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THS classes cancelled after alleged gun threats made on Facebook

American Samoa’s Homeland Security Director Samana Ve’ave’a
reporters@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On December 6, 2023, the ASDOE Director confirmed the cancellation of classes at Tafuna High School (THS). Parents were asked to hold all students at home and activate remote learning on Google Classroom.

It was reported that a student had allegedly posted on Facebook about shooting down the school. No further information was available about the alleged threat.

Gov. Lemanu P.S. Mauga and members of his cabinet held a meeting with THS Administration, Faculty and Staff to discuss the issue.

Governor Lemanu is said to have told those who attend the meeting that his administration does not take this issue lightly. He pleaded with everyone to ask why this is happening? Is it the family? The government? Or the Faculty? “To ask ourselves what we can do together to help our future generations.”

During the meet, the governor challenged everyone to come together as one to start discussing what can be done to address these rising challenges in our schools, churches, and island as a whole, starting today.

Later, in a public statement, Gov. Lemanu said he was informed of the situation in the morning and since then, they have been working diligently to re-evaluate and reinforce safety measures at schools.

“What happens in the United States is also happening here,” said American Samoa’s Homeland Security Director Samana Ve’ave’a yesterday, in reference to the reported gun threat at THS.

Samana told KVZK TV that the FBI has information of the incident. “It was someone that sent a message on Instagram, alerting he is in possession of a gun, and he’d be going to Tafuna High School.

“The suspected sender of the instagram message was apprehended following a police investigation.”

He said it’s “a student from Tafuna High School.

“This is the third time such threats have been viewed on social media.

And, “FBI was able to locate the suspect, his name and his age, as well as reporting it to the (local) Attorney General.”

 “It wasn’t a bomb threat,” Samana said, “but it’s a threat like an attitude.”

According to the ASDHS director, “It happened around 3am —Wednesday December 6th.

“ A message was sent out to FBI, and they were able to trace it.”

He advised on television that they can go to a church to perform outreach programs, “but the parents must know where their children are going. 

“If you are a parent and you don’t know,  it’s time to find out,” he warned. 

Governor Lemanu in his public message said in the face of such incidents, “we must actively engage with our community, understand the root causes, and work collaboratively to ensure the safety of our children.

“As leaders, our challenge is to adopt a preventative stance, assessing and planning for outreach programs within our communities.

“Furthermore, I want to emphasize that we should not take these matters lightly until something happens.

“Prevention is key, and our collective actions, along with the cabinet and all government agencies, can significantly impact the safety of our students.

“I am urging all relevant departments to come together and create a comprehensive plan for preventive measures and immediate responses.

“It is crucial that we unite to ensure that our schools remain safe spaces for learning and growth, the governor stated.”

Samoa News reached out to the Department of Public Safety for comment, but was told that only the Commissioner or Deputy Commish can release information on the issue and they had gone to a meeting and had not returned.

It has not been confirmed when classes will resume at THS.