School shut down in Lamu as students demonstrate over Ramadhan holiday


Lamu, KENYA: Lamu Bujra Boys Secondary School in Lamu town has been indefinitely closed after students went on rampage on Wednesday.

The situation at the school is said to have been tense for the past one week and learning disrupted by the students who were demanding for a Ramadhan holiday.

On Tuesday night,the students torched a section of the boarding master’s office but the fire was put out in time.

The situation however got worse and the over 300 students were sent home on Wednesday after investigations by teachers and police led to the discovery of two litres of petrol,match boxes and phones hidden in a ceiling inside Mamba Dormitory at the school and indication of a planned arson.

A teacher at the school who spoke on condition of anonymity said the situation was worse because parents were in support of the demands being made by the students making it difficult to contain them.

The teacher said there was too much indiscipline at the school which is engineered by parents who seem to give in to every whim by their children.

The furious students refused to attend classes on Wednesday.

“They demanded a Ramadhan holiday and when the administration said no,they went on rampage.Its obvious that they wanted to burn down the school for that.The previous day, there was a blackout within the school but we were shocked to see students pelting the boarding master’s office and school security lights with stones. Shortly after, they set the boarding masters house on fire but we were able to put it off. Files were destroyed during the incident,” said the teacher.

Speaking on Friday in Lamu,County commissioner Joseph Kanyiri confirmed the incident but added that the matter was urgently being looked into by the school board of management to establish whether the school will be reopened soon.

“Yes.Can you imagine the students wanted to burn down a school because they were denied a holiday.Following the discovery of petrol and match boxes,it was clear that they were bent on it and the school had to be closed to avert further crisis,”said Kanyiri.

The county commissioner said he was also aware that parents in Lamu always side with their children in schools making it hard for teachers to instill and enforce discipline and urged parents to lead by example.

“Tell me how you can discipline a student whose parent thinks you are always wrong?  Parents should help their children see reason. School is just for a season not eternal. We must make our children understand that they must stay in school not for us as parents but for a better tomorrow.Allow teachers to be parents to your children by not taking sides.It doesn’t help to do so,” said Kanyiri.

In June last year, the school had to be closed after students went on rampage to protest against suspension of their six colleagues who were found in possession of mobile phones, SIM cards, phone chargers and other phone accessories within the school compound,a gross violation of the school rules and regulations.

On June 22, 2016, Mpeketoni Boys Secondary School was also closed down following riots by students after they were denied to watch Euro-2016 soccer match between Croatia and Spain.

During the incident, students torched the school workshop and also damaged the school computer lab, store and exam room.

Lamu Bujra is however becoming a constant venue for student unrest considering the rate at which such cases are taking place.