Iganga school expels 22 students over lesbianism

Boda boda cyclists park beside the road leading to Iganga Secondary School. The school last month suspended 22 girls for allegedly practicing lesbianism. Photo by Denis Edema.

What you need to know:

It is alleged that the decision was reached after the girls failed to respond to various counselling.

IGANGA- Twenty two students have been expelled for allegedly practicing lesbianism in the girls’ only Iganga Secondary School.

Sources at the school told this newspaper the girls, mostly in Senior Two and Three were expelled at the end of the third term, after the Headmistress, Ms Aida Balinanseko, held a meeting with their parents before she handed them over along with their expulsion letters.

Although a copy of the November 29 dismissal letters, which the Daily Monitor has seen, does not explicitly state whether the students had been expelled for their alleged role in lesbianism, Ms Balinanseko pointed out they had failed to reform despite management’s repeated efforts to counsel them.

“I am sorry to inform you that your daughter’s conduct can no longer be tolerated. The administration has repeatedly counselled her [them], but she has not reformed and there are no signs that she will reform in the near future,” the letter reads in part.

A source among the teachers revealed the girls had been found in possession of numerous sex toys, including artificial penises.

However, management was still clueless on how the objects got into the school given the strict inspections carried out at the beginning and during parents’ visitation days.

The school’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Robert Emerikol, confirmed the expulsion of the girls, but said it was not connected to lesbianism.

He, however, could not readily spell out the “acts of indiscipline” that he claimed the girls were guilty of.

Iganga Secondary School is the biggest girls’ school in the district with a population of more than 1,000 students.

Early this year, students went on strike demanding for among other things a change of the school’s status from single to mixed sex to allow them interface with boys.

One of the affected parents, who spoke to the Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity, said the parents had been informed of their daughters’ sexual activities during a meeting held at the school together with their daughters and chaired by Ms Balinanseko.

“The headmistress called me for a meeting to discuss the behaviour of my daughter and it was from there that she told us that they were practicing lesbianism and that they would be expelled. After the meeting, she handed us the expulsion letters,” said the parent
“The girls were, however, not allowed to make any submissions during the meeting,” he added.

Homosexuality and the law

Towards Christmas, Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009, which criminalises sexual acts between people of the same gender. According to the Bill, any person found guilty of homosexuality is liable to life in prison. The Bill seeks to “protect family set ups and strengthening capacity to check threats to traditional family values,” according to MPs.

It has been variously reported that the majority of Ugandans approve of the legislation, especially parents and people seen as moralists. The President is yet to sign to the Bill.