, 18 September, 2019 / 11:20 PM
A video full of vulgarities recorded and uploaded on social media by a pupil at a Nairobi-based Catholic school has caught the attention of a wide-range of people, including leaders who have weighed in on the matter variously.
A Catholic Bishop, a government official with a regulatory role, and a legislator who fights for children’s rights are among the leaders ACI Africa has interacted with on the matter that has risen to the scale of a national conversation, with many blaming the act to “poor parenting.”
On Sunday September 15, the grade 7 pupil at Nairobi’s Consolata School posted a selfie video on his Instagram account. In the video, he employed vulgar speech, ranting about a fellow pupil whom he claimed had bullied him in school.
“It is unfortunate that this has happened,” the Chairman of the Commission for Education and Religious Education of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Bishop Paul Njiru Kariuki told ACI Africa Wednesday.
“It’s a parental issue because if the boy can go to that level, it appears the parents have not done their part,” Bishop Kariuki of Embu diocese in Kenya said and advised parents “to take up their responsibilities because if this boy continues this way we do not know what he will become tomorrow.”
“Parents have a responsibility to control the use of technology among their children,” Bishop Kariuki continued and wondered, “For this child to have accessed a phone, recorded himself and sent the video, it means there is a parenting gap and the parents have failed somewhere.”
In a Facebook post, Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Dr. Ezekiel Mutua blamed the incident on bad role models and regarded the incident a reflection of a society lacking in morals.
“When national leaders use vulgar language on each other ... why are we blaming that young boy for doing a vulgar video, using unpalatable language?” he wondered in reference to Kenyan politicians.
“When media houses play dirty music and make television studios discotheques, why are we shocked when our kids think that foul language, controversy, bad manners and profanity sell?” Dr. Mutua queried.
The CEO who has severally banned and restricted the playing of music with adult content in order to safeguard children expressed the need for Kenyans to “go back to the basics and have a national conversation on moral values” for the sake of “our kids and our future.”
Leaders have also called on the school not to take punitive measures against the pupil, explaining that the boy needed professional help.
“Consolata School, please do not suspend him despite pressure from parents,” Millie Odhiambo, a Kenyan legislator appealed in a Facebook post, responding to a section of parents who wanted the pupil suspended or even expelled from the Catholic-sponsored school.
The legislator who fights for the rights of children termed the boy “a child in need of care and protection” and called on the school to “get him and the alleged bullying kids into counselling” sessions.
Bishop Kariuki expressed similar views saying, “Expulsion will not help, because the moment you suspend that child and he is out there in the community, he could graduate to a criminal or be radicalized.”
“Counselling is the way to go in this case,” the Bishop told ACI Africa Wednesday.
Established in 1967 and with an estimated population of about 1080 students in nursery, primary and secondary sections, Consolata school is a private mixed day school run by the Consolata Missionaries.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa