Kimathi Mutegi @kimathimutegi
When parents dispatch their child to school, they do so in the knowledge that the institutions are some of the most secure places — besides hospitals and military barracks at peacetime.
One, there is security in numbers. Two, the unwritten code of society protects children, especially those in uniform, from any harm.
In fact, even the fences are not meant to keep outsiders from getting into the school. They are meant to demarcate borders to keep at bay salivating land grabbers in the neighbourhood. That is in addition to preventing the cheeky teenagers from venturing out of the safe-zone and into the tempestuous world.
The student can easily step over the rotting barbed wire, or squeeze through the gap in the dying live fence, but they won’t. And that’s because of a psychological phenomenon involving the discomfort of things called consequences.
But times have changed. There now are saliva-dripping vampires out there who do not give a hoot about laws and consequences. They peep through the non-existent fences and instead of seeing children struggling with the rigours of adolescence, books and morphing into future leaders, they see objects for quenching their lust.
They often —either physically or mentally— leap over or slither through the rickety fences to prey on the vulnerable minors! But these vile perverts must be stopped dead in their tracks! First, fix the fences, and second, guard the girls.
The police have promised to prosecute the school guards for failing to prevent a crime, which is alright. But is it enough to rile at the water guy for failing to prevent water from spilling, yet the pipe is littered with holes?
Let’s make it hard, if not impossible for unauthorised persons to access the schools. By keeping out outsiders, it will also help narrow down the list of suspects in the event such an unfortunate incident happens.
But we may also need to re-look at the design of our schools. In most institutions, dormitories are ugly blocks of concrete placed at the farthest, remotest corner of the expansive compounds. They are usually the faces of neglect, hidden from both view and inspection, even by parents.
Given, sleep has never been documented as the ideal way for academic success. However, it is turning out that these are the most deadly sectors of our schools. From rapes to fires, we need to re-think the design of our schools so that our children do not fall prey to tragedies when at their weakest!