Form three student dies by suicide after order to shave

Shamamcy Wanjiru died by suicide after she was sent home to shave her hair. [Istockphoto]

A Nakuru family is in grief after their teenage daughter died by suicide following a school order to shave her hair.

Shamamcy Wanjiru, a Form Three student at Langalanga Secondary School body was found lifeless dangling from the roof inside her grandmother’s house in Kaloleni Estate.

According to her grandmother Jane Wairimu, the deceased had been given the instructions by her teacher after she and other students were found undoing each other's hair at school.

"She was given the punishment on closing day September 16 alongside 13 other girls. The school reopened on Wednesday and they had not shaved," said Wairimu.

According to a letter dated September 26 seen by The Standard, the school Principal Mrs Rufina Nkonge sent her back home for her guardian with a view of discussing the matter.

“You are requested to come to school on September 28, 2022, at 10 am to discuss the issue of your child undoing her hair during closing assembly,” the letter read in part.

On the said date, Wanjiru was escorted to the school by her aunt who met the teacher and other parents whose children had been sent home for the same reason.

“The Principal maintained that they had to shave for them to be allowed back as it was against the school rules for them to undo their hair while in the facility precincts,” said Wairimu.

The parents are said to have left the institution with their children, some of them agreeing with the directives as others resisted.

“I left my niece at home in the afternoon. We spoke about the matter and she agreed to shave. I gave her money and told her to do it in a way she would be comfortable and acceptable by the school,” said Rosemary Wanjiru, an aunt to the deceased.

Wanjiru left the 17-year-old niece at home with her daughter hoping to find her having complied only for her to learn that she had not taken the instructions lightly.

“She didn’t show any emotions when she agreed to shave. I sent my daughter to pick lunch for their grandmother in the house only for her to return saying she found her cousin taking her life,” said Wanjiru.

On arrival, the family and neighbors found the minor who is a total orphan hanging on a curtain she had torn and made a noose from.

“People tried to resuscitate her but it was too late. She had no pulse and her body started getting cold. She had very long hair which she proved to have had a very strong attachment,” she said.

Although the family has apportioned partial blame to the school, they have called on the management to trace the other girls in a bid to avert similar actions.

“They have done me wrong. Our child has lost her life just because of her hair which she had for the last three years. The school should take responsibility of counseling the entire group which was involved,” she said.

Nakuru County Police Commander Perter Mwanzo confirmed that the matter was reported to the police who collected the body and took it to Nakuru Level Five Hospital mortuary.

Hours later an apology letter to the school principal written by the deceased was recovered in the house.

“I am sending this note to let you know that I am sincerely sorry for misbehaving. I deeply regret my actions. I also jeopardized the relations between you and I. Looking forward to hearing from you,” the note dated September 27 read in part.

Efforts to get a comment from the school principal were futile as The Standard team was kept waiting for her to no avail for hours at her office despite her being within the school precincts.