Kwizera Guillaume, the provincial director of education in Ruyigi province in Burundi, said the administration has sent home a total of four classes who were sitting an exam.
“It is an option we took to push them to reveal the authors of the acts,” Kwizera said.
Earlier this month, eleven secondary school students were put in jail in the East African nation for scribbling on photos of President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The youths, aged 14 to 19, were charged with insulting the head of state, a crime punishable by imprisonment of between six months to five years, plus up to $32 in fines.
According to AFP, a dozen schools have reported similar cases of defacing the president’s portrait. In some of the pictures the eyes had been gouged out, while insults against the president were scrawled over others.
Last year Nkurunziza won a third term in office that critics say is unconstitutional and has caused turmoil in Burundi that the U.N. says has resulted in more than 400 deaths. More than 260,000 people have fled the country fearing it could return to civil war. Hundreds have also fled fearing persecution or assassination for opposing Nkurunziza’s third term.