My take tonight is about the recently released report on bullying at one of Kenya’s most celebrated learning institutions - Alliance High School.
Tales of what the students were allegedly subjected to, read like the script of a horror movie. From beatings through the night, to broken limbs, being forced to lie on graves, making phone calls using smelly shoes, being denied food and much more.
These allegations come right after news that the principal of the school David Kariuki had somehow left the teaching profession. TSC accepted what it said was a normal resignation by Kariuki, after 29 years of service.
Teachers’ union, KNUT, on the other hand, protested Kairuki’s sudden departure claiming that the teacher had been forced out on flimsy grounds.
We may never know who to believe or whether Kariuki’s departure had anything to do with the bullying report, but what we know for sure is that what happened at Alliance is wrong. It is unacceptable. As a matter of fact, it is downright criminal.
One would think that these are obvious statements of fact, about which there would be no dispute.
Contary to the prior, the many conversations I have seen in the wake of this report suggest that we are a very troubled society.
How can we rationalise this as just another set of nomral high school experiences? This is not just bullying, folks. This is not monolising, no, it is not some high-sounding boys to men induction programme. This is criminal. It is thuggerey, period.
It is easy to see why we cannot face this vice and call it by its real name.
The truth is, we have become a bullying society. How many times do we see innocent users of social media harangued all day by faceless bullies who thrive on making others miserable?
What about those hot- headed motorists who want to push everyone else out of the road to satisfy their inflated egos? Or the ones who honk endlessly at any driver with an ‘l’ sign on their car? We could talk about the rich who routinely bully the poor and the voiceless out of their rightful pieces of land. Or the doctors and nurses who taunt patients and their relatives alike at those hospital queues – at least when they used to be there.
Ladies and gentlemen, bullying is not about the acts, it is a state of mind, a misguided notion on society’s power relations, a primitive mind drunk with power- one that sees a position of priviledge as a licence to exploit and oppress.
And so, those boys and teachers who had anything to do with the horror at Alliance must surely be brought to justice, but, while at it, I dare say, we must also ask ourselves why young boys in their early teens can mete so much evil on their colleagues , seemingly so effortlessly.
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And that is my take.