The video of a Consolata School student spewing slurs and threatening to eliminate a colleague, which was posted on social media last week, opened wounds for parents of a boy who was allegedly pushed to his death by a classmate at the same school in 2015.
Mr Louis and Mrs Ruth Dianga cringed with pain as they watched the video of the unnerving teenager, which to them signified the level of indiscipline, rot and impunity at the once prestigious school of their first-born son Austin Jack Dianga, whose death still remains a mystery.
The couple was told that his classmate dragged Austin out of class, vowing to “teach him a lesson”. He then pushed him from the first floor of the building and he sustained injuries, including a fractured skull that led to internal bleeding and death, as a postmortem would show. But the school later backtracked on this testimony.
It has been four years of pain, helplessness and lack of closure for the couple, having lost one of their child and only son at the tender age of 17.
“He had battled sickle cell anaemia from four months. I suffered with that child from the time, going to Kenyatta National Hospital every single month. It was only at 16 that he was declared out of danger. We were ecstatic,” said Mrs Dianga.
Always among the top three in class, intelligent, quiet and friendly, Austin was just about to sit his mock exam and close for the second term, and then sit his national exam that would usher him to a school of medicine as he had always aspired.
A sickle-cell survivor, he was not strong enough to participate in sports. He channelled the energy to researching about his condition and had long declared that he would be a great paediatrician. But as fate would have it, this was not to be.
“When I saw the viral video of a boy from the school, it haunted me because it heightened the sad memories of losing my son. My mood changed at work. It is really troubling me even now,” said Mrs Dianga.
She added: “I was not surprised to see the viral video of the teenager. That is typical of Consolata and the rot is now coming out in the open. I only fear that another Austin could die one day at the school. Probably, they would get away with it, just like in our case.”
Mrs Dianga remembers vividly the fateful day on July 7, 2015. She received incessant calls from the school enquiring where she was. It was an alarming question just as it would be for any parent.
The school principal, Fr Karoli Ouma, told her that she needed to rush to MP Shah Hospital as her son had had an “accident”. Never mind that the class teacher Mary Magotsi, had already informed her that the son was pushed by a classmate.
“I had left for Kitengela. I requested my sister to go to the hospital where my son was being treated. My husband later joined her. They asked me to go to the hospital as his condition was critical,” she recalled.
She later arrived to find their son unconscious and on life-support machine. Two days later, he was declared dead.
Before Austin’s death, the deputy principal Grace Kaguria Murinagi, a laboratory technician Samson Oliolo, the class teacher Teresa Atieno Odhiambo and two students had said he had been pushed.
However, after he stopped breathing, the school and witnesses recanted their statements and maintained that they found Austin unconscious after falling from the first floor. Incidentally, the father of the boy said to have pushed Austin went to hospital to check on him.
Kilimani police boss Peter Kattam had said the initial report indicated the student was pushed by another and promised to investigate the matter further.
The then Kilimani OCS Ephantus Wahome, who handled the case, tasked the mourning couple to provide evidence against the school. They had none.
“My son died like a dog hit by a vehicle on the highway. Such dogs normally have nowhere to report or anyone to defend them. I normally imagine that wherever he is, he is wondering why his parents never defended him. But tell me, what do I do when the OCS turned his back on us? Where do I go to obtain justice?” said the restless mother.
The couple calls on the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to unravel the mystery. They said they have confidence in the current DCI.
The school then placed lab technician Oliolo as a bridge between it and the family. The technician had even taken the boy to hospital in his car and later attended his burial in Ugenya, Siaya County.
At no point did the rest of the senior administrators condole with them in person.
Mr Dianga recalls that his son had been admitted to a national school in Kisii, but the love of the parents drove them to seek a slot in Nairobi, close enough to monitor his medical condition.
They even settled for a Catholic institution, their church of worship, and precisely Consolata School where they thought ethics and discipline would be mandatory. It turned out to be a death trap.
They were baffled that the church that advances liturgy turned out to be ironically allergic to truth.
Mr Dianga places liability on the Consolata parents who went mum upon seeing the cover-ups.
“When the school conspired to defeat justice, parents should have said no because their children watched as Austin was pushed but they were afraid to come out openly. They said they had been intimidated,” said the mourning father.
But what is it that a Christian school can do that freaks out every right-thinking parent and makes them refrain from speaking the truth? They wonder.
Mrs Dianga recalls her son briefed her during the holiday of a boy called Mark who he said had refused to return his Geography book while he needed to revise for his mock exams. She did not take that seriously.
But when she later learnt that her son was thrown out after a Geography class by a boy with the same name, she tended to suspect the tiff was started by the textbook.
She still wonders why the mother of the accused never visited to apologise or condole with her.
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