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Standoff between teachers, parents at St George's as students demand break

By Akello Odenyo | Published Wed, September 13th 2017 at 00:00, Updated September 13th 2017 at 00:39 GMT +3
Huge fire razed down Kitchen at St.Georges secondary school,on 9 September 2017,in Nairobi.[Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

There was confusion at a city secondary school after parents were called to pick up their children, then were turned away when they arrived.

Parents and guardians who went to St George's Girls Secondary School at the weekend said the administration had asked them to urgently pick up their children without any explanation.

"I was called by my daughter's class teacher, who asked me to pick up my child. The teacher did not tell me why but with cases of fire outbreaks in our schools, I rushed to the institution. I did not want to take any chances," said one of the parents whose daughter is in Form One.

However, parents were later told they could not leave with their children unless they wanted them suspended from school.

Nairobi Director of Education Maina Nguru declined to explain to the parents what was happening, only saying: "Take your children with you and deal with the consequences or leave them in school compound now.

"You only have two options: register with the management and take your child away and wait until the school calls you back or leave the child in school. I will not listen to any reactions."

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The school's principal, Lucy Rukunga, said the students have been sending her abusive text messages, threatening to torch dormitories if they are not allowed to go home.

Destroyed kitchen

"It is sad we have got to that level. While some students were really traumatised by the fire that destroyed our kitchen recently, some took the opportunity to disrupt studies, demanding to go home," she said.

Rukunga said the school has engaged counsellors to find out what is troubling the students.

"The counsellors have said while some students were genuinely effected by the threats by their colleagues, others only wanted to go home," she said.

She added: "So we decided to find out who among the students wanted to go home and who wanted to stay. After consulting with the Ministry of Education, we contacted the parents whose children wanted to go home to come to school."

The parents said it was unfair for the school management to call them to pick up their children without any explanation, then resort to victimising the students.

"I travelled all the way from Eldoret after being asked to pick up my child. There was no explanation why I should pick her up. Now they are telling me to take away my child at my own risk. This is very wrong," said Joe Karani.

A section of the kitchen was on Saturday night razed by a fire.

This came just days after a deadly inferno killed nine students at Moi Girls School, Nairobi.

No casualties were reported St George's as the police and firefighters contained the inferno before it could spread.

The cause of the fire has yet to be established.

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