Nature and Extent of Deviant Behaviour among Secondary Students in Public Schools within Bungoma County, Kenya


  • Tony Khaoya Barasa Emergency Management Studies, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya
  • Ferdinand Nabiswa Emergency Management Studies, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya
  • Maurice Pepela Emergency Management Studies, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya



Behaviour, Deviance, Fire Disasters, Indiscipline, Students, Unrest


The prevalence of fire disasters has become a global phenomenon, especially in public and private premises, particularly secondary schools and other learning institutions. Social decadence has been touted as one of the reasons for rebelliousness among secondary school students, which has in many cases led to the torching of schools. Whereas schools are expected to promote and enhance discipline and moral behaviors, in most instances, schools within Bungoma have experienced forms of deviant behavior that have resulted in fire disasters. Therefore, this study sought to examine the nature and extent of deviant behavior among public secondary schools in Bungoma County, Kenya. The study utilized Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. The study adopted a descriptive research design, and a sample of 384 was used. Proportionate and simple random sampling was used. The study found that there was high cases of deviant behaviors among students, led by theft of property (95.6%), followed by drug and substance use (64.8%). The study further found that peer pressure (83.3%) and drug and substance abuse (53.6%) were the main factors leading students to burn schools. The findings of the study revealed that 363 (95.6%) of respondents agreed that there are many theft cases among students and their fellow colleagues. The study concludes that most students abuse bhang, followed by chang'aa, and lastly, busaa. In regards to the effects of riots, the study concludes that riots mostly take the form of destruction of properties, followed by theft cases. In regards to types of theft cases, the study concludes that students have experienced theft of text books due to poverty and parenthood. Also, students steal these items mostly to sell them and get money. The school administration should enhance security measures through the installation of CCTVs and improved fencing to reduce the chances of sneaking out and drugs getting in. Students should be forced to pay for the damages caused during their riots. The governments should ensure schools have adequate and trained counselors in order to help in taming deviant behaviors such as drug and substance abuse, bullying, and theft. The school administration should have open communication with the students in order to avert riots and school fires.


Aluanga, L. (2008). What is ailing schools? Saturday standard, 26th June, page 10.

Berdibayeva, S., Garber, A., Ivanov, D., Massalimova, A., Kukubayeva, A., & Berdibayev, S. (2016). Psychological prevention of older adolescents' interpersonal relationships, who are prone to internet addiction. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 217, 984-989. DOI:

Berk, J. B. (2000). Sorting out sorts. The Journal of Finance, 55(1), 407-427. DOI:

Bhattacherjee, A. (2019). Social Science Research: Principles, Methods and Practices (Revised Edition).

Cason, J., Khan, S. A., & Best, J. M. (1993). Towards vaccines against human papillomavirus type-16 genital infections. Vaccine, 11(6), 603-611. DOI:

Cooper, E. (2014). Students, arson, and protest politics in Kenya: School fires as political action. African Affairs, 113(453), 583-600. DOI:

Damron-Bell, J. (2011). The development of deviant behavior in adolescents: the influence of student characteristics and school climate. University of Louisville.

Gitonga, A.M. (2009). Factors Influencing Girl Child Participation in Secondary Education in Nyahururu Division, Laikipia District (Master's Thesis, Kenyatta University).

Goode, E. (2016). The paradox of Howard Becker's intellectual identity. Deviant Behavior, 37(12), 1443-1448. DOI:

Hanimoglu, E. (2018). Deviant Behavior in School Setting. Journal of Education and Training studies, 6(10), 133-141. DOI:

Hayden, C. (2007). Children in trouble: the role of families, schools and communities. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Imbosa, M. (2002). An investigation into strategies used in addressing drug abuse problems: A case study of Nairobi provincial boys' secondary schools (Research Project Report, Kenyatta University).

Josephson Institute of Ethics. (2009). Character counts! Josephson Institute of Ethics. Retrieved from www.

Kaguthi, J. (2004). Youth in Peril: Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Kenya. Nairobi: Baseline Survey report.

Kothari, C. R. (2004). Research methodology: Methods and techniques. New Age International.

Lapinski, M. K., & Rimal, R. N. (2005). An explication of social norms. Communication theory, 15(2), 127-147. DOI:

Maithya, R. W. (2009). Drug abuse in secondary schools in Kenya: Developing a programme for prevention and intervention (Doctoral dissertation, University of South Africa).

Marshall, B.C. & Robert, F.M. (2011). Sociology of Deviant Behaviour. Belmont, USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Muthigani, A. (1995). Drug Abuse: A rising concern among youth in Secondary schools in Nairobi (MA Thesis, Catholic University of East Africa).

Nabiswa, J., Misigo, B.L.,& Makhanu. F. N, (2016).Analysis of student deviant behaviour most prevalent in schools of Bungoma County. Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Science, 4(11), 19-23.

NACADA. (2010). Drugs and drug control in Kenya. Pan-African Issues in Drugs and Drug Control, 61-86.

NACADA. (2012). Student-advisor interaction in undergraduate online degree programs: A factor in student retention. NACADA Journal, 32(2), 56-67. DOI:

Ndetei, D. M., Khasakhala, L. I., Mutiso, V., Ongecha-Owuor, F. A., & Kokonya, D. A. (2010). Drug use in a rural secondary school in Kenya. Substance Abuse, 31(3), 170-173. DOI:

Njoroge, E.W., Onduso, T.M., & Thinguri, R. (2014). School Leadership Role in Predicting Deviant Behaviour among Secondary School Students In Gatanga District, Muranga County. Journal of Education, 9, 1-15

Ochura, J. (2014). Teachers' and students' perceptions of bullying behaviour in public secondary schools in Kisuma East District, Hisumu County. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 4(6), 125-138.

Okumbe, M. A. (2007). The need for inclusive educational practices in Botswana: the case of learners with special educational needs. Educator (Eldoret, Kenya), 1(2), 7-16.

Robinson, D. N. (2014). Psychology as its history: A word more. Theory & Psychology, 24(5), 723-725. DOI:

Rubaratuka, I. A. (2013). Challenges of the quality of reinforced concrete buildings in Dar es Salaam. International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology (IJERT), 2 (12), 820-827.

Ryan, D. P. J. (2001). Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory. National Dropout Prevention Center.

Sherif, D (2005). Deviance and social control: A sociological perspective. Sage Publication

Thinguri, R. W., & Kiongo, E. (2015). A critical analysis of acts of student indiscipline and management strategies employed by school authorities in public high schools in Kenya. International Journal of Education and Research, 3(12), 1-10.

UNESCO (2014). A Teachers Guide to Disaster Risk Reduction. Paris, France: UNESCO.

Wahab, A. B. (2015). Evaluation of fire management practices in selected restaurant buildings in Osogbo, Nigeria. Evaluation, 2(9), 67-69.

Wolfe, S. E., Marcum, C. D., Higgins, G. E., & Ricketts, M. L. (2014). Hacking in high school: Cybercrime perpetration by juveniles. Deviant Behavior, 35(7), 581-591. DOI:




How to Cite

Barasa, T. K., Nabiswa, F., & Pepela, M. (2023). Nature and Extent of Deviant Behaviour among Secondary Students in Public Schools within Bungoma County, Kenya. African Journal of Empirical Research, 4(2), 861–877.