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Caning did not work, says mother of student who beat up three teachers

By Jane Mugambi and Vincent Kejitan | February 9th 2021 at 13:10:34 GMT +0300

Rwambiti Secondary School student James Njeru was accused of beating up three teachers. [Courtesy]

Rwambiti Secondary School student James Njeru was last week accused of beating up three teachers after refusing to be frisked.

He was later arrested and detained by police and will be charged with assault.

According to his mother Jane Njeru, her son has been unruly for some time now and issues started when he was joining form one.

Having been admitted to one of the best schools in Embu County in 2012, James looked set for a bright future but trouble started he was often sent home for indiscipline.

According to Jane, the cases were recurrent and at some point the school’s management declined to engage them, forcing them to consult with the Ministry of Education.

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“We blame the principal for not correcting him. He said he did not have time for parents of an unruly child,” she said.

Adding: “I tried my level best to cane him but it did not work...I even tried to talk to him but he rarely opens up on what is bothering him. We even took him to a rehabilitation center but that too did not work.”

This begs the question, is caning the way to go?

In recent weeks there have been numerous cases of indiscipline in schools and some put the blame on parents and teachers for giving students too much freedom.

A fortnight ago, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said the government might have to reintroduce corporal punishment in schools to instill discipline, arguing that students need to abide by the law.

“We are going to be very strict in ensuring that students abide by the law and are disciplined. That is why I am advocating for the reintroduction of corporal punishment but which is well utilized to bring back discipline among students like it used to happen in the past,” said Magoha.

According to Jenny Coetzee, the managing director of Crawford International School Kenya, the past year has had a significant impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of most people, and students have not escaped the impact of Covid-19 and the curfews in this regard.

She advocates for a more controlled approach towards handling indiscipline with keen focus on emotional needs.

"The students we said goodbye to last year when schools closed, are not the same ones who recently returned to us. They were faced with unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty for months on end, and some even the loss of loved ones.

“We as educators, need to be aware that on top of the demands of providing the highest quality of academic excellence, we should also be cognizant that our students may require increased levels of compassion, support and empathy,” she says.

Student Unrest Rwambiti Secondary School Teachers Punishment
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