Protests as teacher is blamed for death of Grade 5 pupil

Police in Trans Nzoia is investigating an incident where a Grade five pupil at Namanjalala Primary School in Trans Nzoia county died after alleged punishment by his teacher on Friday.

Mike Wanjala 12, died at 11pm on Friday at Kitale County Hospital where he had been admitted in critical condition.

According to his classmates, the deceased was punished by their teacher, who ordered him to run around the school playground 13 times, as punishment after he allegedly broke a goalpost.

After the punishment, the deceased fainted and started vomiting blood, before the alleged teacher ordered the school security guard to take the boy home.

He was then taken to Kitale County Hospital by a neighbour Edith Juma since his parents had gone out for casual work.

“Mike was brought here by the school guard and he was vomiting blood so we decided together with another neighbour to rush him to the hospital as we informed the mother who was away,” said Ms Juma.

Catherine Wanjala, the mother of the deceased said she got to the hospital an hour later to find her son being attended to by doctors, but his condition was serious.

“My son was well when he left home for school in the morning. Why would a teacher punish a child like that? It is very painful to me as a mother and I want justice for my son,” she said.

She said her son died a few minutes past 11pm at the ward where medics were attending to him. She said medics told her that her son might have suffered bleeding in the brain when he passed out at the school.

The deceased’s father Geoffrey Wanjala 45, said he was tormented after the death of his son who he said was a bright and disciplined child.

“I have been left hopeless after this incident and even after losing my son nobody from the school administration has come here to tell us what happened,” he said.

Following the incident, parents and residents staged demonstrations at the school, demanding the dismissal of the teacher and the head teacher.

The angry residents and parents accused teachers at the school of using corporal punishment on their children and called on the police to investigate the matter.

The incident came hot on the heels of another incident in Nandi county where two teachers are on the spot for allegedly causing the death of a Form One boy, whom they caned a week ago for cheating in a Physics exam.

The matter is still under investigation, and a government pathologist is handling the post-mortem to determine what exactly killed Kevin Kiptanui, 16, who was a new student at Chemase Secondary School. The local community demanded an independent investigation and post-mortem, as they demanded action on the teachers implicated.

In Trans Nzoia, parents led by Mr Benard Wanjala demanded that the Ministry of Education makes immediate leadership changes at the school.

“We cannot allow losing our children in the hands of people who are supposed to take care of them. We want police and Ministry of Education officials to swing into action to ensure we get justice,” said Mr Wanjala.

Trans Nzoia County Parents’ Association chairperson Wellington Waliaula called for a thorough investigation into the incident. He said several parents have raised alarm over corporal punishment by teachers at the school.

Attempts to contact the school head teacher Rose Kisia failed, cause her phone was switched off.

Kwanza Sub-County director of education Kennedy Makokha visited the school to engage parents who had threatened to cause further chaos.

The director said the matter had already been reported to the police and the ministry and action will be taken against those involved.

He called for calm as the government engages the school management before disciplinary action is taken.

Trans Nzoia County Directorate of investigations (DCI) coordinator Francis Kihara said detectives have already launched investigations and key witnesses have recorded statements before a post-mortem is conducted to ascertain the cause of death.

“We are on top of the matter and starting Monday, you will see heads rolling. This a very unfortunate incident,” noted Mr Kihara.

The body of the deceased is lying at the Kitale County hospital mortuary.

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