17 students from Kabianga High School in Belgut, Kericho County have been suspended after failing to sit for exams on Saturday (Sabbath).
The students are said to have failed to do the exams on Saturday with the excuse that they were Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs) hence prompting the school principal to take action.
According to the principal Dr Joash Oloo, they are said to have boycotted the exams and instead went to church for worship.
“We instructed them to sit for their exam between 5.30am and 7.30am on Sabbath day which had not really breached their doctrine or teachings,” said the principal.
In the Principal’s report, the parents were informed of the decision to have the students suspended with reference to other missionary schools where parents can take their children if they feel uncomfortable with the school’s action.
Parents were to accompany their students to school following the suspension but none of them made an appearance.
Rather, the parents acted through their lawyer Julius Mongare and threatened to move to court, giving the school a seven day ultimatum to cancel the suspension.
Through the lawyer, they indicated that there was freedom of worship which includes respecting every student’s religion.
Mongare cited a similar case in 2017 where the Court of Appeal ruled that it was an infringement on the right to worship when students are forced to attend classes on a sabbath.
The Civil Appeal No 172 of 2014, was ruled by Judges Kathurima Mn’oti, William Ouko and Asike Makhandia in favour of the students indicating that they had the right to worship.
“The appeal is merited and we set aside the orders by the High Court and in place order that the rights of the students were infringed,” read the ruling.
The church had initially lost the case in 2013 as the then High Court judge Isaac Lenaola dismissed it noting that allowing church’s prayers would result into chaos in schools.