26 Jul 2004

Samoan teachers warned not to strike students

8:59 pm on 26 July 2004

Teachers at Roman Catholic schools in Samoa have been warned to be ready for the consequences if they assault students.

The director of Catholic education, Aeau Chris Hazelman, has told a seminar that there has been an increase in complaints against teachers, with four taken to court last year.

He told the teachers that there is a line that must not be crossed.

Teachers have complained that their rights to discipline students have been put aside in favour of students' rights.

But a long standing Catholic policy forbids teachers from striking students.

A guide from the 1980s says only a principal can physically discipline a student.

Students face a warning, suspension or expulsion for misbehaviour.

Police are currently investigating an incident at St. Joseph's College where two male students attacked a male teacher.

Local media say the teacher had allegedly assaulted a female student, who was a relative of the two boys accused of the attack.