Following an uproar over a video showing primary school students being forced to imitate sex as punishment, six teachers were detained and suspended in Kenya on Thursday.
Four lads in school uniforms imitate sex acts under a tree in the schoolyard in a viral 29-second video while teachers look on. The six teachers are talking and smiling in the background while a child without a shirt wipes tears from his cheeks.
Police said the video “exposing pupils to indecent acts” was recorded in Nyamache, a rural town some 300km west of the capital Nairobi.
Six teachers, five women and one man have been arrested and are “assisting in the investigation”, police said in a report seen by AFP. They will be prosecuted on appropriate charges, it added.
The Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) suspended the six, saying the video had caused the six students “shame, trauma, mental and psychological torture”.
“You ordered and/or coerced students (…) to engage in indecent/inappropriate acts representing homosexuality within the school,” said TSC official Evaleen Mitei in a letter to the teachers.
The teachers have three weeks to submit their written defence against their suspension, Ms Mitei said.
At the same time, they are expected to remain in detention for another seven days while the investigation is completed.
The incident caused an uproar on social networks in the largely conservative country.
Education Minister Ezekiel Machogu said disciplinary proceedings would be initiated against the teachers and that they would be dismissed if found guilty.
Under Kenya’s Sexual Offences Act, a person convicted of forcing another to engage in an indecent act is liable to imprisonment for at least five years.
Beyond this incident, the living conditions of schoolchildren in Kenya are regularly the subject of heated debate, whether on the appropriateness of corporal punishment, officially banned by law in 2001, or more recently on the length of the school day.