Enose M.W. Simatwa
In the past two decades, concern had been raised to the effect that there was unabated violent incidents of students’ unrest in Secondary schools and tertiary institutions that resulted in loss of property, worth millions of shillings and lives in Kenya. During this time Bungoma County was cited as one of the counties in Kenya that were experiencing many cases of student indiscipline in schools. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate infractions and methods used by headteachers in the management of student discipline in secondary schools in Bungoma County. The study population consisted of 125 headteachers, 125 Deputy Headteachers, 1,575 teachers, 2,075 prefects managing 20,107 students in 125 secondary schools. Questionnaires, interview schedules and document analysis guide were used to collect data. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The findings of the study revealed that many infractions were experienced in secondary schools and headteachers used a wide range of methods managing student discipline in schools. This included expulsion, suspension, caning, physical punishment, detention, reprimanding, kneeling, guidance and counselling, fining, rewards, wearing school uniform at all times, self-commitment in writing to maintain good conduct, pinching, slapping and smacking. It was concluded that methods of establishing and maintaining student discipline in schools could not be applied wholesale, but they were contingent upon the environment. Thus, the effectiveness of each method depended on the traditions ethos of schools and their environments. The study recommended that school administrations should adopt a “whole school” approach to manage student discipline. The study is significant because it contributes to a deeper understanding of the methods of student discipline management used in schools. It also sheds light on legal and illegal methods of student discipline management used by school administrators in Bungoma County. Furthermore, the findings of the study will help education policy makers, managers of schools, headteachers and teachers in providing them with guidelines on student discipline management in Bungoma County.
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