By Charity M. Ngabirano
A video captured during traffic showing students dancing in an erotic way in a bus has gone viral, prompting all kinds of stories.
The Police have gone ahead and instituted investigations into the incident.
“We have since established that on the 9.06.2022, the management of Lubiri High School hired a school bus from Midland High School, to transport a group of students for an agricultural show in Jinja.
“It is during the trip that some students were caught on camera getting naughty, including very appropriate sexual behaviour, by male and female students, who had paired up. Such incident practices and behaviours have a potential of impairing morals of other students, promoting acts of gross indiscipline in schools and our society,” the force’s spokesperson, Fred Enanga, revealed.
The big question is if there are any legal consequences for the students, and their school guardians, who include teachers.
The school guardians are brought into the equation because of their role as carers whom the parents have entrusted their children with and in this case, they were expected to be on that bus so as to avoid incidents such as these.
There has been a stir on Uganda’s legal scene concerning the questions on the offence of child-to-child sex.
Lubiri High School has maintained that it was only dance and that there was no sexual act or immorality.
Rose Lilly Akello, the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, together with other officials from the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, visited Lubiri High School on the morning of June 17 to establish why their students exhibited what they described as inappropriate behaviour.
“I asked the deputy headteacher (name withheld) whether there were teachers on the bus, and she said there were. I also asked whether the students were dancing a normal dance and she said theirs was a dance called twerking,” Akello said.
What if there was child-to-child sex?
In 2021, it was ruled that Ugandan laws do not provide for the child-to-child sex offence.
There is no offence legally known as child-to-child sex in the Penal Code Act and yet the principle of legality in criminal law requires that for there to be a crime, only the law can define a crime and prescribe a penalty for it.
Section 129 of the Penal Code Act, which mentions something about this offence, does not necessarily create it.
“This section doesn’t make a distinction between offenders who are below 18 and thus considered children or adults. What is important is that the offender whether a child or adult, has had unlawful sexual intercourse with a child,” courts have ruled.
However, an adolescent who sexually abuses a child below their age is still liable to answer for aggravated defilement. The children on that bus, therefore, could face these charges if at all there was a sexual act involved.
When parents send their children to school, they have all the confidence that they will be protected against all evils by their school guardians.
Whether it is an activity in or outside school, as long as it is a school activity, school authorities are directly responsible for whatever happens to the children. The safety and security of the children is entirely in their hands.
This is why the Police have vehemently condemned the incident on the bus and also gone ahead to launch inquiries on various questions with specific focus on whether there were school authorities on the said bus under whose watch such indecent behaviour was exhibited.
The writer is an advocate
Note: The article is intended to provide information about general statements of law and is not intended to create an advocate-client relationship. Contact a lawyer on specific legal problems