Arson Attack on Monrovia School Leaves Students, Parents in Despair

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Students and parents of the Apostolic Foundation in Sinkor, Monrovia are expressing frustration and doubt over the fate of the school following arson attack that entirely destroyed one side of it.

Speaking on the campus of the burnt school on May 12, 2014, both students and parents expressed that the attack has caused a major setback in their lives at such a critical juncture in the academic year, considering the administering of the West African Examinations.

One of the parents, Helen Juwoe who had just completed payment of her son’s tuition the afternoon before the attack expressed her discouragement: “This is very bad and I am discouraged.  I just completed my son’s tuition yesterday and I came here and met this thing.  I feel very bad about it.”

Juwoe said considering the situation in the school now, she is planning to transfer her child to another school because others may imitate the perpetrator, leading to other copycat attacks.

Regarding the upbringing of students, which is alleged to be responsible for the act, Juwoe said parents cannot be blamed for the unwholesome behavior of children nowadays because they have their own ways in them.

According to her, most children in the country take in drugs and they behave the way they do even against their own parents.

She did not state whether she has seen any child using drugs; however, she indicated that it is an open secret in Liberia that drugs (narcotics) are available everywhere and users among the youth are increasing in number.

Student Ezekiel Bachue, student council president in an interview said the incident is regrettable and it puts their entire academic year in limbo.

He said while the problem affects Apostolic Foundation at the moment, it is noteworthy to consider that it is not for Apostolic alone but for others because it could be them too.

He also said about one thousand students are attending the school, and if they can be out of school, it is a setback to the literacy rate of Liberia.

It is yet to be established who committed this act; nevertheless, sources in the school have told this paper that a student has been arrested in connection to the act.

Speaking on behavior of students of today, student Bachue said after war most students are traumatized and need rehabilitation; but because they are not, they might get caught up in situations such as that which recently occurred.

Student Morris Massalay, also speaking to this paper, said that it was disappointing to him especially, for one of his fellow school mates to be allegedly connected to the act, which he said has undermined their struggle for education.

According to him, most of his peers and academic colleagues are engaged in taking in drugs and violent activities, and government needs to design strategies to get them out.

He said the problem does not only exist at the Apostolic Foundation but in all other schools.

Meanwhile, the Apostolic Foundation administration has remained tight-lipped on disclosing the perpetrator of the act as police are still investigating the incident.

The Principal, A. Darkpay Johnson speaking to the Daily Observer Monday morning said police has arrested one individual believed to be a student of the school, and it is probable that he will name collaborators who set the school ablaze.

Mr. Johnson said as a result of the arson attack, documents belonging to students and teachers, books for the library, computers, and other essential documents were all destroyed.

Though he was not specific, Mr. Johnson said some students, because of behavioral problems, have been suspended while others were given an “NTR” (Not To Return, expulsion).

Sources told this paper that those connected to the alleged arson attack are students who for irregularity in school and unwanted behavior were not allowed to sit for WAEC and expelled from the school.

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