Minister confirms Principal's suspension
The Principal of Palalaua College, Leoloa Tuuu Mautofiga, has been suspended after a recommendation by the Public Service Commission (P.S.C.).
The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, confirmed the suspension, saying the decision was made after the Ministry of Education submitted a report from its internal investigation to the P.S.C.
“The P.S.C. is the employer for the charged school principal so they will make the final decisions based on the report,” he said.
Last week, Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, confirmed that Leoloa has been charged with assault over an incident involving a Year 13 student at the school.
The student claimed that he was struck with a P.V.C.-like pipe repeatedly on the torso and face as a disciplinary measure for posting a photo on social media of he and a friend in school uniform.
Corporal punishment is not illegal within schools in Samoa.
The Education Act was amended in 2019 to clarify that only "reasonable force" is permitted under the law and only in specific circumstances, such as preventing criminal acts, averting disruptive behaviour and preventing harm to children.
However, the law explicitly states that the use of an "object" to administer punishment is not legally defined as reasonable.