Students of Moi Girls School Nairobi yesterday trooped back to school, a week after the institution was closed following the defilement of a student.
While it initially appeared that only a few students would return, as evidenced by the few learners who trickled in during the morning hours, their numbers shot up considerably after midday.
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The teenage girls smiled and exuded calm as they walked into the school. But according to their parents, many are troubled following last week’s incident.
“These children are really traumatised, even as you see them returning to school,” said a visibly worried Elijah Obinga, a parent.
According to Obinga, the sexual assault incident had taken a heavy toll on his daughter, which manifested as bouts of fear and panic.
“We have been counselling her since she came home. We had to treat her delicately and talk to her continuously to ensure she was alright. I think the school should also counsel them.”
Many of the parents who spoke to The Standard gave similar accounts about their daughters.
According to the revelations of parents and a staff member who chose to remain anonymous, the most heavily affected are Form Two students.
“Last year, the Form Two students were the victims of the fire that killed 10 students. This year, it is a girl who was in that class that was raped,” the staff member said.
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Some parents have grown so fearful of the institution that they are already planning to transfer their daughters to other schools.
Agnes Adongo, the mother to a Form One student, said she was particularly alarmed by the school’s poor fence.
“The administration told us they had fixed the fence, so today when I brought my daughter I decided to go round the school to confirm. Unfortunately, there are still several loopholes,” said Ms Adongo.
A spot check by The Standard confirmed Adongo’s claims.
Nevertheless, Brian Weke, a member of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), noted that the majority of parents were optimistic about the safety of the students.
“We had a meeting as parents and as the Board of Management last week, and we managed to deal with a number of issues. Before, the school did not allow parents to see their daughters’ dormitories, but today they were permitted and were able to inspect them,” said Mr Weke.
He added: “We have dealt with security on a short-term basis. The Ministry of Education has allocated money for the construction of a fence and five police officers have been assigned to guard the school for about two months. We have also hired more security personnel and the closed-circuit television cameras that were not working will be replaced.”
Following the defilement of the student, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed appointed a nine-member interim board, headed by Nairobi Regional Education Coordinator John Ololtuaa, to manage the school.
Florence Omusula was also appointed as the institution’s acting principal in the wake of Jael Mureithi’s decision to take early retirement.