It’s a Cabinet decision, I can’t comment

The Principal of Avele College, Lesaisaea Reupena Matafeo, has declined to comment on Cabinet’s decision to shut the school in the wake of recent violent incidents involving students. 

“The decision was made by the Cabinet and no public servant can comment any further,” Lesaisaea said. He added that the Ministry of Education is represented in Cabinet by their Minister, Loau Keneti Sio, and he is the only one who could comment.  

“Our minister is the right person to comment,” he said.

Minister Loau was not immediately available for a comment yesterday.

Lesaisaea was contacted for a comment after Cabinet announced its decision to shut the school and suspend the teachers – including Principal Lesaisaea.

“Cabinet has today (yesterday) confirmed its decision to close Avele College pending the outcome of police investigations in to continued and increasing acts of violence by students,” the statement from Cabinet reads.

“The recent threats by Avele College students towards other schools, students and teachers, caused widespread panic and saw the deployment of police officers in riot gear earlier this week.  “The Ministry of Police has been directed to urgently proceed with their investigations; to identify those who are responsible for encouraging and participating in acts of violence that have caused widespread disruption and danger to other schools and to the general public.

“Cabinet has also decided that from 2017, all government grants for Mission Schools will be disbursed directly to schools, and no longer through their respective Education Boards.  

 “This will ensure that schools with students who habitually and continuously flout police authority will be denied future grant assistance.

“Cabinet has also directed the Office of the Attorney General to draft legislation to help discourage, stop and prevent the type of behaviour that leads to acts of violence between school students, thereby causing injury and creating an environment of fear amongst students, teachers, parents and the general public.  

“This legislation should reflect Samoa's principles of Christian living, cultural practices and modern-day disciplinary measures that are also used by other democratic forms of government, like Samoa, within the Commonwealth and United Nations family of nations.”

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