Is a military school the solution for Guam problem students?

Dr. Judith Guthertz (PNC file photo)

At least two educators are amenable to the establishment of a military school on Guam to address the growing discipline problems in the island’s public schools.

In an interview with the Patti Arroyo show on News Talk K-57, Dr. Judith Guthertz and Dr. Ron McNinch said the establishment of a military school may be the solution to the problem of where to place problem students with serious discipline issues.

Guthertz said traditional classrooms may not be the best for problem students with discipline problems.

“We need to have a disciplinary school and I think it would be better to have a military-type boot camp school where we have our traditional teachers but we also have retired Marine sergeant majors helping these kids learn civics, learn respect, and learn to work in a group environment,” Guthertz said.

She added that problem kids often lack positive role models and it is difficult to have role models in the current system where every teacher has to manage classes with 30 students each aside from fulfilling various administrative duties.

“I think a military school would work tremendously well on the island. Any military whether Marine, Army or another service can be excellent role models for the problem students,” Guthertz stressed.

Dr. McNinch, who is a member of the Guam Education Board, is also amenable to looking at the possibility of a military school.

He said Vice Speaker Telena Nelson, the education oversight chair, already mentioned to the board that there’s a National Guard program that does exactly what a military school does and she suggested that the education board discuss that model.

McNinch said the members of the education board have already been made aware of the National Guard program and are actively discussing it.

The National Guard has a Youth Challenge Program whose mission is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth to produce program graduates with the values, skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as adults.