DPS after school patrols combat student brawls
Following a meeting last week between the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Education regarding security measures at the schools, police will now be present when school is let out along the road. The move came about following school brawls and stone throwing incidents which occurred last month involving Tafuna High School students.
Last week Friday, Samoa News witnessed two police vehicles driving slowly from McDonald’s restaurant in Tafuna as it followed a crowd of Tafuna High School students walking on the sidewalk very slowly, heading toward the three corners of the main road and airport road. Some students turned off to the road leading into Fagaima.
This week, DOE acting director Dr. Jacinta Galeai wrote to Police Commissioner Tuaolo M. Fruean expressing her sincere appreciation to DPS for their “support with our efforts to eliminate the re-occurring problem at Tafuna High School.”
In her letter Galeai said that it was last week that DOE leadership met with deputy police commissioner Leseiau Laumoli as well as Reps. Larry Sanitoa, Halafili M. Seui and Galu Satele Jr. to seek assistance from DPS in providing support for Tafuna High School.
“This is an especially important issue during the school... dismissed for the day,” Galeai wrote. “In particular, we asked for your department’s assistance in enforcing the rules for crosswalks and how students cross the roads near the school and surrounding community.”
“At this time, DPS officers are now present at cross walks after school to ensure the safety of pedestrians and vehicles and we are pleased with the results,” she said.
According to the acting director, DOE leadership is considering re-starting the Safety Patrol program for Tafuna and Samoana high schools. “This will provide another level of safety enforcement for our students and will allow for an environment where students take responsibility for their classmates’ actions,” she said, adding that Laumoli has expressed his assistance with training should DOE decide to proceed with this initiative.
Another matter discussed during last week’s meeting was better communication with DPS and the High Court in regards to the status of students who are taken into custody and placed in the Juvenile Detention Center, she explained.
“I believe the issue of the needs of juveniles is a larger matter that requires wider attention by both government and community but for now moving forward, DOE stands ready to support and work with DPS to better support both our responsibilities and efforts concerning juveniles,” she said.
Galeai also thanked Tuaolo and police officers for their presence and support during DOE games, saying that she appreciates the collaboration between DPS and DOE. “I look forward to our continued partnership for our students, staff, parents and the community as a whole,” she concluded.
Copies of the letter were sent to six lawmakers, the Attorney General’s office, the Public Defender’s office, the Tafuna High School Principal and two other officials.