PHOTOS: FAIPULE WITNESS FIRST HAND, CONDITIONS AT PAGO ELEMENTARY
“The classrooms are infested with termites, railings on the staircases are broken and unsafe, restroom conditions unbearable and not in use, buildings that need renovation and classrooms with low elevation that flood on rainy days.”
This was the description by Maoputasi Representatives, Maugaoali’i Sipa Anoa’i and Va’amua Henry Sesepasara in a letter to DOE Director Vaitinasa Salu Hunkin, after the faipule visited Peter Tali Coleman Pago Pago Elementary School on Tuesday, August 13, 2013.
The Reps commended the Department of Health and their Director, Motusa Tuileama Nua, who have adopted the Coleman School and are assisting in cleaning and painting the school building. However, the faipule wrote, “we are deeply concerned that the work performed, although commendable will not meet the date that our children are scheduled to return to school.
“The sad conditions of the classrooms, restrooms, fence that surrounds the school and some of the buildings is a major safety issues and indeed a serious health concern," they stated.
Maugaoali’I and Va’amua reminded the DOE Director that during her confirmation hearing before the House earlier this year, they highlighted several alarming and disheartening conditions that our children and teachers have to face on a daily basis.
“Suffice to say, these concerns were raised with previous administration and directors, unfortunately it has fallen on the way side,” said the faipule. The Maoputasi Reps noted they visited the school on Tuesday and met with the Principal and Vice Principal, where they witnessed first-hand the unsafe and unsanitary conditions the children are exposed to everyday.
They also pointed out that school Principals and teachers have previously conveyed their concerns and the faipule concur, over the lack of classroom space for the students. “One of the classroom buildings is currently being used for storage and with your approval, perhaps this can be utilized as classroom space to help accommodate the 780 students currently attending Coleman school.
“Given all that we have pointed out, Director Vaitinasa, and while your efforts in addressing the problems and manifesting other ongoing projects with DOE are appreciated…” however, the “severity of the existing problem at our Elementary School and the adverse implication to our children, the youth of tomorrow and our government, compels us to request your support to take a firm stand in moving forward with the improvements of our school facilities in Pago Pago expeditiously.”