The Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) has appealed to the Government to reconsider amending the bill to allow teachers to use ‘reasonable force’ in schools.
The S.V.S.G. board chair Georgina Lui and colleague board member Mulipola Anarosa Molio’o made the call recently and added that they had a mandate to protect victims and the amendments will see the re-introduction of corporation punishment.
“Our mandate is to protect the victims and what we are looking at here are potential victims from children who will be subjected to violence from teachers who will believe that this proposed amendment justifies the use of corporal punishment and that is a huge concern,” Lui said in an interview with Samoa Observer.
“We are bringing back the law that was repealed. This is being brought back in disguised as a reasonable force, but it is corporal punishment.”
As a parent Lui said she will not take the risk of sending her children to school with this amendment in place.
“Our position is that we want to support those who are against to allow reasonable force into the schools. I am not so sure the Government has conducted a consultation on this issue, whether parents agree that their children would be subjected to this once the law is passed,” she added.
The amendments to the law will give teachers ‘the license to assault’ children and they will not be held criminally responsible for their conduct, she added.
Lui has recommended that the Government consider training the teachers on how to best handle situations when they arise in schools.
“Instead of reacting they should be proactive in preventing them from happening in the first place. The way it looks here is like the teacher can use reasonable force to prevent one child from harming another child or from committing a criminal offense or from using threatening and offensive behavior and in is pretty wide ranging,” she added.
The S.V.S.G. will embark on an advocacy program targeting communities to advise them of the implications of the proposed amendments and its impact on school children.