Guam – Good news for the stakeholders of FB Leon Guerrero Middle school and Simon Sanchez High School. The Jungle area behind both schools is being cleared in an effort to ensure the continued safety at both schools. In the past this jungle has been a haven for students who skipped school.
Monday is the day two of the Jungle clean up behind FB Leon Middle school. This clean up was slated to begin today, but the large back hoe arrived on the school campus Saturday and the International Bridge Corporation crew started the clean up project Yesterday. This jungle has been associated with the group of students called the “Outgaters” who would skip school and hide here throughout the day. School officials also found out that these “outgaters” were students who were suspended and would hide here until the school day ended..
In the past, a chain linked fence at the back of the school property had a large section cut out making it easy for students to leave the campus. There was also a maze of trails zigzagging beyond the fence line . A playground carved out of the jungle by these “outgaters”.
The fence is repaired and the jungle behind the is being cleared away. Assistant Principal Patrick Egrubay says they will clear about 50 feet along the perimeter behind both Simon Sanchez High school and FB Leon Guerrero Middle School
According to Egrubay, what you are seeing today is the visible manifestation of an ongoing collaboration between the Department of Education, The Mayors office and different Gov Guam agencies.
Egrubay says, ” The Mayor has taken the lead in coordinating this clearing, there were permits that had to be secured, they needed to re-look at property maps to know where the boundaries of the different properties are from the landowners and the Government to make sure that they are clearing the right area and then after that securing the contractor to get the work done.”
Mayor Robert Lizama says this project has brought the community together
He likes that they are ending the year on a good note and seeing that perhaps see next year they start fresh and perhaps the kids are out on Christmas Break and that when they return they will see that there is a face lift to the campus of Simon sanchez and FL leon Gyuerrero middle school.
Egrubay hopes this new facelift will deter students from skipping school.
Egrubay says, “Now the students will actually see that we mean business when it comes to skipping off campus they will know that this behavior is not tolerated we are removing from them a place where they like to skip out and sending a strong message that we will tolerate this behavior.”
FB Leon Guerrero Interim Principal Erika Cruz says by having the perimeter cleared away will make it easier for the school administrators and school aids to see if there are student behind the fence line and it will also allow the Physical Education classes utilize the fields. In the past outgaters would often throw rocks at the students while they were attending Phys Ed classes.
Cruz says, “Our PE teachers have been using the Gymnasium because of the fear of kids throwing rocks at the students, so now they will be able to use the soccer and baseball fields which is a wonderful relief for our teachers.”
Although this may be a sort term solution for the school, there are other things the school can do in the long term. Such as educating students and family members about skipping and truancy.
Cruz says, “Last week we were able to go to the Gila Baza subdivision and speak to parents and family members there and that’s a first step to getting our parents to be more involved in the education process. We want to continue the dialogue and communication with our parents and thats the key to success to ensuring the success of our students.”
Egrubay also adds that making lessons to be relevant for the students so they will stay in school. He says most of the skippers might lack certain skills and as educators they need to find a way to teach them
According to Mayor Lizama, at the rate the crew is working he believes the area behind Simon sanchez and FB Leon Guerrero will be cleared by either Tuesday or early Wednesday.