The Deaf School Dilemma
THE DEAF CHILDREN OF THE COUNTY OF WEST
In Western Kenya there is a county called the County of West. This county has two public schools for the deaf, school A and school B. From 2008 – 2018 Mr Y is the principal of school A. In 2009 School A gets a donation of three special machines from China for measuring the levels of deafness. Two of the machines are able to take 3D images of the ear and one of the machines can give a write up of the conditions in the ear. The machines are valued at Kshs. 3 Million each. The machines can only be used in a soundproof room. School A does not have a this special room. The soundproof room requires kshs 300,000 for construction. Mr Y keeps the machines in a storage room as he tries to figure out how to raise funds to build the soundproof room.
In 2012 Mr Y, who is also a businessman, suffers serious losses in his businesses and gets into a serious financial crisis. His children are kicked out of school because of lack of school fees and he is at the verge of declaring bankruptcy. In order to save himself and his family from impending doom, he gets into an arrangement with the school’s procurement officer and chief accountant Mr W, in which they agree that Mr Y will look for buyers for the machines and Mr Y will give 20% of the proceeds to Mr W so that Mr W can keep quiet about the matter. Mr Y manages to sell both 3D machines to two private hospitals. The third machine remains in storage in its original packaging in the school. Mr Y’s financial problems are solved and Mr W gets his cut. Mr Y’s children are able to go back to school. His eldest daughter, Ms X is able to finish her university education thanks to the money from the fraudulent sell of the machines.
In 2018 Mr Y retires and Mr W is appointed as the principal of the school. In 2019 Ms X is appointed the Governor of the County of West. In her second month in office, the governing committee of school B approach her and explain to her that they have 200 deaf children in the school who need to be tested as soon as possible because officers for the health department are very suspicious that 30% of the children are actually not deaf. It is suspected that for most of these children, there is a build-up of wax and other foreign bodies in their ears which is causing them not to hear properly. With a simple operation these children will be able to hear. However, the children need to be tested using the machines that are supposed to be in school A. The managing committee has tried to talk to Mr W to release the machines but he has completely refused. They are convinced that Ms X will be able to get through to Mr W with the help of her father.
When Ms X speaks to her father about the issue, he has no choice but to confess to her the fraud that he and Mr Y committed. He implores her to ignore the matter and explains to her that she would not have completed her university education but for the money he got from the sell of the two machines. If Ms X uses her authority to get the remaining machine from school A, her father’s corruption will be brought to light and he will end up in jail. Ms X has a serious dilemma.
Do the principles make clear what she should do?