The influence of students conflicts on school- community relations in Vihiga sub-county, Kenya
School conflict in form of violence witnessed in some secondary schools over the years have led to bloody episodes, which has caused pain, loss and destruction to property in addition to the overall negative school-community relations. These have led to interference of academic programmes, and to a great extent, quality of learning to individual learners. Although there is scanty information on how student conflicts affect, student-teacher relations, and school-community relations, there is need to find out how such conflicts affect these relationships. This study investigated the influence of students conflict on school-community relations in Vihiga sub-county.The objectives of the study were to: establish causes of students‟conflicts;assess the influence of student conflict on teacher-student relations; explore the influence of students‟conflict on school-community relations in Vihiga Sub-county. Descriptive survey design was adopted for the study. The target population was 463 head teachers (27), deputy head teachers (27), chiefs (4), and 405 student council leaders. Radom sampling method was used to obtain a sample size of 46 respondents from whom the researcher achieved 82.5% questionnaire return rate. The findings were student conflicts are prevalence among secondary schools, and the most common type of conflict was strikes. It was also revealed that conflict is mainly caused by student background. It was also revealed that conflicts affect academic performance of learners, mainly when books and desks are damaged. Another finding was that conflicts affect student - teacher relations and working relationship between teachers and students are not restored easily after conflicts, although most teachers are also not trained to manage conflict as opposed to use of corporal punishment. Finally, conflicts were found to strain the relationship between the school and the community, since such conflicts normally spill over to the community around the school, although the community is always ready to assist the school in case of students‟ conflicts. It was concluded that conflicts like strikes often affect academic programmes when books and desks are damaged, and they affect student-teacher relations and school-community relations. The researcher recommends that safe storage of essential learning materials be enhanced; teachers be trained on conflict management without corporal punishment, and the community to be incorporated in the management of secondary schools. Further research is recommended on the effect of student background on conflict and school-community relations; effectiveness of corporal punishment-free teacher discipline management on school conflicts and school-community relations; and the role of community participation on school conflicts and school-community relations.
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