By EREBIRI ZURENUOC
NEARLY 4000 students attending three primary schools at a locality in Lae were sent home yesterday morning because of tension triggered by the killing of a man and the burning of houses.
In a separate incident in Madang, classes were suspended at the Madang Teachers’ College after a row over the student council president.
Acting Metropolitan Superintendent Fred Kaiwa told The National that the situation at Seventh Street, Bumbu and Butibum was “tense but under control.”
The three schools are the Huonville Primary, Butibum Primary and Amba Demonstration Primary. They are located in the area.
Head teacher of Huonville Primary Willie Vilakiva said classes had to be suspended at 8am and children were sent home for their safety. He was not sure when classes would resume.
“Respective authorities will have to see first what is happening and they will advise us – whether to have classes or suspend classes this week,” he said.
“The situation is being assessed. The Banana Block settlement is near the school.”
Vilakiva said the safety of students was the priority.
“Most students who (had arrived) in school yesterday morning were sent home,” he said.
“Those who were still inside the (school) bus were told to travel (back) to town and then back to where they came from. For those who were dropped off by their parents, parents were told to come and take them home.”
Vilakiva said the school had more than 1800 students, most of whom lived in “high tension area” of Seventh Street, Bumbu and Butibum. Those living at Backroad also had to travel through Bumbu and Butibum.
Deputy board chairman of Butibum Primary School Godfrey Yalisimbi told The National yesterday that classes had to be suspended.
“We have more than 700 students and they were told to go back home. The school will have to wait for further instructions from the education division,” he said.
Amba Demonstration Primary which has 1400 students was also affected. The head teachers of both Butibum Primary and Amba Demonstration Primary could not be reached for a comment.
By EREBIRI ZURENUOC