Gov calls meetings to resolve school bus stoning incident
Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga is calling a meeting, this Monday, with traditional leaders, church leaders, high school officials and parents of the students involved in the stoning incident of a school bus on Tuesday evening, in order to come together to find a resolution to the on-going problems of violence in the schools.
The governor told Samoa News he had already called an emergency meeting with the Directors of DOE, DHR, the Commissioner and Deputy Commission of Public Safety as well as the District Governors to discuss a resolution on this matter yesterday morning.
At this meeting the governor instructed DPS to hold the students accountable for their actions in accordance with the law.
Earlier this week, DOE Director Vaitinasa Salu Hunkin-Finau moved to suspend DOE’s 2013 American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) Sports indefinitely — following the stoning incident of a school bus, which landed three Tafuna High School students in the hospital Tuesday evening.
Yesterday, Friday, Samoa News reported that while Vaitinasa wants to suspend ASHSAA events indefinitely — until certain solutions are enacted, the ASHSAA Board, on Thursday, made the decision to suspend all of their events for two weeks only.
This Monday’s meeting is scheduled to be held at the Samoan Affairs office at 9a.m.
In the meantime, Samoa News understands the Criminal Investigation Division has been assigned to investigate this matter and they have identified suspects in the stoning incident. Police reports will be forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution.
The DOE Director, in a telephone interview with Samoa News, yesterday, stated that according to data compiled by DOE counselors, this is the result of students who are not taught the value of property and it’s something that needs to be taught within the homes, in churches and during youth activities.
Vaitinasa also believes these students are bullies who may be facing problems at home or have their own personal problems and through sports they manifest their aggression and behavioral problems. She stated this is her observation of the problem as a whole and it needs to be addressed, because this is not the first time these incidents have occurred.
“We can address these issues by suspending the kids, yet afterwards they will do it again… so what we need to do is provide counseling because some of these students are calling for attention and yet we can’t see that and this is their way of showing that they need help or attention,” said Vaitinasa. Also, she says parents need to talk to their children regarding the value of property, the value of life, and the value of decent relationships among students and teachers.
Tuesday’s rock throwing incident caused approximately $5,000 dollars worth of damage to the bus alone, according to the DOE director.
Samoa News understands the incident has highlighted for DOE the serious problem it faces with student safety during DOE sanctioned events and the possible financial fallout if sued.
To date, it is not known if the ASHSAA 2013- 14 season has been shortened or suspended indefinitely.