When Derrick Mwikyo was reporting for the first time at Nyakasura School, he found trouble at the check points. A teacher who was checking the items he had carried to school queried why he had carried along a hooded cardigan. “Hooded jumpers are not allowed here,” a teacher told him as she picked Mwikyo’s jumper from the suitcase and handed it to his guardian to take back home.
The teacher then explained to the guardian that most students who come with such sweaters carry them to the classrooms and doze during preps instead of revising.
Have you ever been denied access to the school for carrying an illegal item or are you a parent whose child is always a victim? Have you ever dared to find out why some schools refuse students from carrying some of those items?
According to Jovia Nyakwera, a teacher at Kibiito Secondary School, every beginning of term, some schools insist on checking students’ luggage before they can be allowed into the school and eventually dormitory.
She says some of the items that most schools banned include electronics such as mobile phones, headsets and radios, electric appliances such as kettles, flat irons, cooked food, and snacks such as biscuits, sweets and chocolate, among others.
Nyakwera says some students however, sneak these items into school either by the help of their parents and guardians or on their own.
According to Florence Mutwamu, the deputy headmistress in charge of students’ affairs at Kyebambe Girls’ School, most of the items prohibited in schools are a distraction to students.
Mutwamu says a school is a levelled institution where students are supposed to be on the same page by having similar items to reduce temptation of theft.
“When students start carrying luxuries such as phones and radios to schools, they might tempt their colleagues into looking for money by all means to also get the same,” she says, adding that some items are not good for the student’s health.
At Kyebambe, students are not supposed to carry concentrated juice, biscuits and chocolate.
“Before we stopped students from bringing packed concentrated juice, we used to have many cases of stomach complications among students. We later found out that students were mixing this juice with unclean water and others not diluting it at all,” she explains.
Mutwamu says ever since they banned such juices from school, cases of stomach complications have reduced, which has enabled the students to study without health complications.
Because schools want to minimise competition for material things, they limit the number of clothes one should carry and some banned non-uniform clothes totally. But even more, banning some items instills discipline among students. At Katikamu Seventh Day Adventists School for instance, Joy Ntale, a teacher, says students are not allowed at the school with alcohol, drugs and clothes that are non-uniform.
She says when students were free to carry clothes of their choice, they used to disguise and escape from school without being noticed. “When students wear casual clothes, it is easier for them to escape from school without being noticed by staff but in uniform, you can spot the student even from a distance,” she says.
Similarly, Aisha Nakku, the head teacher of Onwards and Upwards Secondary School, Buloba, says many students lose concentration in class when they smuggle unwanted items to school.
“Instead of students revising during prep time, when they have these small radios, they spend most of their time listening to music and football, which is a hindrance to their performance,” she observes.
Nakku adds that students who smuggle phones into school always use them to give false information to their parents and others to cheat exams.
“When a school administration forbids students from carrying certain items, some parents misinterpret the concept. Many think we are enemies of freedom who do not want to see their children advance and cope with the current trends yet we are helping students study in the right atmosphere, which will help them grow into responsible citizens in future,” she explains.