SUA COUNTY COALITION STRIVES TO HELP DOE CURB SPORTS VIOLENCE
In an effort to find ways to address violence in school after the stoning of a school bus last month which injured three high school volleyball players, the Sua County Coalition along with its two lawmakers convened a meeting last Friday.
The goal of the meeting was to find ways to assist the Department of Education, whose director, Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau was invited to attend. Also in attendance were village mayors and village leaders.
Eastern District Governor Alo Dr. Paul Stevenson told the audience there is only one way to prevent school violence and fights among students, and that is for DOE to work together with the village councils to watch over sporting events.
Alo, a former senator, said if the village council comes together as one in their village authority to lead residents, none of these types of incidents would occur. He also said youngsters who disturb the peace and cause trouble should be penalized or cited by the village council along with their parents.
According to Alo, the village council includes village leaders, village police and village mayors, who should work together during school sporting events. He added there should always be an open line of communication between the village level and DOE.
Also attending the meeting was Secretary of Samoan Affairs Satele Galu Satele Sr., chief of police Tuavao V. Maiava and traditional leaders of Sua county.
Vaitinasa and Satele told the gathering the meeting was the first time a coalition in the territory had been called together to meet with DOE to find solutions to protect students.
Satele added when parents lack in carrying out their duties, it results in these types of behaviors from children. He believes parents must work closely with the government to prevent fights among students.
School sports have been suspended since the stoning incident but they will resume next Monday on the condition that sporting events are held during the daytime and if another incident occurs they will be cancelled for the semester. DOE has called on the community and parent/ teacher associations for support, to ensure the safety of school sports.
Sua County chief, or fa’alupega, Igafo Malia Va’a told the meeting another problem which concerns her is there are so many students at bingo locations, selling bingo papers to players.
And if that bingo game finishes at 11p.m., these students will also go home at that hour of the night — and this is a serious problem, she said.
Leaders of village aumaga as well as village mayors say that some bingo players bring their children with them to bingo games, who then assist the parents while they play bingo, instead of these children staying home to do their homework. They say__ the parents are teaching their children a habit which they will follow.
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