Five students from AIC Chebisaas Boys High School in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County moved to court on Wednesday after they were suspended for allegedly refusing to sit for exams on a Saturday.
According to the students who belong to the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) faith, Saturday is their professed Sabbath Day and they should observe it by going to Church.
The school management allegedly suspended them on July 6, 2019 for failing to do the allocated exams their Sabbath Day.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church faithful, through their parents, filed a suit at the Eldoret High Court terming the suspension a violation of their constitutional freedom of worship.
Eldoret High Court Judge Stephen Githinji on Wednesday directed that the suspended students be allowed back to school for Third Term in September pending hearing and determination of the case.
Article 32(2) of the Constitution stipulates that: “Every person has the right, either individually or in community with others, in public or in private, to manifest any religion or belief through worship, practice, teaching or observance, including observance of a day of worship.”
Part 4 of them article further notes that “A person shall not be compelled to act or engage in any act, that is contrary to the person’s belief or religion.”
One of the parents, Irene Ng’etich, said the school was wrong to deny the students their right to worship on grounds of indiscipline.
“When the students exercise their constitutional right to worship that does not amount to indiscipline but it goes towards building good character,” she argued.
However, principal Samwel Ng’ang’a has filed a response defending the decision to suspend the students.
Ng’ang’a said although the school was sponsored by the African Inland Church, it admitted students from all denominations, being a public school.
He argues that before the Form 3 students were admitted, they signed commitments to adhere to all school regulations along with their parents. “They had all along been doing so only to change their hearts suddenly.
“They cannot now seek to be exempted from school regulations because that would amount to preferential treatment and discrimination and it would also create disharmony and make it difficult to run the school,” Ng’ang’a said through lawyer Zephania Yego.