She complied, picked a bucket and a leso and went to the river. But at around 2pm word reached Jackline’s family that she had committed suicide,” says the report.
According an earlier report by the police, it was at this water source that the pupil was overwhelmed by shame and decided to hang herself using the leso.
“When our officers arrived at the scene, they found the girl had committed suicide using a leso and the body was moved to Kapkatet Hospital mortuary,” Konoin Sub-County Police Commander Alex Shikondi said.
Following the incident and the ongoing investigations, the TSC has since sent Ms Jennifer Chemutai on compulsory leave.
Dr Macharia said the suspension was to create room for impartial investigations on the matter “to confirm any professional culpability on the part of the teacher.”
“The leave will also accord the teacher her security and safety and grant her opportunity to defend herself from the allegations. This will also accord her a chance to be subjected to due process of the law,” the CEO told MPs in the report.
The report was prepared pursuant the demand from Bomet Woman MP Joyce Korir.