All A’ Level students suspended
At least 32 students in five different classes have been expelled from Riviera High School in connection with a violent demonstration that occurred Thursday last week.
According to a press statement released Wednesday, the largest number of the affected students were from A’ level who had a big hand to a riot that led to criminal damages to four boys’ dormitories and a dinning hall.
During the strike, school property worth an estimated Rwf 7.2 million was damaged in the first strike the school has experienced since its establishment.
Other 200 students from A’ level-senior four, five and six are on the verge of being expelled.
According to Anthony Cook, the school Principal, all students from the top three classes have been temporarily suspended and will have to re-apply for admission come next term.
“This is one of the measures to screen the senior students who were largely involved in the strike and also making sure we have order next term,” Cook told The New Times in his Kabuga office.
Cook said the decision was made after a management meeting, discussions with parents and meeting with the school board of directors.
Sources at the school said several crisis meetings were held after two consecutive acts of criminal damage to the school’s property which has caused every parent to pay an extra Rwf 15,000 for renovation.
School administration alerted the police to come and keep law and order at school after a riot which started at 10:30pm to 1:00pm. It took the intervention of senior police officers from Gasabo and Nyarugenge Districts to calm the situation.
Despite the fact that police managed to quell the situation, the next day further eruptions of vandalism and more damage occurred at the dining hall and the boys’ hostel.
The police were re-alerted and immediately arrested 14 students who were suspected of being ring leaders. The students were detained at Remera police station till Monday when they were released.
Police spokesperson Supt. John Uwamungu told The New Times that the suspected ring leaders have been asked to report to Remera Police station every Monday.
“Police can not afford to tolerate any criminality and disorders brought by anybody,” Uwamungu said Monday.
“Nobody is above the law; no one has the right to damage property, even other students in other schools should know.”
The main cause of the strike was the decision by the school principal to end a fashion show at 10:00 pm which the students wanted to extend until the late hours of the night.
“Evening events usually don’t go beyond two hours, I had made this clear with organisers but they didn’t convey the message to students and I realised they had indicated on tickets that the event would start at 7:00 pm till late, which prompted confusion in students,” Cook explained.
“Leisure and entertainment is not what they came for; students in this school come from families that give them high level of comfort, so they expect high level of leisure and entertainment culture at school like that they get while at home,” he said explaining why the students refused to abide by the school’s directive.
It has been alleged that students went to their dormitories after being stopped from proceeding with the show and started breaking windows and TV sets. Other damages include breaking of cups and plates.
Some sources at school allege that the principal stopped the show after finding some students sharing alcohol and marijuana with outsiders which he said, posed a threat to the rest of the school.
Riviera High School opened its in 2007 and has 476 students, 218 girls and 258 boys from well-to-do families.