ABOUT 20 Form Four pupils at Loreto High School have been suspended for allegedly engaging in group sεxual activities in July.
One of them has reportedly gone on a hunger strike in protest against her expulsion from the school located in Silobela, Midlands Province. The pupils were at school to sit for their June-July Ordinary Level examinations.
It is said the pupils, both male and female, were caught pants down in the girls’ dormitories in July with the reported suspension coming now, a development that has drawn the ire of parents who are questioning the motive to punish the pupils ahead of their final examinations.
Midlands Provincial Education Director Mr Jameson Machimbira confirmed the incident on Friday.
He however, said he was still waiting for finer details from a team which went to the school on Friday to investigate the matter.
“Yes, we received information that some pupils both male and female from Loreto High School had been suspended following reports that they were caught engaging in unconfirmed sεxual activities. I received phone calls from some affected parents who wanted the Ministry (Primary and Secondary Education) to intervene citing the timing of the suspensions. So, we sent a team to investigate the matter on Friday and they are still to give me a report. So, I am waiting for the report,” said Mr Machimbira.
In an interview, a parent of a suspended child said her son confirmed to her that they had been caught while engaging in sεxual activities in the girls’ dormitories.
“My son is currently doing Form Four, and is going to write his final examinations in December as advised by the Government. We were notified by the boarding master that they wanted us as parents at the school on October 13, reason being our son had committed an offence and they did not give any further details of the offence nor when it was committed,” said the parent on condition of anonymity to protect the child.
She said she was told by the school that her son was caught while engaging in a group sεx in the girls’ dormitories.
“Before I knew it, I was advised to come and collect my child since they had expelled them from school because they were allegedly having sεxual affairs. The only tangible evidence they had was they had heard from other students that the students had misbehaved in July 2020 when they were writing mid-year exams.
“My son completed writing on the 14th of July and that’s the day he arrived home but we heard that the Form Six students who had exams later during the month of July were the ones who had committed the offence. Most of the students had owned up and confessed to have misbehaved well after my son had gone home,” narrated the parent.
She said if it was a genuine disciplinary procedure the school should have informed parents of the offences committed by students and even suspended them pending disciplinary hearing.
The parent said affected parents have gone back with their children.
“The children are obviously traumatised by all this. We are not saying children are above the law, no, we only want what is best for our children and in this case, they should be in school preparing for examinations and not at home,” she said.
She said one of the suspended girls hasn’t been eating for the past three days because of trauma.
“One affected girl tried to plead her innocence without anyone listening to her and has gone for three days without eating food. It’s sad for the children,” she said.
The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema told Parliament last week that Government does not expect any children or teachers to misbehave.
He said school heads, school administrations and the inspectors are there to make sure that pupils don’t stray.
“We will do everything we can to protect the children and I’m ready if any Honourable Member has that evidence let them come to my office and show me and we will do the investigations. We will go out of our way to stop every criminal activity that may be taking place in schools. We are ready to listen to everybody, every parent, every guardian or community member; if you see any indecent activity by any child, please bring that information to my office,” said Minister Mathema.