Three schools in Chuka/Igambang’ombe Constituency, Tharaka Nithi County have become the latest to be torched as the wave of fire incidents continues being experienced in learning institutions.
The three schools were burnt in the last 24 hours, with police treating students as the main arson suspects.
At around 12am on Saturday, a dormitory at St Teresa Kanthanje Secondary School was torched but villagers and police officers managed to put out the fire before it consumed everything.
Mr David Ngondi, the police commander in charge of Chuka and Igambang’ombe sub-counties, said they suspect that the fire was started by some students who later fled from school and are being sought.
At Kajuki Secondary School, a 136-bed-capacity dormitory was also torched at around 9pm on Saturday but still some properties were salvaged.
Mr Ngondi said a total of 22 beds, among other properties, were reduced to shells, forcing the boys to spend the night in the cold in classrooms.
Found smoking bhang
He said four students — two of whom were found smoking bhang in the school’s latrines — were arrested and taken to Kathwana Police Station for questioning.
He added that others were found drunk.
Mr Ngondi said preliminary investigations indicated that the dormitory was torched by the sympathisers of the four boys.
“The fire was noticed some moments after the teacher on duty summoned the four boys in the office and we suspect that it was set on fire by their sympathisers,” said Mr Ngondi.
Two stores burnt
On Sunday at around 5am at Joseph Allamano Boys Secondary School, fire gutted two stores.
The police boss said the incident is being investigated but there are indicators that the fire could also have been started by students.
Mr Ngondi urged school administrators, especially the teachers, to cultivate a good relationship with the learners.
He noted that in most of the cases, teachers — especially the principals — are to blame because, instead of addressing concerns that students raise, they adamantly ignore them.
“During Valentine’s Day, I had to plead with the students of Kiereni Secondary School after they started hurling stones at teachers demanding to be given time for entertainment while the teachers were not even ready to address the issue,” he said.