GDOE Superintendent: Investigation Was Not Complete

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Weeks ago a source told PNC that the investigation into a 1:1 aide’s treatment of a SPED student was done and the parents were disputing the findings. However, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says that the investigation is not done and he says they are still looking into the incident.

Guam – The Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez says the investigation into the video of a 1:1 aide getting physical with a Special Education student is not complete.

 

He says, “We conducted an investigation into the facts, I was off island so we had an Acting Superintendent work with the administration at the school to see what happened. I received word that a parent was disputing the findings but I reassured the parents and the general public that the investigation was not complete.” 
 
Fernandez explains that with every incident, the school will lead the investigation. Afterwards, the findings will then go to the district level for an evaluation. He says he spoke with the parents of the student seen in the video. Two weeks ago, according to the findings, the school has not found any wrongdoing on the aide. The documents also indicates that all statements support the aide’s statements regarding his actions toward the student and that the only wrongdoing on the aide’s part was using his personal phone during work hours. Also in the findings, the school claims that the aide’s personal phone was being used to support the student by calming or distracting him from taking the aides phone, walking and taking others food without permission, and touching the sound system. Meanwhile, the one-to-one aide has been reassigned to a SAFE trained aide and another aide is now assigned to the student.
 
Fernandez says, “I think in this particular situation, and I did meet with the parents later, to go over my findings and my assessment of the situation. I think the issue for them was to really assure them that any shortcomings that we find, we will address.”
 
Just last week, Senator and former GDOE Superintendent Nerissa Underwood held a round table discussion not only to make sure that there are certain policies in place to protect the island’s students, but also to assure parents that their children are protected in school. At the discussion, these questions stood out the most: How does GDOE keep our students safe and ensure that schools are conducive to learning?
What corrective actions are being taken or will be taken to strengthen those procedures or programs that will ensure that our students are learning in a safe environment?
 
Fernandez said as far as the Special Education programs is concerned, they will strengthen their safe training and take a look at how often they need to train 1:1 aides and also take a look at the quality of training. He says, “Something we have wanted to do in the first place is to meet with our Special Education stakeholders so sometime between the middle of December or early January, we’re going to schedule a meeting to make sure we hear all of these issues and concerns out there. I’m in constant communication with some of the advocates but it’s important to make sure that they understand what we’;re doing to address the round table concerns.”
 
GDOE says the Office of Special Education Programs Monitoring and State Improvement Planning Division, the National Technical Assistance Center, and the University of Guam CEDDERS are facilitating a week-long training event for teams from American Samoa, CNMI, FSM, Guam, Marshall Islands, and Palau. According to a release, the purpose for the training is to help ensure that Pacific entities develop high quality Special Education and Early Intervention Phase II State Systemic Improvement Plans. In addition, OSEP staff will be providing consultation to address entity-specific issues related to the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act requirements. For more information, contact Ms. June De Leon from UOG CEDDERS at 735-2481.