Former Alliance High School principal Christopher Khaemba has broken his silence in the wake of bullying cases at an institution he served for 23 years.
Speaking on Monday, the Nairobi County’s land executive revealed he was nicknamed ‘sodium’ because of his strictness and discipline he instilled in students at the national school.
The school has been thrust into the spotlight — not because of good performance — following a damning report by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over life threatening bullying that has left a student walking with the aid of crutches.
The report has left the country wondering whether the bullying had been there for years.
However, Mr Khaemba has termed the revelations as unfortunate saying during his tenure, such cases were unheard of.
Having served the institution for over 23 years in different positions, Mr Khaemba said discipline among students at that time was not ‘questionable.’
He was a senior master between 1984 and 1990 before being promoted to deputy principal in 1990 to 1995.
“I have been in Alliance for 23 years and never had any incident such like this…during those days I served as a deputy principal I instilled discipline to the boys,” he told the Nation.co.ke.
In 1995, he was transferred to Friends School Kamusinga as the principal. At Kamusinga, he found serious cases of bullying which he says within six months at the institution, no such cases were heard as he instilled discipline in the boys.
In 1998, he was transferred back to Alliance High School, now as the principal in which capacity he served for ten years.
However, he acknowledges there were minor cases in which he demoted school captains between 2003 and 2006 due to indiscipline.
“I remember vividly that at one point I had suspended and demoted a school captain but I am not sure if he had administered punishment to a boy…it was not dramatic as it is now,” said Mr Khaemba.
Mr Khaemba said that during his tenure, he personally inducted new students by ensuring that he had regular meetings with them to ensure they adapted well.
Consequently, he involved Form Twos to guide the Form Ones around the institution in a cycle he says was to create a good relationship among the students and make them to be responsible.
At Kamusinga, he recalled, bullying was rampant because students had weapons in their dormitories but once he confiscated them, bullying was eradicated.
He termed bullying as a crime and child molestation and should not be termed as a tradition by any school.
“One cannot associate me with molestation of boys…I take discipline very serious and bullying is purely a crime and not a tradition,” he said.
On Friday the former Alliance principal met head teachers from the former Western province in Nakuru where he urged them to take serious the job of settling Form Ones in their schools instead of delegating it to senior students who later harass the new students.