Bullying remains concern for school officials - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Bullying remains concern for school officials

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Classes may be out of session, but the issue of bullying remains a concern for the Department of Education as they prepare for the upcoming school year.  Parents are hoping the issue will be addressed sooner rather than later. 

"She had six girls and told them to jump her," said Bennitt Cruz, who says she was very upset to learn that a school aid apparently had other students at the interim John F. Kennedy High School start a fight with her stepdaughter.  "Since all this has happened my stepdaughter has nightmares, she wants to have her education, she wants to graduate but (she's) scared, goes to school scared everyday," she added.

Arrested for the May incident was Frances Jean Cruz and another student on charges of assault and conspiracy on a minor. Since then, Cruz was not allowed to return to the campus pending an internal investigation.

Department of Education deputy superintendent Arlene Unpingco told KUAM News, "In this case the investigation relative to that allegation has been cleared but there has been additional information that the school has provided to my office yesterday, so the department is looking into that and we still have to clear that information that we received."

Cruz says the information is that there remains a restraining order against the school aid.  "My thing is once that an aide or school official has been arrested or has record of harming a minor, why would you consider keeping her in the public school system or having placed anywhere where there's children at her disposal or are we going to wait ‘til it ends up like that child at southern high where he was beaten to death from being bullied," she said.

However, Unpingco says they are not taking this issue lightly.  "Our management team is very clear in holding employees accountable for their actions or inactions and that continues to stand with this management team," she said.

Meanwhile, Cruz has written a letter to DOE superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood in hopes that her concerns will not fall on deaf ears. "The kids they just want an education, why cant they go without being in fear or scared that they are going to get jumped or that the aide don't like me, that's wrong, that is so wrong, that's not what the school system is support to be about," she said.

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