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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 18:25 GMT
Liberia's president brandishes the rod
President Taylor disciplining his daughter
President Taylor's action breaks Education Ministry guidelines
Liberia's President Charles Taylor has administered publicly 10 lashes to one of his daughters after the school suspended her for indiscipline.

The 13-year-old girl called Edena was made to lie flat on a table, face down before her classmates, to receive the strokes.


I have the responsibility not only for my children but all children in the country to ensure that the responsibility of nationhood will be passed on to reliable custodians

President Taylor
Many African countries allow corporal punishment, though in Liberia the practice has become unfashionable since the end of the brutal seven-year civil war.

The president said that he hoped his action would serve as an encouragement to parents, teachers, and guardians to instill discipline in students who appear to be uncontrollable.

"As president, I have the responsibility not only for my children but all children in the country to ensure that the responsibility of nationhood will be passed on to reliable custodians."

He blamed the increasing wave of indiscipline in various schools on the lack of suitable punishment.

No alternative

The JJ Roberts School principal, Ruth Doe, said she felt she had little alternative but to allow the beating.

School principal Mrs Doe
School principal Mrs Doe: Helpless to stop the president
"In spite of efforts to dissuade the president from flogging his daughter in public, he went ahead but maintained it would serve as a deterrent to other children," she explained.

Mrs Doe said, they had suspended the president's daughter along with a teenage boy for "displaying improper behaviour" on campus.

The JJ Roberts foundation School is one of the most respected institutions in the country, with high academic standards and strict discipline.

President Taylor also expressed thanks to the school's administration for their patiance in dealing with students including his daughter. He later donated a 25 seater bus to the school.

Corporal punishment used to be a tradition in Liberian schools but the emergence of child rights advocacy groups as a result of the country's civil war, has made the practice unfashionable.

Indiscipline has become a major problem in Liberian schools.

Many students in Liberia are ex-combatants who have been exposed to harmful drugs during the war.

See also:

25 Jul 01 | Africa
Timeline: Liberia
07 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Liberia
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