The New Reality

January 22, 2021

As schools nationwide gear up for a new school year during the pandemic — whether virtually or in person — meeting the social, emotional and mental health needs of students and staff will be a huge challenge and priority for the school systems. Helping schools adjust “to the new reality” of COVID-19 and addressing the significant emotional challenges students face is paramount.

In the last week, the schools have witnessed a lot of aggression from the students. The students are acting out and behaving in a dangerous and harmful ways. One student took a knife and attacked his teacher, inflicting serious injuries on him, The teacher was admitted to the hospital in need of urgent surgery. Another student attacked a fellow student, badly injurying him; another was caught with a knife in his bag and had to be bound up with ropes as the school administration waited for the police to come take him away.

Student unrest in schools is escalating every day. The stories in the media are sad to listen to, and yet we need to hear the stories, so we can focus our energies on addressing the issues presented. Many arents have reached the point where they are unable to manage their children. The parents send their children to school hoping the teachers will do what they have failed to do.  A school watchman in one of the schools was sacked because he was buying alcohol and cannabis for the students and bringing the substances to school. In this case one wonders, if the security person is a parent himself, if he has daughters, how would he feel if someone were supplying drugs and alcohol to his daughter in school?  What leads someone to carry out such an evil act?  He is aiding in ruining the lives of young girls, and for what? These girls cannot be paying him much for these service, so one wonders what drives him to do such a thing.  One student in the school has got so used to smoking cannabis that she has totally lost focus. When the school administration called the parents, the mother said they have tried everything possible but she just won’t stop the drug habit. The parents have gotten to the point where they are so afraid of her, they just let her be.  The daughter being in school, gives them a sense of relieve; they hope the teachers can handle the situation.

The teachers in these schools are going through a very hard time. They are expected to ensure that the students pass their exam, maintain good discipline and become good citizens.  The teachers are overwhelmed; they are facing a lot of difficulty dealing with the student issues, and now they face bodily harm from these same students.  The teachers have become afraid to openly rebuke or discipline the students when they err because they fear the retaliatory consequences. Unfortunately, these children watch how their fellow students behave, and they follow suit, like the rampant burning of schools that happened some years back.  Unlike in the past when children listened and obeyed their teachers and parents, the children of today have become a menace to reckon with and discipline.

Many parents have lost their jobs due to Covid and are struggling to pay tuition fees for their children. Now, many are dealing with the issue of drugs and student unrest.

Suicide and couples killing each other has been reported in the media again. The stress that all these issues bring often cause parents to go into depression, and when these parents cannot cope, they fight. Divorce eventually becomes inevitable and when there seems to be no hope in sight, death can seems like the only way out.

We are tasked by the schools to talk to the students cautioning against these bad behavior. Peer pressure in schools is a great contributing factor; the students are copying what their colleagues are doing and not thinking of how their negative actions affect their lives and those of their parents. These students throw caution to the wind and do what they feel is good for them. Many schools are grappling with student pregnancy. Many students reported back to school while pregnant. The parents are torn between putting the students on the pill or if not, dealing with pregnancy. It is a difficult time, and we are trying our best to help the school administration handle some of the issues. When we are not equipped to address the needs, we bring in professional help.

We will not give up. W will do everything we can to help the students. Not all hope is lost. Most of these children are acting out because of what is going on in their lives especially at home. By getting to the bottom of their issues, we wil, hopefully, rescue some of the children. We are determined to do our best. We cannot and we will not give up on them.

A medic on the far right helping the girls at A.I.C Ngong cope with the fears of COVID 19 and setting the record straight on the many myths associated with the outbreak. The medic is sponsored by Valvisions Foundation.


Bridget, the head girl at AIC Ngong School, with a poster donated to the school, and the Ministry of Health guidelines on COVID 19 safety.

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