We have received complaints alleging diverse and serious human rights violations arising from administrative actions taken by the school.

We are informed that on Wednesday May 25, 2011, a Form One student came across a polythene bag containing items and a passport photo within the school compound. She showed it to a school Captain. The Captain showed the bag to two other Captains to obtain their opinion on how to address the matter.

Another student identified the passport photo as belonging to a Form Two student, who the three Captains called. She confirmed the items were hers and said they were given to her by her mother—who is believed to be a person within the Ministry of Education—for protection.

The school Housekeeper was then informed and advised the Captains to report the matter to the Deputy Principal. The Deputy Principal referred the matter to the Principal, Mrs Ruinge, who decided to send home the student who had admitted to being the owner of the items.

The mother of the Form Two student sent home then, allegedly, went to the school and in disregard of laid down administrative and disciplinary procedures, demanded to interrogate the three Captains.

On the evening of Monday May 30, 2011, the mother verbally assaulted the three Captains, demanded that they write apology letters giving their index numbers, admission numbers and signatures and threatened them with being “thrown behind bars and locked up for life.” Under duress, the three Captains wrote the said apology letters, which were initially taken away by the mother.

Two of the Captains were then summoned to appear before two representatives of the Board of Governors for disciplinary measures to be taken against them. The Principal said she would deal with the two “appropriately.”

She suspended them on June 6, 2011. The students reported the matter to the KHRC through their parents, in the course of which other allegations of human rights violations emerged and the KHRC wrote to the Principal seeking re-admission for the students and an investigation into the allegations of human rights violations. She has since refused to readmit one of them until she withdraws the complaint made against the school through the KHRC.

Our Concerns

We are concerned about the manner in which this issue has been handled by the school’s administration, contrary to the best interest of the children as stipulated in Section 4(2) of the Children’s Act and Article 53(2) of the Constitution. The child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child and must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies.

In our opinion, the school deviated from this principle by inter alia allowing an external party (the mother) to interfere with administrative and disciplinary procedures at the school. The Principal also failed to carry out investigations into the allegations and did not call in the parents of the two Captains before taking any administrative action.

Instead, she allegedly allowed a parent into the school to verbally assault and threaten the two Captains in her presence without alerting their parents and advising them to be present. Furthermore, that parent was initially allegedly allowed to take away the apology letters written by the two Captains instead of having them filed in the students’ official records.

As the Principal, she is expected to act as a custodian of the children placed under her care and must at all times act in the best interest of the children. Her failure to protect the students resulted in exposing them to verbal assault, threats and emotional/mental distress in light of the fact that they are scheduled to sit for their mock and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations this year.

As a result of being wrongfully accused and fearing for her future, one of the students was hospitalised.

We note that:

  1. The school’s administration disowned its earlier decision of suspending the student found with the items and instead apportioned all blame to two of the prefects who reported the matter for advice.
  2. The Principal had shirked her responsibility of protecting the two prefects by allowing a parent to verbally assault and threaten them.
  3. It is unclear whether all members of the Board of Governors have been fully briefed on all the matter, meaning that the Board’s capacity to exercise oversight over the Principal is uncertain.
  4. All the students involved in the matter who had been earlier suspended for reporting the matter have been re-admitted except one, whose conditions for re-admission include:
  • Withdrawing the KHRC’s letter of June 6, 2011;
  • Writing apology letters to: a) the school’s administration for indiscipline and incitement; and b) VN (a minor), the student initially suspended;
  • Promising to be of good behaviour henceforth.

These conditions are unreasonable and could be construed as preventing the student from raising her concerns regarding the Principal’s handling of the matter at hand so as to prevent the resolution of these concerns.

Our demands

  1. We demand that all suspended students be re-admitted unconditionally forthwith.
  2. The Department of Children’s Services was conducting investigations at the school into the matter at hand and other allegations of human rights violations, including defilement of some students by a teacher other arbitrary suspensions on flimsy grounds. We therefore demand that the findings of these investigations be made public.
  3. We call on the Permanent Sectary, Ministry of Education and all relevant authorities—the Board of Governors, Loreto Convent Limuru Girls’ High School, Cardinal John Njue and the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi, and the Secretary, Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC)—to institute investigations into these allegations to establish the truth about them and, if true, to take appropriate action(s) with the persons responsible and ensure policies and procedures are in place/reviewed to prevent any possible recurrence.



For the KHRC,

L.Muthoni Wanyeki
Executive Director
Kenya Human Rights Commission