By ALISON ANIS
FIVE Catholic church-run secondary education institutions in the National Capital District have been suspended following the stabbing death of a Grade 12 student last Friday.
Jubilee, De La Salle and Marianville secondary schools and Caritas and Don Bosco technical schools were suspended yesterday and the students, numbering close to 3,000, sent home for fear of retaliation from the relatives of the dead student.
However, a relative of the deceased yesterday told The National that the family was law-abiding and would not allow any retaliation or payback.
He said they had referred the matter to police and would allow for justice to take its course.
Port Moresby police have had not made any arrest, but said yesterday that they were investigating a possible murder case.
Police said the student died during a fight between groups of students after school last Friday at Gordon.
He was allegedly stabbed by another student, police said.
NCD general education services assistant secretary Ouka Lavaki confirmed the suspensions, saying that he had met with principals of all secondary schools in NCD, including the five Catholic institutions, yesterday to discuss the situation. Also present at the meeting were NCD education services secretary Tau Nauna and NCD and Central province guidance officers. Mr Lavaki said they discussed what was needed to be done and when the suspensions should be lifted to allow students to return to classes.
“Jubilee Secondary, De La Salle and Don Bosco Technical School have been suspended indefinitely,” he said, adding that Marianville and Caritas would be resuming classes today.
A staff from Caritas confirmed that classes were disrupted yesterday and students were told to go home for security reasons.
“It was for safety reasons that we decided to close school and send our students home,” the staffer said, adding that the girls from the school had been receiving multiple threats which they had reported to school authorities.
However, she said the threats had nothing to do with the fight and that Caritas students were not involved in any way and disregarded rumours that the fight between male students might have been over a girl from Caritas.
Classes for Jubilee was suspended on Monday morning and staff had indicated that the school would remain shut for the rest of the week and right through to the term break next week.
Mr Lavaki said classes for De La Salle, Jubilee and Don Bosco might remain closed this week until further notice.
“We are being conscious here because we have heard that relatives of the deceased student have caused a bit of trouble at Don Bosco,” he added.
Regarding the seriousness of the situation, and since this was an ongoing issue for secondary schools in NCD, Mr Lavaki said the principal and education officials had agreed to form a special committee involving police, the media and parents to look into ways they can help within their jurisdiction in alleviating the problem of in-fighting between secondary school students.
NCD metropolitan commander Chief Supt Fred Yakasa said the investigation would take some time because a lot of students were involved.
However, he said they have leads to someone who might be a suspect in the killing.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the deceased student told The National yesterday that family members were law-abiding citizens who have no intention of taking the law into their own hands.
“There should not be any fear at all among students and teachers; we call for calm until such time police have completed their investigations,” he said, adding that they also understood that this was a police matter.
“If there are any incidences or activities happening as repercussions, may the public be informed that that is not from us but opportunists and, maybe, people who have other motives in stirring up trouble,” the relative said.