Court of Appeal of Kenya (2015)
Issue: Whether the Teachers Service Commission is vicariously liable for alleged acts of sexual abuse against two students.
Center Position: The state is responsible for sexual violence against minors in schools; schools must put in place measures protect students form violence and hold perpetrators accountable.
In February 2012, a petition was filed on behalf of two female students, known as W.J. and L.N., who were sexually abused by their teacher. The petition argued that W.J. and L.N.’s rights to health and education were violated and their abuse was not appropriately handled by school officials—who dismissed the teacher more than four months after L.N.’s guardian filed two official complaints on their behalf. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed an amicus brief in the case, focusing on the consequences sexual violence in schools has on girls and the importance of immediate access to reproductive health services for survivors of sexual assault. The Court of Appeal of Kenya held that the State and the Teachers Service Commission have a higher duty to exercise reasonable care so as not to expose children to dangerous elements within the school. The court further held that providing a safe learning environment does not only refer to infrastructure, but also ensuring the dignity of the child is not violated by their caregivers.