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Time to uproot school bullying 'tradition'

UREPORT
By Calvin Kiprono | March 7th 2017

 I followed keenly the rather disturbing story of bullying at Alliance High School.

I read through every line of the victims' experiences. In the end, they all sounded familiar - I could relate with all of them because, like many Kenyans who went through high school, I have traveled that road.

From the onset, let us agree that school traditions can be interesting. But when they go overboard, they can be very harmful.

In our case, they were hell.

Being a Form One student was the most frustrating thing. First, you attracted all sorts of ugly and disgusting names. Once you were admitted, you lost your official name and identity and acquired a new name, "mono".

The transition from having an identity to losing it seemed so natural that for a whole year, we referred to ourselves as monos.

Graduating from being a mono involved a brutal ritual that happened a night before the admission of new Form One students.

In the middle of this night, the dormitory lights would be turned on then the ritual would begin - from painful whipping to enforced dancing and singing.

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[removed][removed] What punishment should high school bullies be given?

Even back then, school prefects wielded enormous power. I hated some for what they did to us, but it was a school tradition, one which we were made to believe prepared us to be 'men'.

Looking back today, I realise that no school child ought to go through this nonsense. Schools must be vigilant against such 'traditions' that could blossom beneath the most glittering veneer of discipline.

Priority must go to fostering a family environment where all learners interact freely.

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