By Faustine Odeke
A total 33 students of St Peter’s College Tororo have been expelled after they secretly planned to burn down the school on June 28.
The move comes barely a year after the school was indefinitely closed following student unrest which led to destruction property.
The students were protesting against decision taken by the school board of governors to ban musical dance during the celebrations to mark St Peter’s day which falls annually every June 19.
Mostly from Senior Two and Senior Three, with their ring leaders in Senior Four, the students began demonstrating when they tore the order of the service before the Archbishop Emeritus James Odongo who was leading celebration mass.
They divided themselves into three groups with those in the planning, mobilization and others trained in martial arts to do physical destruction of the targeted facilities such as the Fine Art room, workshop, and the school bus.
‘’St Peter’s as big as it is can't miss a dance for a full year. Act or we…!! St Peter’s day is the only day we have, at least candidates have, how about us?. The idea of half day minus music and others should be a misconception. Try to revise that!" was the message on papers that were secretly dropped in the entire school compound.
The litres of petrol
The school head teacher, Joseph Olokojo, said after being arrested, one of the ringleaders confessed before his parents that he was only used by their leaders to circulate the information amongst the students to take action.
Olokojo said some students organized a fundraising at Tororo youth center with other external students who were earlier expelled from the school and admitted in other schools in town to raise about 10 liters of petrol to burn the school.
Simon Peter Sebeni, the headprefect, said none of the prefect leaders had been aware of the secret strike until when one Senior Six student overheard the plan and tipped them.
He said the planned strike was being funded externally by students who were expelled and always sneaked into the school with alcohol to cause havoc during the time of the dance.
Herbert Oketcho, chairperson of the student council, said some of the students were disgruntled by the change in the program that saw the dance phased out.
He said as leaders, they immediately mobilized themselves and started cracking on the ringleaders until they managed to recover two litres of petrol that had been sneaked into a dormitory.
Lino Emojong, one of the affected parents, blamed the school for the harsh decision, saying some of the students are just innocent.
The parent was surprised that his son who had been sent home for school fees balance was welcomed with the expulsion letter when he handed over his bankslip on Friday.
But Bob Okino, the deputy headteacher in charge of discipline, blamed the student’s behavior on lack of support and guidance from their guardians and parents as many of them are either orphans or raised by single parents.
He added that some of the affected students are fees defaulters who do not want to be sent home but want to survive through causing confusion.
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Tororo College expels 33 students over strike