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Island-wide meeting to address school violence convenes Monday

Monday's island-wide meeting to address school violence following last weeks stoning of a school bus that injured three students will focus on finding a “sustained community solution" to these outbreaks of violence by students.


The community gathering follows a meeting last Friday morning convened by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga. Those in attendance included Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, Police Commissioner William Haleck, District Governors and Education Department director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin Finau, who met separately last Friday afternoon with the American Samoa High School Athletic Association, comprising high school principals.


Results of the two separate discussions and communications include the governor calling the community meeting tomorrow at 9a.m. at the Office of Samoan Affairs “for members of the community to come together to discuss ways to resolve this continuous outbreak of sports competition related violence between students and schools,” Vaitinasa said Friday night.


She said the governor has asked that not only leaders of the villages attend, but parents, church leaders and members of the DOE administration be in attendance. “The focus is to find a ‘sustained community solution’ to these outbreaks of violence by students in the community,” the governor said.


The task force, “will then meet each school on a school by school basis to re emphasize and reiterate the seriousness of these incidents, that those responsible will be held accountable through the law and policies,” she said.


Additionally, DOE sports competitions will be held during the daytime; and students, parents and or community members responsible for injuries and damages incurred must be suspended/expelled and/or punished by law respectively.


Moreover, “High school sports will resume within a few weeks once these issues have been resolved legally and with the efforts of the community partnership to stop the violence, and in addition, to allow everyone in our community time to reflect, and heal from this emotional event involving our children,” said Vaitinasa.