Director, Headteacher Arrested over Death of Pupil Confined at School

4 minutes, 42 seconds Read

The Police in Lwengo district have in custody a school director, bursar and headteacher in connection with the death of a nine-year-old pupil. Lwengo District, Coloh Children’s Foundation

The trio had allegedly detained the pupil after his parents failed to pay fees amounting to sh100,000 and was found dead in one of the dormitories on November 25, 2023.

The suspects include; Coloh Children’s Foundation director Chris Matovu, headteacher Julius Ssekatawa and bursar Muzafaru Kagenda.

Police identified the deceased as Joel Ojuma, 9, a resident of Byuma zone, Kyazanga town council in Lwengo district.

Police explained that the deceased Ojuma was a pupil at the Coloh Children Foundation and on Friday, November 25, 2023, the schools closed for their third term and the pupils were dispatched to their homes.

“Three children remained behind including the deceased who had some school fees balance and parents were to pay before taking children. The sister to the deceased, Alinda Kasifah, was sent to pick Ojuma from school but the bursar refused her to take him minus paying and the deceased slept at school with another boy child Allan Lwanga who was also detained,” the Police statement released on Tuesday says.

The statement further notes that on Saturday, November 25, 2023 Lwanga was finally taken by the parents and two pupils remained at the school, Ojuna and a girl Lamulah Namugga but they were in separate dormitories.

“At about 12:00pm, the cook only identified as Robert sent Namugga to take food to Ojuma in the dormitory, but she found him dead. She ran and called a teacher who confirmed and alerted others, they called the director who reported to the Police,” the statement adds.

Previous cases of detention of learners

This would not be the first case of a school owner detaining pupils over fees.

On November 15, 2023, police in Mukono Division forced the director of Pherry Junior School in Mukono Central Division, Mukono Municipality, Sylvia Okite Nandudu to release a 13-year-old Primary Seven candidate whom the school had detained from November 9, 2023, over her parents’ failure to clear the school dues.

According to Mukono Division Police Commander, Edrisa Kyeyune, the director of Pherry Junior School, Okite, had detained the pupil after sitting the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) accusing her parents of failure to clear sh2.2m in school fees arrears.

Police identified the pupil’s parents as Joseph Kasirye, a boda boda rider and Florence Nabbanja who are residents of Mukono town.

The DPC forced Okite to release the girl, saying what she was doing was unlawful confinement.

“Never joke with people’s children. The school ceased to be responsible for the Primary Seven pupils immediately after sitting PLE. The only thing you were supposed to do was to hand over the children to their respective parents,” Kyeyune said.

He advised Okite to look for alternative means of demanding for the school fees balance including working with the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) to see how the results would be withheld until the parent clears the school dues.

“If even the Police are only mandated to detain people for 48 hours, how can a school detain a poor pupil who is innocent for all these days?” the DPC wondered.

He, therefore, asked Okite to send the girl to the Police with immediate effect so she can get her freedom. Kyeyune asked Police detectives to record Okite’s statement as she directed teachers to take the girl to the Police.

However, on Tuesday, November 14, New Vision Online visited Pherry Junior School where Kasirye, the father of the detained girl, was also locked inside the school premises.

Kasirye said that the school administration called him to go and pick up his daughter in the morning but when he reached the headteacher’s office, he was given a document which he was asked to sign if he wanted to get his child.

“I asked for a copy of the document to read through, but they declined, saying my role was to sign and get my daughter, saying it was a mere commitment of payment. I refused because I would not assent to an agreement which I had not read through,” he said.

He confirmed that on the last visitation day before PLE, the school asked for any parent with a child in P7 to clear the school fees to zero balance, adding that because he had no money, he handed to them his boda boda card, with a commitment that if he fails to pay the money, the school will be free to take the motorcycle.

“To my dismay, when I went to pick up my daughter from school on Thursday after writing her final PLE paper, the school declined to hand her over to me saying I was supposed to first pay the money which I did not have. From that day, I have been going there asking for my daughter but in vain,” he explained inside the school gate locked with three padlocks.

The DPC Kyeyune also asked for Kasirye’s release, and after he got out, he went to the Police for a meeting.

It is alleged that the school had detained a total of eight pupils whose parents had failed to clear the school dues.

On Monday, while talking to New Vision Online on phone, Okite said other parents were okay with the school’s decision but it was only Kasirye who was causing the confusion.

“I have educated their children and allowed them to sit PLE, then what criteria apart from this should I use to get my money?” she asked.

Police raided the school and forcibly took a way the girl and handed her over to her parents after recording statements from all the parties.

* Source – The New Vision 

Let others know by sharing

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!