Minister condemns school attack, promises action

The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, has condemned a brutal gang attack on a mother outside the gates of a school in Vaivase last week and says he will review policies for preventing violence on school grounds. 

Witnesses said Lesina Fidow was badly beaten by four women in front of her four children, an assault which she said left her in hospital for four days.

"That should have never happened in the first place," Loau told the Samoa Observer.

"First things [first], the place is wrong, second what they did was very wrong."

Mrs. Fidow said the attack ended shortly after a knife pierced the right side of her head.

Days after the attack, the 41-year-old mother who was dragged from her car, stripped and beaten said she had ongoing concerns for the safety of her children.

Loau said the Ministry are taking the matter seriously and want to prevent such attacks happening again for fear of the safety of the public and children. 

"This means we will have to have regulations in place," he said.

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"These types of things with each school’s policies that will guide how parents act as well, letting parents know that something like that should never even happen. It shouldn’t happen!

"Schools should now have policies that once you leave your child or pick them up; you leave straight away to avoid these happenings.

"So we are looking at it seriously, I have already talked to the Principal [of Vaivase Primary School] to look into it, to see what sorts of policies can regulate and make sure nothing like this happens ever again."

Loau has urged parents to leave their personal problems away from students and schools.

"Go somewhere else to do your consultations and talk it out," he said. 

"But because it has already happened, then that means the Ministry needs to establish some perimeters to avoid any future occurrences such as these that the children are witnessing.

"The children should not and should never see these actions from parents, it’s inappropriate, especially in the school environments."

Mrs. Fidow told Samoa Observer the dispute that led to the incident remains unresolved and that her children were threatened and bullied at school in the aftermath of the attack. 

A Vaivase resident, Motiana Aukuso, who was at the scene of the attack said the attack on Mrs. Fidow was so terrifying she could not have intervened. 

"Whatever reasons those women had, they should’ve done it without her children looking,” she said.

“We all do not know what the real issue is and who is right or wrong but my point is, we are all Samoans and having children involved in a situation like this is indescribable.”

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