School sees the devil in boy’s drawings

Some of the drawings by the student at his home in Kiratina, Nakuru. (Photo: Moses Kipsang/Standard)

A Form Four student has been expelled from school over what the institution has termed as his demonic drawings.

Bahati Boys’ Secondary School in Nakuru accuses Ian Njenga of “drawing suggestive art associated with demonic faith”.

His expulsion letter, signed by the school principal Patrick Ombok on February 13 this year reads: “He (Njenga) has drawings which are suggestive that he is owing allegiance to some faith”.

Njenga, who going by his work is a talented artist, is also accused of drawing a scorpion on another boy’s shirt which the school says is a sign that he was recruiting other students to a cult.

The boy, however, strongly denies that his drawings have anything to do with a cult or even demons. He says he is a ardent artist and that he always draws during his free time.

“I have several drawings which I draw inspiration from and drawings from other artists in the streets. I have always loved drawing especially during my free time,” he told The Standard.

The school further accuses Njenga of being in possession of several newspaper cuttings of women with letter “P tattoos” on their bodies.

The student terms the school’s punishment too harsh and says he has never had any disciplinary case before or even been warned against drawing.

disciplinary case

The boy’s mother, Mrs Nancy Njenga, has accused the school administration of frustrating the boy’s studies especially as registration for the national examinations nears.

“It is very frustrating that he has just been expelled for drawing which he has always loved. He has been drawing just like his father ever since he was a small boy”, she said.

Mrs Njenga said she was only informed over the weekend, during an academic day, that her son had a disciplinary case. She was advised to talk to him so that she derives the meaning of his drawings.

“I was very surprised but I talked to him and even asked a friend to talk to him so that we could get anything. But it was just his pure love for art and that was the report I took to school on Monday,” she said

Afterwards, Mrs Njenga was told to go home with her son after she was informed that the school would no longer keep him. Further, she was advised to enroll him in a day school where she could monitor him daily.

The principal emphasised that the school does not condone anything associated with demonic beliefs as it has a strong Christian foundation.

“We have so many things within the school that Ian could have drawn inspiration from like cows or even portraits of other students. But drawing suggestive things like snakes and scorpions is not condoned in the school,” Mr Ombok said.

According to Basic Education Regulations 2015, the board of management ought to have forwarded the recommendations to “exclude” the student to the County Director of Education.

“Where the County Director of Education receives the exclusion of learner recommendation of the Board of Management then he or she shall seek from the institution the advice of the County Education Board,” the regulations states.

The County Education Board would then make a decision whether to order for conditional or unconditional readmission of the learner, transfer the learner to an alternative institution or transfer him to a corrective centre  in the context of education.

However, the head teacher told The Standard the decision by the board was final and that they would not readmit the student.

Ombok said they have advised the mother to pay attention to what her son is drawing.

“We have suggested that he be taken to a day school, a situation which the board thought was best for both parents to scrutinise what their son might be up to. We have also recommended counselling for the boy,” Ombok said.

Nakuru Teachers’ Service Commission director James Nkorori said the situation needs to be handled diligently.

“We will follow up with the matter and offer a solution once the case is brought to our offices,” he said.