Liberia: Many Schools Disrupted

Many public and private schools were disrupted Tuesday when hundreds of students boycotted classes in protest of what they now call ‘Bloody Tuesday,’ marking their violent encounter with police last Tuesday, resulting in injuries and arrests.

The students have vowed to stay away from classes for a week in further protest of what they say was police brutality meted against them during last Tuesday’s protest against delay in Government’s payment of their teachers’ salaries.

Although there were empty classes at several public schools, amongst them Tubman High and G. W. Gibson, classes at various private schools also stood empty, as students there feared uncertainties.

However, the principal of the G. W. Gibson High School, Terry Sumo, has frowned over the boycott of classes by students.

“This is a day we do not want because we stayed out of school the whole of last week, and we want the children to cover-up,” Principal Terry Sumo emphasized.

He also told this paper Tuesday that other schools, recognizing that G. W. Gibson students were victims of the Tuesday violence, decided to identify with them in remembrance of the day.

He said although the recent statement by the Liberia National Student Union (LINSU), calling on students not to go to school but observe “Bloody Tuesday, has a negative impact on the learning process of students, it is important for the public to know that they (the students) were ill-treated by the police.

“But the students’ stay home action may be to indicate solidarity, to show to the public that they were taken advantage of. It has some significance…to tell the public that they were brutally beaten by the police.

“Besides, the police entered into our offices without any search warrant. They took away our properties, phones, tore students’ uniforms off them and did what they could do,” Principal Sumo lamented.

Speaking further, Principal Sumo expressed disappointment that officers of the Liberia National Police in this modern era would behave in such a manner as If they were members of former President Taylor’s dreadful Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU).

He said if the students were flogged out of the campus due to the lack of permit, it would not have caused any problem, noting that students were severely flogged in their classrooms.

He said the issue of salary increment for teachers has been addressed by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has called on all school authorities to provide reasons for their students’ boycott of classes.

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