School Violence as a Cause of Non-Peaceful Coexistence in Public Secondary Schools in Nairobi, Kenya
Opere, Olivia A.
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Public secondary schools in Kenya have in the recent past experienced several unrests, a situation that has threatened the fabric that holds them together. For quite some time, there have been reported cases of arson attacks and other forms of school violence in public secondary schools in Kenya. The incidences of violence have resulted into injuries, loss of property and sometimes loss of lives. In spite of the tough measures meted out on the students who are found to be involved in such acts, not much has been achieved. Using data collected from a sample of 341 public secondary school students and 88 teachers drawn from a survey of 22 public secondary schools in Nairobi County, the paper has identified various forms, causes and perpetrators of violence in public secondary schools in Kenya. The paper has argued that the earlier the perpetrators, forms and causes of violence are identified and mitigated through acquisition of knowledge and skills on peace education, the more likely the risks will be eliminated to enable the learners to embrace peace values and peaceful coexistence in the community. The study found out that school violence occurs in the form of verbal abuses, physical fights, bullying, and arson attacks. It also emerged that violence occurred during meals, social events and on the way going home from school and that the main perpetrators included classmates, prefects and even teachers. Key contributing factors to school violence were competition for resources, political differences, sexual discrimination and non-tolerance to cultural diversity. The paper concluded that the more effectively the peace values are inculcated into students in public secondary schools, the better well behaved the students are likely to become; hence no or limited school unrests will be experienced.