No Investigation on Teacher Student Relationship

There’s no police investigation into the case of a Leone High School teacher alleged to have had a sexual relationship with a student who contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

The male teacher was asked to get himself tested but Leone High School Principal Mataua Matai and the Deputy Director of Education Philo Jennings told a hearing of the Senate Education Committee they don’t know the test results.

According to Principal Matai, DOE Deputy Director Fa’aui Vaitautolu has instructed that any questions pertaining to this case should be referred for her.

Vaitautolu is currently off island with DOE Director Dr. Ruth Matagi Tofiga.

Deputy Director Jennings told the committee he’d speak to what he personally knows about the case which was first brought to his attention in the beginning of May and how the matter reached DOE.

He said he was briefed by DOE Director Dr. Matagi Tofiga and Deputy Director Vaitautolu about the alleged teacher student relationship.

Jennings explained that because DOE is not an investigation agency, the matter was referred to appropriate agencies like the Department of Public Safety and others whom he did not name.

The student’s identity hasn’t been disclosed because he’s a minor.

The DOE official said up to now there has not been any police report of an investigation on this case.

Alataua Senator Paepae Joe Faiai who raised the matter, said that this is a very serious matter.

When he asked Commissioner Lei if there’s any investigation into the teacher student relationship, the commissioner said that his office was not approached.

Senator Paepae advised Jennings to conduct sessions on teacher student relations when DOE holds orientations for the new school year to make teachers aware of the boundaries.

He also suggested sessions on drugs in school

Speaking as a parent, Paepae said the welfare of children while they are in school is entrusted to teachers so when a teacher violates the boundaries as has been alleged in this instance, it’s a matter of grave concern.

Principal Matai told senators that after she was informed by the DOE Director, she approached the teacher involved and asked him three times about the allegations.

But he denied it and said that it was not right.

Senator Fonoti Tafa’ifa charged that teachers are negligent in their duties…some chit chat and smoke while students are unsupervised in class.

She knows this to be true because she has taught at most of the high schools in Tutuila including Leone High School in 1972.

Fonoti told the principal she and her staff are too young to deal with problems in school, that they are as young and immature as the students.

The Sentate Education Committee will be calling in the director and deputy Director when they return from off island to respond to questions about the Leone High School teacher student relationship.

The teacher left the territory in May.

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