Liberia: Private Schools Condemn MCSS Protest

Several private schools in Monrovia have condemned recent protest in Monrovia by students of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) which resulted to violence and injuries.Four private schools in Monrovia suffered attack by protesting public school students, who took to the streets in solidarity with their instructors after they boycotted class in demand of salary arrears from government.

The affected institutions include Seventh Day Adventist and Saint Simeon High schools on Camp Johnson Road and Richard M. Nixon School on Capital Bye-pass.Administrators and students of these institutions who spoke to journalists Thursday, October 17, 2019, described the attack on private school students by MCSS students is totally wrong, and unlawful.

They though students have right to peacefully assemble to engage their leaders, erecting road blocks, which impeded free movement of citizens and disrupted normal academic activities on private school campuses is pure gansterism.

They said the action should be condemned by every well-meaning Liberian regardless of political, tribal or religious affiliation.

"Our students were in class learning; unfortunately for us, we witnessed the throwing of stones into our school edifice by MCSS Students. It was seriously chaotic, which led to the injuring of several of our students and the destruction of our school", says the Vice Principal for Instruction of the SDA High School, Robert S. Kilah.

According to Mr. Kilah, the action by the MCSS students reminded him of the 14 years of civil war when rebels went on various school campuses to beat on innocent students while they were taking lessons.

However, he applauded President George Manneh Weah for sending the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, who visited the affected schools and called for full investigation to bring perpetrators to book.

Anthony Domah , Dean of Students of the Saint Simeon Baptist High School wants those MCSS students who were captured on video footages, throwing stones to be dealt with in line with the Monrovia Consolidated School System policy or school handbook.

"This will serve as a precedent for other students who might want to engage in similar act. Students should always behave like students", Dean Domah underscored.

"While it is true that we pity the conditions of our friends in the public schools and the constrains they go through, we did not subject them to those conditions and as such we can't be victims of their actions", a group of private school students asserted.

They call on the government to address challenges faced by their colleagues in public schools most especially, the recent incident that has to do with payment of salaries to public school teachers.

"They deserve better education like us. We are just privileged to be where we are . When they are empowered educationally, they can also contribute meaningfully to societal growth", the students added. They refute speculations in the public that they were brutalized by officers of the Liberia National Police.

Several students were rushed to hospital during protest on Tuesday, October 15, after riot police fired dozens of tear gas canisters to disperse protesting public schools' students.

The students had taken to the streets demanding that their teachers return to their classrooms, a day after public schools' teachers here laid down their chalks in protest for unpaid salaries and wages running into months. The teachers took the action a day before a schedule test which should have taken days could begin.

The protesting students, mainly from public schools within the city center erected road blocks in front of the Foreign Ministry, the temporary office of the Liberian Presidency thinking that the President's convoy would have stopped to allow him interact with them, rather the convoy drove through the crowd of students.

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