Police in Soroti have opened inquiries into the rape of four students of Light Senior Secondary School during a strike over the weekend.
The students rampaged after the school administration decided to stop the candidate’s farewell party at 6pm as opposed to 10pm as demanded by the students.
Police used teargas to disperse the angry students who cut down the school fence and destroyed window panes and doors.
Juma Hassan Nyene, the East Kyoga Police Spokesperson says the medical examinations show that the girls were raped in the chaos.
700 students suspended
Administration has suspended all S.4 and S.6 candidates following the incident.
The students were suspended to allow the school re-organize and prepare for the O’ Level national examinations that start on Thursday.
The head teacher of the school, Samuel Ediau, told URN that the school’s Board of Directors, Parents Teachers’ Association and staff convened and resolved to suspend all the candidate classes following the strike.
Ediau says the affected students will not be allowed in the school compound until Wednesday, when the candidates will be required to appear with their parents, and a fine of 23,000 shillings for the damaged property.
“We have sent all the candidates of senior four and six home. They will come back on Wednesday with their parents. They were involved in a strike”, he says.
The circular suspending the students also asks parents to personally accompany their children to school on Wednesday October 7 at 9:00am with pay slips of the fine.
It adds that ‘delegated parents’ will not be attended to.
Some of the suspended students who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed the school administration for suspending all candidates and not just the ring leaders of the strike.
Samuel Okullo Okello, one of the parents said that although the students did a wrong thing, the indiscriminate suspension does not help the candidates.
“The resolution of TDA board of directors, board of governors, representatives and staff should not have gone to that extent of extreme punishment of suspending candidate classes. It is a double-edged problem. It hurts the parents. It also hurts the administration and the directors of the school in the sense that these children are demoralised and yet they have to attend these Uneb examinations. They have paid for it,” he says.
“I feel as a parent and as an elder that the board, staff and the representatives of the directors should have known that this is a thing which was going to destroy both the parents, the students and the school itself because when these children don’t perform, we, the parents will not be happy. And then also the school will get a very bad name. They should have called the ring-leaders, cautioned them or they should have told them to report on the day of the examinations while the rest are allowed to be at school.”
Parents tried to persuade the school administration to revert the suspension decision in vain. Everest Okello, the Soroti District Education Officer said that he was out of Soroti on official duty, and is not aware about the suspension of the candidates.
Meanwhile, police has been deployed at the school to ensure that no further chaos takes place.
15 students were arrested during the strike on Saturday and remain under police custody at Soroti Central Police Station.
Light Senior Secondary School is a private school with an enrolment of about 3000 students, and benefits from Universal Secondary Education.