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Boy dies after teacher canes him for lateness

Friday January 22 2016

Gathungo Primary School head teacher Joseph Karume displays a cane that was used by a teacher to punish pupils in Kieni, Nyeri County, on January 21, 2016. Kevin Kagura, a Standard Six pupil at the school, died on Wednesday evening shortly after the beating. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

Gathungo Primary School head teacher Joseph Karume displays a cane that was used by a teacher to punish pupils in Kieni, Nyeri County, on January 21, 2016. Kevin Kagura, a Standard Six pupil at the school, died on Wednesday evening shortly after the beating. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP. 

NICHOLAS KOMU
By NICHOLAS KOMU
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A 14-year-old boy died after being caned by a teacher for coming to school late.

Kevin Kagura, a Standard Six pupil at Gathungo Primary School, in Nyeri County, died on Wednesday evening shortly after the beating.

The headteacher, Mr Joseph Kagume, told the Nation he was away, attending a meeting, when the incident happened.

He, however, admitted that the boy and four others had been caned.

“His classmates told me the pupils got nine strokes each for being late and playing in the rain,” he said.

SCHOOL DENIAL

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Mr Kagume, however, said the caning could not have caused the boy’s death as he was epileptic and had fainted.

But Kevin’s father, Mr Jackson Mwarari, disputed this, saying his son had never suffered seizures or been diagnosed with epilepsy.

“My son was completely healthy. Even when he left this morning he was well,” he said.

Some pupils said Kevin collapsed as he was being caned by the teacher. The school is yet to record a statement with the police over the matter. 

The school head said he had advised the teacher not to come to work for the time being.

OCPD Michael Mbaluku said the matter was being investigated and the teacher would be charged.

“We are trying to establish if the child had any medical condition and what might have led to the death,” he said.

Mr Mwarari said he was informed by a neighbour at around 2pm that his son was not feeling well. He said the neighbour had been called by his child, who attends the same school.

He rushed to the school, which is about a kilometre away from his home, where he found his son’s lifeless body on the classroom floor.

“When I asked the teachers what had happened they kept silent,” said Mr Mwarari. He said the headteacher was not present at the time.

Efforts to get a vehicle to take his son to hospital failed. The father said he was forced to call his sister who lives in Kiganjo, more than seven kilometres away, to get an ambulance to take the youngster to hospital.