Narok school closed after 700 girls storm out over sexual harassment

Some of the students who stayed behind during the walkout at Masaai Girls Secondary School in Narok. [Robert Kiplagat, Standard]
A girls’ secondary school in Narok has been closed indefinitely after over 700 students walked out of the school compound at around 4am protesting alleged sexual harassment by a male teacher.

Tension was rife at Masaai Girls secondary school, located on the outskirts of Narok town, as enraged parents stormed the school demanding answers after their daughters were found stranded in the town’s streets in the wee hours of the morning.

Some of the parents who spoke to journalists at the institution tearfully narrated how their daughters risked their lives by walking out of the school unattended.

“My form one daughter called me at around 5am informing me that she was stranded in town.I was terrified.I sent a taxi driver to pick her up and I am now here at the school to get answers on what really transpired,” said Triza Nadupoi,a parent.

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John Partungas, another parent, called for speedy investigations and apprehension of the culprit behind the incident saying as parents they wanted assurance of the safety of their daughters at the school.

“Lives of over 1,000 of our girls at this school should never be taken for granted.So far we cannot account for majority of them and we do not know whether they are safe or not,”lamented Partungas.

The school administration, teachers, parents’ representatives and area education officials who held an hour-long crisis meeting over the matter acknowledged that a male Board of Management(BoM)-employed male teacher was under investigations over sexual harassment.

“It is true that there was a sexual harassment case by a male teacher at the school. On Monday, our quality assurance officers started the investigations and I cannot pre-empt the progress of investigations,” said Samuel Sankale,Narok North Sub-County Education Director.

He however ordered the school to be closed to allow the investigators complete their probe into the incident.

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Rose Oteko,the school Principal who did not deny investigations of the teacher, revealed that there were other underlying issues that might have provoked the students to walk out of the school.

“I am really sorry to the parents for what happened at our school today. It is so unfortunate. I was not aware of the alleged sexual harassment case until last week Friday when I was called by the investigators over the same,” explained Mrs Oteko.

The Principal however pointed an accusing finger at a former teacher at the school whom she said might have incited the students into rioting.

“There is a former teacher who was transfered from this school and seems was not amused and had warned the students of demonic spirits at the school should he not be returned,” said Mrs Oteko.

Schools Parents Association Chairman Joseph Pareiyo assured parents that no stone will be left unturned in a bid to unravel the saga adding that the school management should not interfere with the ongoing investigations.

“As parents we expect nothing less than thorough investigations. We want to see heads rolling. We love this school and we want it to be a center of academic excellence and not a place where we feel worried of the safety of our girls,” urged Mr Pareiyo.

School Board of Management Chairman Lemita ole Lemein said they are deliberating on the matter and will soon call all parents to brief them on what exactly happened.

He said: “The school shall remain closed till the board gets fine details on the incident and we shall call the parents to inform them on what happened. We are working with the education officials to summon teachers, subordinate staff and all the concerned persons to give us an explanation.”

The incident happens barely over a week ago after Moi Girls-Nairobi was closed after a student was allegedly raped by unknown persons on Saturday, June 2, this year.

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