Guam -Bullying at the island’s public schools was the focus of a two day Oversight hearing at the Guam Legislature Monday and Tuesday of this week, and much of the criticism centered around F.B.Leon Guerrero [FBLG] Middle School in Yigo.
The result on Wednesday was the removal of the Principal and Vice-Principal from FBLG.
During the hearings, concerned parents, students, members of the Guam Education Board and DOE administrators met with lawmakers to hear testimony and discuss the ongoing incidents of bullying and harassment taking place at the schools. Numerous complaints were brought up about F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle.
On Monday night, Angela Aguigui testified that three weeks ago her daughter was sexually harassed by two boys while attending FB Leon Guerrero Middle School. After the incident, Aguigui called Leon Guerrero’s Vice Principal, Milaflor Quitugua to tell her that students were threatening her daughter and wanted to know what Quitugua was going to do to keep her daughter safe.
Aguigui testified that Quitugua couldn’t guarantee her daughter’s safety.
Last night senators wanted to know what kind of action DOE Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Underwood would do to rectify all the complaints that were reported. According to Speaker Judi Won Pat, her office received over 4 dozen complaints about incidents taking place within public schools. And during last nights hearing Underwood told them that she will take appropriate actions. This morning, Underwood took swift actions, she reassigned FB Leon Guerrero’s Principal Ulric Mark and Vice Principal Milaflor Quitugua to the central office.
Underwood says, “There were testimony by the students and the parents that was questionable the school acted. I had to take action until the items are addressed.
Underwood says Jose Rios Principal Erica Cruz has been assigned to handle F.B. Leon Guerrero in Mark’s absence. Underwood says they are currently investigating the allegations against Mark and Quitugua. Underwood visited middle school earlier today. She says The Goal is to ensure that FB Leon Guerrero has stability and that the students are safe.
The 27th Guam Legislature passed a law designed to protect students while in school. Last night senators wanted to know why DOE isn’t enforcing it. Underwood says she wasn’t the superintendent when the law was passed into law or when the policy was adopted by the school board
According to Underwood, “Whenever we have a situation such as this we need to reexamine the whole system. If there was a part of the public law that wasn’t incorporated into the standard operating procedures or the policy then we need to make sure that is corrected. “
During last nights public hearing Senator Rory Respicio suggested that Underwood step down as the Superintendent.
Underwood says, “I wont pay attention to that. I need to focus on the safety of the students. My main concerned is that they have a system in place that supports both the students and the teachers and to have an environment that is conducive to learning.