Faced with numerous fighting incidents, Tafuna High adds more security
After many incidents occurring on the premises of Tafuna High School, with the last incident seeing a teacher hospitalized due to injuries from a fight within the school, THS principal Lentoy Matagi has hired a female security guard and four safety patrol officers to oversee the campus.
Matagi told Samoa News that given the countless incidents — mainly fighting and students going off campus without — the school needed more security.
“This move came after recommendations made by the Parents Teacher Association (PTA) with faculty and staff and so it was done.”
She explained the female security officer is on campus before the students arrive at school in the morning and she leaves after school when there are no students present on campus.
The THS principal said it has been more than two months since they hired the additional security and the safety patrol officers, and the results are “tremendous”.
Tafuna High School has one of the largest school populations on island.
“Aside from securing the school premises, the school is also thankful to have on board the elderly citizens from Toe Afua Mai Matua (TAMM) program,” Matagi said.
The elderly citizens assist with the students by talking to them and giving them counseling and given that Samoan children are taught within families to respect the elderly, that is what is happening in the school.
Students showing respect to the elders who are present on the school premises is a good sign, the principal believes. “With the security, there have been fewer fights and not many students are skipping classes” she added.
Matagi said the female security officer was hired through the National Emergency Grant program and the school is working on making her a permanent ASG employee to secure the school.
She explained that the safety patrol officers who are sometimes seen at the intersection in front of the Post Exchange store were hired through a grant that the school applied for through the Department of Public Safety.
During the last major brawl in February this year a teacher was hospitalized, with more than 23 students placed on suspension following a fight on school grounds between students from two villages.
During that incident, the principal made recommendations for the 23 students to be moved to another environment.
In an earlier interview with Samoa News, Matagi said “at hand, safety is the most important issue I have to think about — the safety of the students that are not involved and the safety of the staff.”
The principal said one of the counselors was injured as a result of the fight, while he was trying to break up the fight.
A majority of these students were prosecuted and Assistant Attorney General Terrie Bullinger, who prosecutes juveniles, said all of those students involved are facing criminal charges as juveniles.
The Assistant Attorney General said that the fight between the students started off with only a couple of students and it escalated into a bigger fight inside the gymnasium, where one student sustained a broken leg, while a majority of the other students received facial lacerations.