FHS & THS RESPOND TO SCHOOL BUS STONING AFTER ASHSAA VB GAME
Director of Education Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin Finau has threatened to cancel extracurricular DOE activities — which would include all American Samoa High School Athletic Association sports events — following the stoning incident of a school bus on Tuesday evening. The DOE director stated this violence threatens the safety of students and DOE’s staff and she will not tolerate it.
The incident is reported to have taken place after an ASHSAA boys volleyball game, featuring the Tafuna Warriors versus the Fagaitua Vikings. The Warriors had won.
RESPONSE FROM FHS VICE-PRINCIPAL
Fagaitua High School’s Vice Principal Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase responded to Samoa News queries about the incident.
“First of all, we would like to send our most sincerest apologies to Principal Tuiasosopo and Tafuna High School, especially the injured students and teachers who were victims of this attack. We pray for your good health and we hope that no one was severely injured in result of this cowardly attack, that is ruining the reputation of our school.”
He noted that “since FHS Principal Elvis Liufau couldn’t make it today, on behalf of Fagaitua High School, I would like to let everyone know that Fagaitua High School will not tolerate these kinds of actions, especially if it came out to be some of our students.”
The FHS vice principal said there were “also Fagaitua High School students on the school bus, and they were also victims to this attack. They told me this morning that they went through the same experience as all the Tafuna High School members on that bus.”
Ta’ase commented, “We are very thankful that none of these guys were hurt, and when we talked today in school, they mentioned to me that ‘they were scared of what the Tafuna students could’ve done to them in return of this attack, but they all mentioned that no Tafuna kids threatened them or gave them a hard time, because they were all victims of this unfortunate situation together’.”
He continued, “So we would like to thank Tafuna High School’s VP Dorian Salave’a and his staff who were present during the attack, for protecting the kids and guiding them on what to do during the moment of the incident. We would also like to thank them for not looking at these Fagaitua students as enemies to them, but for caring and helping them out like they were their own students from Tafuna.
“As to the culprits of this attack, we confirmed 9 students of Fagaitua High School to be part of this attack, and like I said before, ‘Fagaitua High School will not tolerate these actions, especially if we find out that they are students of this school’.
“We had some help from our students in finding these nine suspects, but we are still waiting for the outcome of our meeting with ASHSAA and DOE tomorrow, as to what the final decision is, and what the changes would be concerning this matter.
“As to the 9 students, who were confirmed to be involved, ‘we want to highlight that our staff is working together to try and determine a decision for these students. Right now, they are for sure to be suspended or expelled from Fagaitua High School, but we cannot confirm that situation until tomorrow’s meeting.
“Make no mistake, we will take action against these 9 Fagaitua students who were brought into the office this morning as suspects of this incident,” he stated.
Ta’ase concluded, “Again, we would like to send our most sincerest apologies to Principal Tuiasopo and her staff at Tafuna High School for this unfortunate event, and we hope to get to a solution to this problem soon, and for peace between the students and the schools involved in this unfortunate attack.”
TAFUNA HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL RESPONSE
According to Tafuna High School Principal Beauty Tuiasosopo, in response to Samoa News questions of the incident, “This issue will be discuss in our ASHSAA board meeting this Thursday, and yes, I confirm the incident did happened last night. Our VP Dorian Salave'a was the administrator who was with our students, along with some of the teachers to help in supervision.”
The THS principal stated, “THS will not retaliate, we educate the students not to fight back but to find positive ways to make peace and put a stop to all these incidents because it’s hurting everyone in the community.
“ASHSAA will revisit the sports schedule to make sure students are safe as well as saving school buses in transporting them to their game venues. As of now, we cannot identify who’s responsible and we cannot really tell if its students or outsiders because it was dark. Our staff will do counseling in encouraging our students to always ‘Be Humble and Strive for the Best’,” she told Samoa News.
Commenting on a report that the incident was alleged to be in retaliation of a past stoning of a school bus that had FHS athletes aboard, Tuiasosopo said, “I don't recall any stoning of a FHS bus on campus. I was there with our staff members and we made sure FHS students were safe, up until they left our campus. On the roadside, we have no control over that; police are responsible so we cannot identify the culprit(s). If it did happened then THS would like to apologize to Principal Liufau and FHS.
“We hope that everyone will work together in finding solutions in keeping the peace between students not pointing fingers,” she concluded, adding that “THS would like to acknowledge those who came out to help our students and staff last night; the police department, LBJ and the DOE school bus division. Faafetai le agalelei i alo ma fanau o le atunuu.”
The DOE director has stated the incident was costly financially also — with close to $5,000 in repairs needed for the bus.
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