A Kenyan schoolteacher and some of his students allegedly beat a 10-year-old student so badly that she later died.
Parents of students in the class at Mukandamia Primary School in Solio, Laikipia County, Kenya, said that, according to their children, the teacher gave Joy Wangari a severe beating before ordering her classmates to join in, in a possible effort to cover up his actions, reports Nairobi News. No one has been arrested yet in connection to the crime.
The alleged beating happened on Jan. 26 after the teacher discovered Joy could not read.
"The desk mates were ordered to teach her how to read and beat her if she could not," parent Mary Wanjiku said. "The teacher started hitting her on the back when the girl said she could not read."
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After the beating, Joy told school administrators that she was not feeling well and went home to her grandmother.
"I visited the girl at home and she looked very weak and complained of abdominal and back pains," said neighbor Ann Wairimu. "She said she was beaten by her teacher and classmates."
The girl began vomiting blood on Jan. 29, and she was admitted to the hospital after her condition worsened. She died at the hospital.
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Parents say this is not the first time this teacher was abusive.
"I transferred my child from the school after he was beaten badly by the teacher and there many others who have the same [complaints]," said Simon Mureithi, a parent. "We demand that all the teachers be replaced by others who are more human."
Police confirmed they did receive an assault report but have not arrested anyone, nor have they been notified of the girl's death. In the meantime, the teacher has not been fired.
"At the moment we have not taken any disciplinary action against anyone but should we find any of the teachers culpable then we will take action," said Kamemba Kamande, the district's director of education. "The police are already handling the criminal aspect of it."
The teacher is reportedly in hiding, and police have been unable to question him.
Since Kenya implemented free primary education in 2003 and free secondary education in 2008, more children than ever are attending schools in the country, notes World Education News and Reviews.
Between 2003 and 2007, primary school attendance skyrocketed by almost 40 percent. However, education quality and literacy rates remain problematic, with illiteracy on the rise, even among those who have attended primary school for six or more years.
Sources: Nairobi News, World Education News and Reviews / Photo credit: ARC - The Alliance of Religions and Conservation/Flickr, NewsGrio