COSTS OF REPAIR

Kakamega School wants court orders on fire penalty set aside

Principal says some students and their parents willing to pay the damages and resume learning.

In Summary
  • Orina wants the orders set aside or reviewed to allow parents willing to pay the penalties to do so.
  • A parent filed an application and obtained stay orders stopping the school from charging the parents for damages caused by the November 6 fire. 
Kakamega School gate
Kakamega School gate
Image: / HILTON OTENYO

Kakamega School wants the court to lift an order blocking its resolution to charge each student Sh9,823 for damages caused by fire.

School principal Gerald Orina said in his replying affidavit that he was aware a large number of students and their parents were willing to pay for the damages and resume learning.

“Unless this court sets aside or varies or reviews that part of the order staying resolutions of the board, several operational and functional parts, a huge part of the functional and managerial discretion of the school administration remains invalidated and illegitimate,” he said.

Orina said the orders had tied the hands of the school management by barring it from implementing policy imperatives for the proper running of the institution.

A parent filed an application and obtained stay orders stopping the school from charging the parents for damages caused by the November 6 fire. The petitioner argued that parents were never involved in the decision by the BoM.

 Child Care Legal Aid Clinic has also filed a petition seeking orders to permanently outlaw the penalty, arguing that it went against the fees structure guidelines 2021 as released by the Ministry of Education.

The two cases will be heard ex parte on Tuesday next week before Justice William Musyoka.

According to minutes of a BoM meeting held on November 6, the school identified some students as the culprits in the burning of the two dormitories.

He said preliminary information from the senior boarding master indicated that the fire was started by the wilful and malicious acts of many students.

Police arrested 16 students but all have been released without charges being preferred against them. 

According to the minutes filed in court, a section of school alumni had been publishing negative remarks about the institution on social media.

“After the resumption of learning from the Covid-19 break, the alumni requested for a venue to set up a training camp for soccer on the school compound, which was against protocol. The request was rejected by the school administration,” the minutes read.

Orina said the cost of repairs on the damaged buildings, as estimated by the Kakamega county public works stand at Sh12,185,540.

“In order to discourage students from reckless and wanton destruction of property, whenever students destroy school property, the damage is assessed by Public Works and parents become obliged to bear the cost of reinstatement,” the principal said.

Edited by A.N