The Principals of Albert Academy, Government Model and Rokel Senior Secondary Schools were shocked at the recent spate of violence amongst their students. The most recent onslaught occurred on Tuesday 21st January 2020 along the new Model junction. Scores of students from the three schools pelted stones at each other destroying the windows of a nearby building. An eyewitness account said, “Both boys and girls were seen trading verbal abuse and other hurtful items at each other. The violence was eventually quelled by the Operational Support Division (OSD) from the Central Police Station. “This animosity started among these students from 2010. We tried to resolve it at the senior management level but it still keeps rearing its ugly head again and again,” said Aloysius Kamara, the Principal of Government Rokel Senior Secondary School. He went on to say that last term they had similar violent attacks twice. He said that prompted a visit from the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education. Kamara said anytime there is a misunderstanding between the students of Rokel and either Model or Albert Academy, the two schools will join to fight Rokel. He said, “70% of the students that attend Rokel come from the Dworzark area and they pass near Model and Albert Academy to come or go to school.” He said they have warned their students to avoid confrontation with either of the schools to keep the peace. “I have also identified a boy and as soon as I see him, he will be expelled from this school,” Principal Aloysius Kamara assured. The Principal of Government Model SSS, Sahr M.R. Dauda, said, “When the students were fighting my afternoon shift assembly was ongoing.” He said it was his morning shift students who reported that they were attacked by Government Rokel School students. He said they are practicing for their Inter House Sport and so the students were going home. “I really do not know what sparked the violence and we have agreed as principals and teachers to try and promote peaceful coexistence among our students,” he noted.
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Inside the campus of Albert Academy stood the notice board, which reads “Students and Youth Anti Violence Movement, which was launched by former President Ernest Bai Koroma in August 2008. The Principal of the 115-year-old learning institution, Junisa Vandi, confirmed that on Friday 17 January 2020, some unidentified people came to their school and pelted stones inside the campus. He said they disrupted learning and when he came out to look for those responsible, he did not see anyone. “I have not identified any of my students who were involved in the skirmishes. Also, none of my students were arrested by the police or injured,” Vandi said. A student of Albert Academy said, under anonymity, that the Rokel boys came to attack them because on Friday after the Freetown Secondary School for Girls (FSSG) Inter House Sport some Rokel boys were angry. They said that Albert Academy boys have taken their girlfriends from them. So, that was why they came and attacked them in their school. So Tuesday was the retaliation by the “Academicians”. The Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education, Public Relation Officer, Brima Michael Turay, could not be reached for comment. Several attempts to reach him proved futile. The petty traders at the Model, Circular Road intersection have said the police must have a permanent presence there to prevent these recurring incidents.
By David Thoronka
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