Over 300 students residing in Doris Holder Farm and its environs in Todee District Montserrado County have allegedly been denied access to education due to the alleged closure of the Doris Holder Public School in the area.
The Doris Holder Public School is an elementary and junior high school that was established in the 80s by the Holder’s family to provide education for people desirous of acquiring education.
But students of the area have reportedly suffered from the alleged closure of the school twice. In 2012 according to parents’ account, the entire doors of the building were locked by Mrs. Doris Holder and her husband Rev. Sam Teiku on grounds that the Government of Liberia owes them forty-five thousand five hundred and sixty-five United States Dollars.
On Monday, September 3, 2018, the Couple again shut their doors to the students in the area despite the Ministry of Education mandate that all schools across the Country open on that day.
Parents of the Students told The Monrovia Times over the weekend that their children did not sit in class throughout the week (Monday-Friday) as the result of the closure of the School.
The aggrieved Parents of the affected students said the decision that was taken by Madam Holder is not in the best interest of their children because it denied them access to education within the one week period.
One of the parents, Habakkuk Sinatuah said they have known the Institution to be a public school but it was surprising that Madam Holder will shut the doors of the school before their children whom they have already registered on grounds that government owes her.
Mr. Sinatuah narrated that though he registered his three children in the school, they have not entered their respective classrooms because of the decision taken by the owner of the school.
According to him, the Lady was aware that the Administration of the school was carrying on registration earlier on and she did not take any decision until the day of the opening of school something he said is wrong.
Wilton Nyankorpee, another parent said as far as he is concerned, the school has been government institution and that is the area he has been sending his children to learn.
He further noted that besides sending their children to the School, they have also been involved into undertaking development adding that they are paying project fee for the annex that is undergoing construction on the Campus.
Mr. Nyankorpee disclosed that they as parents decided to pay L$200 per student in order to be able to develop the school something he said is in progress. He further explained that this is not the first time for Madam Holder to lock the doors of the School as it happened years back based on the same issue.
“Yes the School is close but one of the things we want to know from a government is whether this school is a government school or private school because the government has been disappointing us that this school is government school” he lamented.
Another parent who is a female said on Monday, September 3, 2018, which was the first day of the opening of School her daughter went on campus but she returned home and when she was asked as to what happened? she Nancy was made to understand that the building was being locked by Mrs. Doris Holder Teiku and her Husband Sam Teiku.
Nancy Briggs averred that she felt downhearted by the decision because it will have the propensity to delay her children educational sojourn and she wanted to call their PTA chairman to inform him about the situation but she did not have credit in her phone.
She disclosed that similar thing was done in 2012 by Mr. and Mrs. Teiku where they locked the doors of the building for the period of one month thus causing a problem for her (Nancy) children that were in higher classes.
For her part, Madam Doris Holder clarified that in 2008 the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Education agreed to pay the amount of seventy-five thousand five hundred and sixty-five United States dollars (US$75,565) for a 5.5 acre of Land and the School Building owned by the Holder’s Family.
According to her, the Government’s decision to pay for the property followed a request she made that the Government should rent or lease her property.
She narrated that it was then that the Government decided to purchase the land and the building thereby making a payment of thirty thousand United States Dollars with the balance of forty-five thousand five hundred and sixty-five United States Dollars that is yet to be paid.
Madam Holder added that it was based on the delay in paying her money, the poor management of the school building and the behavior of some parents among others that prompted her decision to lock all the doors.
She then said prior to her decision she wrote the Principal of the Institution, the Todee District Education Officer and the County Education Officer of Montserrado among others but no one cares to meet her for further redress. She also admitted locking the doors of the building in 2012 due to the same situation that the Government of Liberia owes her.
Meanwhile, the Todee Statutory District Superintendent and District Education Officer, John Tucker and Edward Johnson have disclosed that through their intervention the school doors will be open to the students as of Monday, September 10, 2018.
The two local authorities revealed that they have scheduled a meeting with Mr. and Mrs. Teiku to be held on Friday, September 14, 2018, to enable them get a clear understanding from the agreement between the family and the Government of Liberia. They at the same time thanked the Holder’s family for accepting to open the doors of the school to the students’ community.