‘They’re cowards’

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia 04 May 2016, 12:00AM

They are cowards.

That’s how a former student of Avele College and former Member of Parliament, Tuia Paepae Letoa, described the students who claimed to be from Avele College, who issued a death threat to Maluafou students on Facebook.  The threat led to the school being shut yesterday. 

Police officers in full riot gear instead surrounded the compound.

“They are an embarrassment for the school,” said Tuia. “As former students, we are ashamed about what they have done. They are cowards and they are disgraceful.” The comments from Tuia come as Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi indicated that the government is losing patience with these schools. 

The Prime Minister said the government is seriously considering bringing back corporal punishment.

“We already have a decision on it,” Tuilaepa said. 

“This means we will have to look at it again and will decide the next step. The decision is to give the teachers one more chance to do what they can to deal with them.”

Should that fail, Tuilaepa did not say what they would do.

On Tuesday, the threat was made on Facebook with a post by someone identified as “Vadoz Lokoz.”

The post instructed Avele students to take the Magiagi bus and get off just on the riverside, opposite Leifiifi College. The students are then told to proceed to Maluafou to start the attack.

“Beat all the boys and girls of the school, no one is to be spared including the teachers,” the post reads.

 “Make sure you beat up the girls of Maluafou as if you are beating up a boy… and stab them with the knives.”

Tuia, former President of A.C.O.P.A’s during its 90th birthday celebration, said such threats are embarrassing. And given the recent involvement of Avele students in brawls with other schools, Avele students have become a nuisance to the public.

“It’s so disappointing,” he said.Reflecting on past years in Avele College, Tuia recalled the school had never experienced such an issue.

 “In our days the students were well mannered and very respectful. They didn’t have to go out and find trouble or fight other schools to show that they were stronger. They simply proved that by doing well in school and showing respect for one another. 

“I do not understand what’s driving this madness other than to say that they are cowards who are tainting the name of the College and the hard work done by those before them.”

According to Tuia, students nowadays have become quite “cheeky” and they lack the discipline of old. When Tuia was in school in 1972, he said they weren’t allowed to hang out at the market. 

 “From school, we go straight home because we know that if we are ever caught at the market by prefects or the former students, you get punished,” he said.  

“We watch our every step when we are in town because we placed pride in our uniforms. We walk and talk with much respect. We respected our former students then and we were well mannered because of that old student spirit of discipline - something that these new kids don’t understand and don’t have.”

The A.C.O.P.A. member said he was disappointed with the current students.

He suggested that the schools should expel everyone involved to teach them a lesson. 

“There have been too many incidents where this kind of thing happens and the only way to stop it is don’t allow them back to school,” said Tuia.

“Some students just don’t care. They don’t think about their education when they decide to get involved in these fights so to me they might as well stay home and do some chores.”

Tuia pointed out that the problem starts from home. He emphasised the importance of the relationship between the child and their parents. 

“To me I personally, think that the problem is the parents not spending enough time with their children,” he explained. 

“Like we always say the first classroom is at home and I think that the problem today is parents are not giving their children the discipline they need and do not invest their time in them. 

“I can tell you that the students causing all the trouble are those who are not doing well in school and have nothing better to do but fight…it’s not the government’s fault, parents need to be parents and discipline their children.”  

According to Tuia some parents are quick to defend their children when teachers slap them. 

“It’s sad but it’s the reality that some parents are so quick to jump at the teacher when something happens to their children but oversee the problem,” he said. “They don’t discipline their children and teachers are faced with the trouble of trying to control the students.”

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia 04 May 2016, 12:00AM

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