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    Father Sues School for Expelling Pregnant Daughter After Mandatory Test

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    Father Sues School for Expelling Pregnant Daughter After Mandatory Test
    • April 25, 2024 • 29 days ago
    in summary
    A father has filed a lawsuit against Busumba Primary School management, alleging that his daughter was expelled from school while in Primary Four for being pregnant after undergoing mandatory testing at the institution. The father, supported by Women with a Mission (WWM), filed the lawsuit seeking general damages for the violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

    A parent has filed a lawsuit against Busumba Primary School management before Tororo High Court in Eastern Uganda, alleging that his daughter was expelled from school while in Primary Four for being pregnant after undergoing mandatory testing at the institution.

    The father, whose identity remains undisclosed, lodged his complaint on Tuesday, seeking general damages for himself and his daughter for the violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights. Women with a Mission (WWM), a non-governmental organization, has jointly filed the lawsuit.

    The plaintiff is seeking at least six declarations, claiming that several of his daughter’s human rights, including the right to privacy, were violated.

    One of the declarations sought by the parent reads in part: "A declaration that the respondent’s (school) act of mandatory testing of the 3rd applicant (the pregnant pupil whose name is withheld), is a violation of her rights to privacy, freedom from discrimination, dignity, equality to education, children's rights, and freedom from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment provided under Articles 21, 24, 27, 30, 34, and 44(a) of the Constitution."

    According to court documents, in September 2023, the school conducted a mandatory pregnancy test on the victim and discovered she was pregnant. The 17-year-old girl alleges that the pregnancy test was done through extreme manual kneading or physical pressing of her lower stomach, an action she argues amounted to cruel treatment.

    "The actions and omissions of the respondent (school) caused the father and daughter humiliation, psychological and emotional pain, immense stress, anxiety, and loss of education and its associated lifetime opportunities," the court documents read in part.

    The father claims that the expulsion of his daughter from school had an adverse effect on her mental health.

    "She has since lost self-confidence, developed a feeling of shame, anxiety, and depression, which we fear as the family may have long-lasting effects on her life in the future," he said.

    Ms. Betty Balisalamu, the executive director of WWM, stated that during the process of being subjected to a mandatory pregnancy test, the victim confessed to having gone through extensive pain, shame, stigma, and humiliation.

    The school's head teacher, Mr. Vincent Jamori, denied the allegations of expelling the victim. He stated that the victim reported for Term Three pregnant, and the school management accommodated her, including allowing her to sit her promotional exams. However, the Busia Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Michael Kibwika, hailed the parents for the action taken.

    "Much as my office was not informed, I am going to follow it up to its logical conclusion," he said.

    In 2020, following the global outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, President Museveni ordered the closure of all learning institutions from primary to university. The almost two-year stay at home by learners due to Covid-19 saw thousands of them get pregnant, with Busoga region having the highest number of cases.

    The spike in teenage pregnancy was linked to lack of sexual reproductive services and information, as well as being locked up with abusers during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

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