Dededo school reports bullying in first week - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Dededo school reports bullying in first week

by Michele Catahay

Guam - While it's only the beginning of the school year, schools are getting reports of bullying. It's a continuous problem that needs to be addressed soon.  

Benavente Middle School Assistant Principal of Discipline Silvino Quinene says a week into the school year, he's already getting complaints from parents about bullying.  He told KUAM News, "I can count it on one hand if I'm correct and it doesn't mean that I've seen it but the ones I'm personally involved in.  Which to me, I don't think it's acceptable that it's happening, but the level to me demonstrates that our students do have some idea of what they should or should not be doing."  He also said, "Some of us, we're seeing and other parents are bringing to our attention, as well."

Quinene says the school has zero tolerance for bullying. Students caught in the act are suspended. The issue of bullying is not unique to one gender. In fact, it comes in all forms from teasing, to physical contact and even forced isolation.

Quinene says to tackle the issue, BMS is working to identify trouble areas and develop data for this issue. "In some cases, we as parents take the position that it toughens our kids and to a certain degree, that's true, but fairness doesn't exist," he explained.  "In reality, it exists when we work as a group or as individuals to build fairness into our children's experiences and habits so that it goes into the community."

Department of Education Student Support Services Administrator Jessica Camacho says the agency is close to awarding a contract to implement anti-bullying policies for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. As such, stimulus funding has been earmarked for this purpose.

She said, "The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding doesn't allow for any employment. So what it's going to be is a lot of implementation of programs. And so depending on what programs are going to be offered, what type of bullying prevention program is being offered, that is what is going to be taught to the teachers, taught to the administrators, taught to the front liners who are the school aids and also programs for students."

Once an award is made, Camacho is hoping programs will be implemented after to help with intervention.  She explained, "With the Bullying Prevention Program that we will be awarding soon, we're hoping it will provide a lot of intervention so it wont get to that point. It will also provide guidance in how we should deal with bullying situations in the schools, especially at the front lines. So I'm hoping there will be a lot of prevention and that it will not be happening in our schools."

In the meantime, Quinene is hoping these programs will help students cope with this serious issue.  "It's a subtle matter," he described.  "Board Policy 409 has been developed to address the issue. There's always going to be a need for training that needs to happen. There's personnel you need to hire and just making sure the studies are done to collect the data to find where the troubled areas are at."

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