For violating an order to re-admit 20 students, a school principal in Nyeri was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to six months in prison.
Othaya Boys High School Principal Edward Muhuni was found to have defied a March 23 order requiring him to re-admit the candidates who had been suspended for assault in a judgement given by
High Court Judge Justice Florence Muchemi.
The kids, through their lawyer Muhoho Gichimu, had supplied sufficient documentation that the order had been served on the principal and the school’s Board of Management (BOM), according to Justice Muchemi.
She said that they gave stamped copies of the order acknowledging that it had been received by school administration and that they had responded to it.
“Service of the orders on the respondent has not been disputed in this matter,” she explained, “since the school’s BOM has responded in an attempt to excuse its failure to obey the aforementioned order.”
She chastised the school administration for neglecting to file a legal challenge to the directive.
“Assuming the school had a problem with the order, it would have ordered its lawyers to dispute it in court,” the judge stated. “But nothing of the like was done, and it instead remained firm in shutting the children out of its premises.”
According to court documents, the pupils were suspended in October of last year after attacking three of their classmates, one of whom was gravely hurt.
Mr Muhoho stated in an affidavit that he rescued the three students from the school’s washroom block, where the event occurred, and reported the occurrence to the police station.
After the kids were charged in court, the school decided to suspend them during a BOM meeting because they were suspected of bullying others.
However, the pupils went to the High Court, seeking orders compelling the school administration to re-admit them until the outcome of the lawsuit.
The children and their parents were asked to a conference with school administrators following Justice Muchemi’s directives to discuss how they would sit their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams, which were set to commence in March.They were also obliged to report ready for re-admission and pay Sh3,500 to the institution.
During the hearing, however, the students’ lawyer, Mr Muhoho, told the court that the school administration had lied about the contents of the invitation.
“Instead, the pupils were told that they would be day schoolers and would be housed in a nearby local school, where they would be looked after by an external cook and an armed officer hired by the school,” Mr Muhoho claimed.
The Sh3,500 was supposed to cover the cost of the outside cook’s services.
Mr Muhoho alleged that during the BOM meeting, school administrators were not friendly and chastised the kids for suing the institution.
Mr Muhoho further stated in court filings that the administrators only convened a meeting in response to the court order after the county director of education interfered.
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