The question of headteachers ignoring due process and resorting to rumour and conjecture to intervene against individual students may be coming to a head soon. While there is no protection against discrimination for gay students in Kenya the issue of sexual orientation being used as grounds to expel students from school may also arise when a case filed by five form four students expelled from St George’s Girls Secondary School for allegedly being lesbians. They have sued the institution for victimization and discrimination.
The start reports:
The girls, all aged 17, have sued the School through their parents. They want the court to order for their immediate re-admission saying it is their basic right to access education.
According to court documents filed by lawyer Mwangombe Mwakio, the girls were suspended on April 8, 2015 and later expelled on May 18 after the institution disciplinary committee made a decision to kick them out.
The committee claimed the girls were caught red handed in an act, the school terms as a major offence.
“Your daughter named above has been suspended from school for gross misconduct. You are required to appear before the school disciplinary committee on April 24 to show why your daughter should not be excluded from the institution,” reads in part a letter sent to the girl’s parents, signed by Lucy Rukunga, the school principal.
During the disciplinary committee session, the parents were questioned whether their daughters were lesbians and whether they were attracted to women
In an affidavit, one parent says she was informed that her daughter was expelled because she associated herself with another female student who is a “criminal”.
Another letter from Rukunga that communicated the decision to expel the girls from the city school states that they will be allowed to sit for their final exams but will have to wait until the school advises on the terms that they will be allowed back in October.
The recommendations were forwarded to the ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
The five denies ever being caught in any compromising situation and accuses the school administration of being “high headed”.
Their case is that they were revising on their beds when they dozed off.
One of the girls says she was sleeping in the bed and her friend was sleeping on top of sheets when they were found by the deputy headmistress who demanded they write about their “sleepover”.
They say insinuations that they are lesbians has made them to lose their self-confidence and esteem.
They believe they were expelled without a valid reason, which is contrary to the constitution and the basic Education Act 2013.
“Denying us rights to be in school at the time when we are expected to prepare for final examinations not only affects us but also destabilizes our families”.
Another parent says the Disciplinary Committee was not properly constituted because it was comprised of the principal and her two deputies who were accusers, prosecutors, the judge and executioners.
According to the parents, their children’s right to education and to a fair administrative action have been infringed.
Apart from seeking damages, the parents want the school to avail time and resources to enable their daughters catch up from where they left.
They also want an order directing the school to pay tuition fees incurred during their suspension and any other costs that may be incurred if they are forced to join other schools.
– See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/students-expelled-being-lesbians-sue-school#sthash.gBqPfUIA.dpuf