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Brawl between Avele and St. Joseph students leads to some being charged

reporters@samoanews.com

Samoa Assistant Commissioner Leaupepe Fatu Pula told Samoa News five college students have been charged following a brawl between Avele College and St Joseph’s College early last week.

Speaking over the phone to Samoa News, Leaupepe said the students are facing charges including assault. He said investigation into this matter is continuing, however they are firm with the belief that former students are involved in these incidents and alcohol is also a factor.  

The students arrested are alleged to have assaulted a student from Avele College that prompted the fight between the schools. Samoa News inquired if any students were injured, and Leaupepe said several received injuries as a result of the brawl and were taken to the Moto’otua hospital for treatment and released.

Leaupepe said he’s saddened with the actions of these students because they injured bystanders in the area. “A 51-year-old man sustained injuries who was taken to the hospital for treatment following the students brawl.” 

The fights between students has led to Avele College closing down for two days last week — Thursday and Friday. Samoa Observer reports students of Avele College were asked to stay home, on the instruction from Avele Principal, Luafaleao Mikaele Tofete, who said the decision was not easy.

“However, we have to consider the safety and the protection of the students following the incident yesterday,” he said. Luafaleao told the Samoa Observer they considered the impact of their decision on the student’s learning, but safety is paramount.

“The cancellation of schools is sad but we have no other choice.” the Avele Principal said, adding he felt that his students were targeted.

“We are very disappointed,” he said. “Two of our students have been beaten in two separate incidents by students from the other college involved.”

Luafaleao said a Year 12 student from the college was at Alafua for tutorials on Monday when he was “bottled just after getting off one of the vans organized by the school to collect and drop off our students.

“I was informed that he was unaware of the reason behind the incident since he was only there to attend to tutorial classes. When he got out of the car, someone threw a bottle at him.”

Another incident involved a Year 13 student who was beaten on a bus, as he was on his way to collect data for study purposes.

“The parents of both these students have already contacted me to raise their concerns over the matter. This was on Tuesday morning, before the fights happened,” Luafaleao said.

He pointed to the latest incident as a step backwards in terms of the relationship between the schools. He told the Samoa Observer students, “I’m unaware of what has caused this since we are constantly in contact with the teachers of that college in order to build good ties.”

Luafaleao said he was confused since there have been so many reconciliatory meetings. “Yet we’re not really getting anywhere.” He suspects the involvement of former students.

Avele College students are back to school this week.

Savali News reported that Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is seriously considering the reintroduction of corporal punishment following a brawl between Avele and St Joseph’s colleges. “This has happened far too many times,” said the Prime Minister when asked for comment.

Published in the Samoa News last Friday, the Savali News story reported that Tuilaepa said he is “beginning to think that western-styled disciplinary methods we have been adopting in recent years — which includes frowning on the strap – is not working."

The prime minister stated: “There is nothing like the sting from the strap striking your backside, crawling up your spine like a tsunami and registering in your brain. You’ll certainly know what you did wrong and will never do it again. This is a country that reads its bible. And the bible instructs the rod on the fool’s back.”



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