Why I’m looking for another school to enrol Branton

A few days after Branton was brought back to me, I took him to Mwisho wa Lami Primary School. Or rather, I asked him to go to school. Since he knows the school well, he knew the classroom to go to. We would handle the small matter of official admission later.

That morning, I helped the teacher on duty to settle everyone and then sat in my office for the better part of the morning. After the 10 o’clock tea, I went to Class Eight to share my wisdom in Swahili. As you are aware, I am the best Swahili teacher this side of the Sahara. And although I am busy, I have committed at least one hour every two weeks to be in class.

I was in the middle of the lesson when someone appeared at the door of the classroom. On closer look, it was Branton. He was carrying his bag. I asked him what the issue was.

“I have been asked to come with my parents to school,” he said. I wondered why.

“Teacher says I am not registered.”

I asked who the teacher was even though I needed no calculator to know that it was Kuya. I told the boy to wait for me outside my office until I was done with class. After class, I ensured that the boy was fully readmitted to the school. But I had to let Kuya know my feelings.

I raised the matter during lunch break. “Colleagues, we all know that the right to education is one of the basic rights entrenched in the Constitution,” I started.

“All of us have a responsibility to not only give children the best of education, but we should not stand in their way of getting good education,” I added. Everyone looked at me, wondering what I was talking about.

“Stop beating about the bush, Dre,” said Kuya. “If you want to talk about me, just go to the point. Are you talking about your rude son Branton?”

“No, Branton is not rude and, yes, we are talking about Branton,” I answered. “I do not like what you did to him this morning, but I am just asking that we treat our school children better than we are doing.”

“Why are you being general, Dre?” Kuya asked. “Why don’t you let every teacher know what happened so that we can all learn from it?”

“Without going into many details, I was busy teaching when Branton came to see me, saying that Mr Kuya had sent him away,” I said.

“Why don’t you say exactly what the issue was instead of generally talking about it?” said Kuya.

“Since you are afraid to say, let me tell everyone what happened,” he said. “I went to class today to find a stranger in class. As the class teacher, I know everyone. But this new boy had neither been registered nor admitted.”

He went on: “So, I sent the boy to go bring his parents so that we can officially enrol him.”

“I know all that Kuya. But why did you not just give me a call?” I asked.

“Why should I have called you?” he asked. “Is Branton your son?” he wondered. “I thought last time you said he wasn’t?”

I noted the trap Kuya was drawing me to and I thought of ways of avoiding it. “Let us not mix issues here, Kuya,” I said. “The big question is whether this is a market where anyone can come in and out just as they want. Branton just came and went to class without any registration,” he replied.

I told Kuya that Branson was registered but he forced me to admit that the registration was done after he sent him from class.

“And please tell us whether that rule of registration and admission applies to everyone, or you and your family are exempt from it and some other rules,” Kuya said. “We have all seen politicians struggling to prove they went to school. This is how it started, ignoring simple processes.”

I reiterated to everyone that I expected all processes to be followed regardless of who was involved. “Let us not ignore any process in handling all students.”

“And when it comes to discipline, treat everyone equally, even my family,” I said. “Thank you for confirming that, Dre,” said Lena.

I was very busy in the office in the afternoon. I left early that day and passed by home before going to sign the register at Hitler’s. To my surprise, I found Branton at home.

“What are you doing here?” I asked him, surprised.

“I was sent home to go cut my hair,” he said. I took him to a barber immediately. That evening while at Hitler’s, I called Lena and asked what had happened. She said she had sent home many students who had long hair that day, including “your” Branton. I wondered why she couldn’t call to inform me.

“Why should I have to call you? Are you a barber? I thought you said that all students are equal?” She asked me.

The call went downhill from then on.

“You are not the only teacher who has children in this school. Many HMs have children in the schools they teach and they never intimidate teachers. Why do you think you are special?” Lena barked.

Unable to argue with her, I asked that we speak more the next day and disconnected the call.

The next thing I saw was a long message from Lena on the staffroom’s WhatsApp group.

“Hey colleagues, I want to let all of you know that this evening, Dre, the acting HM, called me and shouted at me, asking why I sent away his son to go cut his hair. Although we agreed today that all students should be treated equally, I want all of you to know that his family is above the law. Unless you want trouble, don’t touch them. Don’t say I did not warn you,” it said.

Only Kuya responded: “We must bring to and end this anarchy. No student or teacher is above the law! No one!” It looks like Branton is a marked person. I will start looking for a new school for him as I do not think he will gain anything here with the likes of Kuya and Lena still teaching here!


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