In education news – Following the recent news of the bullying incident in front of Simon Sanchez school gates.
PNC’s Damen Michael wanted to gain information on the Guam Department of education’s operating procedures when it comes to bullying.
PNC’s Damen Michael has this story
According to both GDOE and the Guam Education Board before any situation is considered bullying there has to be three different components in behavior.
The person must first present aggressive behavior that involves unwanted negative actions, second involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time, and lastly involves an imbalance of power and strength.
Erika Cruz, Deputy Superintendent for Educational Support and Community Learning at GDOE gave PNC last schools years reported bullying incidents saying, ” Last school year we had a total of 45 the most was in middle schools with 24 and then elementary we had 17 reported bullyings and then 4 in high school.”
As of this school year, there has only been a total of 7 reported bullying incidents, which Cruz attributes the number to the fact that school has just started in August.
Furthermore, Deputy Superintendent Cruz says that for as long as she has been in her position High school reported bullying cases used to be high but have steadily decreased over time.
Middle school, however, is a different story saying, ” Many of our middle schoolers are bullied a lot, and there already at a transitional age right from adolescent to teen.”
Cruz added that during this transitional period bullying might be due to factors, such as students receiving smartphones and not knowing how to properly use social media making cyberbullying a big issue.
For GDOE once a bullying situation has been indicated and investigated by the school administration it is then escalated and reported to the Guam Police Department juvenile division.
Cruz said, ” on our end, we handle it as a level 3 offense when students could be suspended for up to 10 days or go through disciplinary advisory counsel committee where the committee determines whether an additional 10 days suspension or an expulsion is necessary for that students.”
Moreover, GDOE investigations time frames on bullying can vary depending on the situation itself.
Cruz said that typically investigations last approximately 3-5 days for the school administration to complete, but of course, it varies on a case-to-case basis.
Furthermore, Cruz wants parents and students to understand communication between each other, and communication with trusted school administrators and teachers in these situations is important because GDOE does not tolerate any forms of bullying. She added that she wants students to feel safe on school campuses.