DOE sports will resume next week with caveat
DOE Director, Vaitinasa Salu Hunkin-Finau has moved to reinstate DOE’s 2013 American Samoa High School Athletic Association sporting events. Two weeks ago the DOE Director suspended ASHSAA sports following the stoning incident of a school bus, which landed three Tafuna High School students in the hospital.
This was announced during a press conference held yesterday at DOE’s conference room. Vaitinasa stated that ASHSAA sports will resume on October 7, 2013, next week Monday — with certain conditions — including all sporting events will be held only in the daytime, Monday through Saturday.
However, the DOE Director pointed out that if there are any problems on school campuses or in the community as a result of the games resuming, ASHSAA sports will be canceled for the rest of the semester.
Among the measures DOE has taken to try and keep sporting events peaceful is reinstating their partnership with TAMM’s (Toe Afua Mai Matua) to provide cultural counseling at all high schools as a part of the Parent and Community Involvement Program.
According to Vaitinasa, the TAMM program was underway in 2009, where the elderly went into the schools to make a difference in the lives of the young ones and serve as a knowledge base for the younger generation.
She also noted the governor has approved the hiring of 13 additional truancy and security officers for the high schools.
Vaitinasa further stated that guidance and counseling programs have been asked to increase one-on-one counseling with all the elementary and high schools to detect students who are having behavioral problems.
“We are also in the process of instituting a National Parent Teacher Association made of officers from all school PTA’s to be actively involved in sports, extracurricular activities and the academic work of our students,” she said.
The DOE Director commended Samoan Affairs and the Village Mayors for their assistance in this matter, adding that Sua County has vowed to strengthen the role of the village councils, village mayors and village police, and they have formed an alliance called Sua Auma’aga Against Alcohol and Violence (SAAV).
Vaitinasa said this was a result of their meeting where people spoke about the affects of parents spending time away from their children and how this can lead to problems with children being unaccounted for in the evenings. “For example, attending Bingo during school nights is time parents are not spending with their children.”
The DOE director said she’s excited that two Sua Representatives — Pulelei’ite Tufele Li’amatua Jr and Lemapu Talo Suiaunoa — are looking at proposing a bill that would ban Bingo during school days, allowing it only on the weekends. “The idea is to allow parents to have time with their children and to support academic work.”
She pointed to parents going to bingo to support their churches, and to village bingo to support their families — and “when you count the total hours that these parents attend bingo… this is time that can be utilized to read to their kids or help them with their homework.”
Vaitinasa continued, “Some kids strive harder when they see that parents are keen on helping them. They think, I have to do my homework, I have to read because it's important to my parents that I pass this course…
“We are developing children who are not literate in Samoan or English and not literate in any of the content areas, based on the data we have. However, if parents would help with their kid’s homework, on a daily basis, if the faifeau would spend an hour on Saturday reading to the children — it would make a huge difference in how the children perform academically,” said the DOE Director.
A retired educator who wished not to be named told Samoa News following the press conference that the village chief's role in being responsible for their aiga faitele used to be a position of honor, respect and power.
“The village leaders within their villages are supposed to be the strongest force to protect and discipline their people, stronger than the law. Our cultural punishments initiated by the village leaders were taken seriously, the entire clan was subject to punishment.
"However as time went by, another influence moved in, where money and self serving leaders were vested into holding powerful titles. Families let go of their children, chiefs neglected their clans, many church leaders burdened their flock, and the government lacks programs to assist a community beleaguered by mental illness crimes… sex offenders and violent criminals are crowding TCF.”
The retired educator concluded, “I believe each chief, head of the household/parent and sponsor should be accountable for their children or family member's behavior. They should police up and gain control of their family members,"
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