State threatens to sue Homa Bay parents for evicting school heads

 Parents had stormed Otok Mixed Secondary School

A group of parents had stormed Otok Mixed Secondary School to eject the principal, who was recently posted to the learning institution, when students pelted them with stones in a fracas that left a teacher injured.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group

The government has threatened to take legal action against parents who damage school property in attempts to eject newly posted principals.

Homa Bay County Commissioner Moses Lilan said a number of schools in the county have witnessed cases where parents storm learning institutions to hold protests.

This has happened in more than 20 schools since the beginning of first term this year.

Some of the protests were the result of dismal academic performance in last year’s national exams. In other cases, parents have accused school heads of misuse of school property.

 Mr Lilan said most cases happen when new principals are posted to affected schools.

 According to the administrator, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is in the process of ensuring learning institutions record better academic results.

 The commission is therefore conducting a routine transfer of headteachers.

"We have witnessed disturbances in many schools. Most of the affected institutions are those whose school heads were changed," Mr Lilan said.

The latest case was reported on Monday at Ober Boys High School in Rachuonyo East sub-county.

Parents held protests at the school when they learnt that the institution got a new principal.

According to the parents, the former principal, Mr Tom Odhiambo, ensured the school excelled in academics and he should have not been transferred.

A similar protest was witnessed last week at Otok Mixed secondary school in Rachuonyo North where parents clashed with students who were repulsing them after they stormed the institution.

Mr Lilan said transfer of principals is meant to stabilise academic performance.

“TSC is a professional entity and any time they do changes in schools, it is informed by the regulations governing teachers transfer,” he said.

The county commissioner said protest in schools is not warranted and security officers will not hesitate to take action against whoever causes disturbance in learning institutions.

“It is an aspect that is bordering impunity. Let us keep our schools as peaceful as possible,” he said.

During some protests, parents have tried to forcibly eject newly posted school heads.

Mr Lilan, however, advised aggrieved parents to use other mechanisms of seeking help, such as petitioning the Ministry of Education and TSC.

He said the changes are done with the best interest of the school community.

“I don’t believe transfers are meant to disadvantage any school. In any case, chances are that it will foster stability of the school,” he said.