Transport on the Kombani-Kwale road was disrupted at Tsimba in Kwale County for two hours Friday morning when Mwamgunga Girls Secondary School students held protests over what they called poor management.
More than 200 placard-waving students were joined by their parents and school workers in the demonstration from the school to the road, placing barriers to block traffic.
The students complained about poor services, including bad food and unreliable water supply. Parents cited frustration from the principal and the hiking of school fees.
School board chairperson Juma Gavuga said the school is being mismanaged. Principal Winrose Mwaniki, he said, had not addressed water scarcity and was frustrating workers.
"She has not been following advice from the school board and wants to be a dictator in every decision,” he said.
Although they had raised their concerns with relevant stakeholders in the Education ministry at the county and regional levels, he said, no action had been taken.
He also said that many teachers had been unfairly dismissed.
"We are scared that the school may fail in the coming years if this continues. That's why it is important that the management is changed," he said.
The students said they were not getting enough water even though they have agricultural projects that will be examined.
They added that Muslim students lacked a place to hold their prayers.
"[The principal] closed one of the buildings under construction where we used to pray and asked us to do it in the washrooms,” one of the students said.
The girls also alleged that they were not receiving free sanitary pads and were instead being asked to buy them from the school for Sh60 per packet.
For their part, parents said that they had been dismissed by the school head whenever they raised their concerns.
They also said students were frequently sent home for school fees though parents were making payments to the school account.
But Ms Mwaniki dismissed the allegations made by the students and parents.
"The only problem is that parents do not want to pay school fees. They planned this before but it did not go through. I think they are being influenced politically," she said by phone.
She added that she was away from school and could not comment further on the issues raised by the students.
It took the intervention of Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya for the road to be reopened after he addressed the angry protesters.
He asked students to resume their classes.
"We are going to hold a crisis meeting with relevant authorities to solve the matter. Holding protests is not the best way to deal with such problems," he said.