Salu threatens to cancel games over violent stoning
Director of Education Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin Finau is appealing to parents, village councils and church leaders to talk to their children and teach them that violence against each other should stop.
This was the plea from the Director of Education who has threatened to cancel extracurricular DOE activities — which would include all American Samoa High School Amateur Association sports events — following the stoning incident of a school bus which landed three Tafuna High School students in the hospital Tuesday evening.
She stated this violence threatens the safety of students and DOE’s staff and she will not tolerate it.
The side windows of the school bus were stoned in Fagaitua in front of the Police East Substation while the windshield of the bus was stoned in Aua village. The school bus was packed with students and counselors were also on board at the time.
“It appears the kids from where the game took place must have called the kids in Aua village — because right when the school bus reached Aua, it was stoned again.
“This is the worst violent act ever, and it could have take the life of a student. I’m appealing to parents, church leaders and members of the village council to talk to their children advise them of the consequences of accounts such as these and the seriousness of these incidents,” said the DOE Director. “This is very sad, we need the help of the parents, because this is outrageous to see young kids plan something like this.”
“Luckily the bus driver is a veteran driver and was able to hold down the fort and take the kids away from dangerous grounds, it was fortunate he was not injured, because the rocks went right through the windshield.”
Vaitinasa commended the bus driver who was able to get the kids out of the danger zone to a safe place.
The driver told Samoa News their bus was escorted by the police however even with the presence of officers, it did not stop some youth from stoning the school bus.
Samoa News understands the incident took place after an ASHSAA boys volleyball game, featuring the Tafuna Warriors versus the Fagaitua Vikings. The Warriors had won.
Vaitinasa is also asking the village police to look out for the school buses on the main road to assure that kids from their village refrain from stoning the buses.
She stated that if this happens again, she will be left with no choice but to cancel the extracurricular activities for the entire school year. “DOE school buses transport private and public schools, and we’re now one bus down of the 20. We cannot afford to have a repeat of this.”
“If this keeps up I’m going to have to stop the games, because DOE needs the school buses, not only for games but also for DOE’s main mission — to transport the students to and from school.”
“Extracurricular activities are for after school, but DOE can proceed without them. However, we cannot close down the schools because of not being able to provide transportation,” Vaitinasa explained.
“If the parents and community do not step in to help, I will stop the games and leave the buses for school time,” she said.
Samoa News visited the school bus and observed blood stains on the chairs, numerous rocks inside the bus and window glass shattered everywhere in the bus. Visit Samoa News facebook page for photos of the damaged school bus.
The DOE director noted this is also costly, given that close to $5,000 will be needed to repair and replace the damage.
ASHSAA director Tumua Matu’u said, “This is an unfortunate event and one that will be highly scrutinized by the ASHSAA Board. We hope to have all reports in from school officials who witnessed the incident(s) by the end of the day. The Board will convene tomorrow morning to deliberate. We should be able to answer most if not all media inquiries after tomorrow's meeting.”
Read the principals' statements and an eyewitness account below.
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