Student facing expulsion over Facebook post

A Year 9 student at Avele College is facing expulsion after he was alleged to have posted offensive material on Facebook.

Avele College Vice-Principal, So’oalo So’oalo, confirmed the incident when asked by the Samoa Observer to verify reports of the student’s suspension.

He said Principal Reupena Matafeo suspended the student upon discovering the social media post, and added that expulsion now appears to be the most likely course of action, as his post was considered adverse to the reputations of both the Samoa College and St Joseph’s College.

A former student alerted the Vice Principal to the Facebook post, with So’oalo saying he checked it and had to immediately apologise to the other other colleges as he found it very offensive.

“I watched the video clip on Sunday. I saw that and then on Monday, I went and offered an apology to St. Joseph’s and then I went and apologised to Samoa College,” he said.

So’oalo refused to identify the student, when asked by the Samoa Observer, and repeated his view that he should be expelled. 

The student has been advised of the disciplinary process that the college has now opened into his actions.

“The post has been taken down…I don’t know what the point was and looking at the tone [of his video post], he was playing around with his friends in those colleges. If he was joking or not, it was still off, it is not allowed,” he said.

“He named those colleges and Avele College and it was something that would not make you happy. The mother of the Year 9 student has been notified of her son’s situation. The process is we suspend them and we investigate the matter and then we make a final decision...[the Principal] writes and takes it to the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture. Whether he was joking or not, still, he should not have named those other schools.”

“What did Samoa College do? Nothing. What did St. Joseph’s do? Nothing. So it falls on us, Avele College. It’s a difficult situation, it’s not easy but it is something we will not tolerate.”

The Vice Principal also refused to give more details on the content of the student’s Facebook post.

“I’m not [going to specify…] that. I am serious about this,” he said.

Students’ increasing use of the video sharing application TikTok, while still in their school uniforms, also came under fire. 

So’oalo said the trend of students going on TikTok while in their school uniforms should be condemned.

“I don’t care if they do that at home. They can wear whatever they want but not in their school uniform. A person will take one look at that and think: that student hasn’t had enough schooling,” he said. “People will say they are being show-offs. That is unacceptable. We will not accept that.”

In an appeal to students, the Vice Principal said they should use their time on the internet wisely for their studies.

“Use it to do your homework, not to be a show-off. People can tell when you are being a show-off. But for school students, if they used that time to do their homework instead of being show-offs, that’s great,” he added.

It is understood a Samoa College student, who responded to the Year 9 Avele College student’s video post, has also been reprimanded.

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