By Anne Chebet
A dozen students of Bungoma high school in Bungoma County were today morning injured after engaging the police in running battles close to five hours.
The agitated students engaged the police in hide and seek games as they protested against their principal, Mr Samuel Kaunda, accusing him of ruling them with an iron fist.
They also destroyed the school property of unknown value as they broke the classrooms window panes and pelted the school bus with stones.
They blamed the principal of poor leadership and that he employs dictatorial tendencies when handling them, saying he is a lone ranger and to make matters worse, he banned co-curricular activities at the school.
“Our principal is ‘big headed’ he doesn’t listen to anybody including teachers, he has banned all co-curricular activities and says the school is not a talent center but an academic center,” they claimed.
“He uses divide and rule policy in taming teachers. The staff room is divided into factions leading to poor delivery of services,” said a student who sought anonymity.
They said Mr Kaunda does not involve anyone in making key decisions that affects the welfare of the students and that complaints by the students to have their grievances solved has always fell on deaf ears.
Police bashed a number of them in Bungoma town as they were carrying twigs and staging protests.
A parent who was at the school at 6 am reported that one student was badly injured as the police hurled a tear gas canister at him in the school compound.
According to the parent, his thighs were burnt and fainted, adding that the boy was taken to Bungoma county referral hospital for medication.
Teachers who managed to speak to the county guardian said that they were tired of the school principal.
One teacher said that the principal is arrogant and does not work with other teachers. The teacher who requested not to be identified asked TSC to transfer the principal or expect academic degradation of the school.
“He is arrogant and not a team player. We are tired of his colonial behavior. Let him be transferred to some other place or else we will see the worst performance in the history of Bungoma High School.
The principal is also reported to be using foul language when addressing students and taking unnecessary disciplinary actions against the students.
The fracas erupted following the death of a form one boy who fell from his bed on February 27 and was pronounced dead on arriving to the hospital. The senior prefect told county guardian that when they reported the matter to the principal, he dismissed them.
“When we reported the matter about the injured boy to the principal, he just dismissed us. We were later told that our schoolmate has passed on,” said the senior prefect
Efforts to get the school principal’s comment were fruitless as he was engaged in resolving the matter in school.
The county director for education Fred Osewe and other senior education officials had arrived in the school ready to solve the matter.