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DOE looks into complaint against teacher

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - A teacher at Untalan Middle School has been sent to DOE's Central Office after allegedly making inappropriate comments to students. And this isn't the first time an internal investigation has been launched into this teacher's alleged actions in the classroom. 

A UMS student says his social studies teacher, Timothy McDow, has continuously made inappropriate comments to students since the first day of class.  "On the first day of school he said, 'Welcome to the 7-C Cougars, but not like the 40-year-old women chasing after the 18-year-old men.' And then he said, 'There's no such thing as stupid questions, just stupid people.' He asked us to draw a map to our house and then he said, 'Don't draw a map to where you go after school, but where you sleep at.' I felt scared," the student recalled.

These comments made by this particular teacher have grandparent and Untalan teacher Josie Garina concerned about the situation.  "A map to their house and how to get there? Because he said that 'If you miss your bus, teachers get to take you home'. I'm a teacher and I know I'm not supposed to take kids home. I wouldn't want to anyways but if there's a motive to want to take them home, a map to where you sleep in your house? Why? What is he intending to do?" she said.

This isn't the first time allegations were made. A couple of years ago, Caleb Cruz claims McDow harassed him.  "He came down and asked if I had a problem. I didn't know what was going on. I just walked away to go into the library and he kept on coming out to me and stuff. I told him to leave me alone and I didn't do anything," he said.  "So he started yelling at me and provoking me. I just kept walking away and he was asking if I think I'm bad and stuff. I didn't know what was going on so I just kept walking away."

Caleb's father, William Cruz, says the Department of Education needs to assess the situation because this is the third time and nothing has been done.  "My son is not the only case that he felt was a victim. Prior to what happened to him, there were other kids that have run-ins with the teacher. As a concerned parent, I just want to find out what DOE is doing about this," he said.

Untalan principal Eleuterio Mesa says McDow has been investigated before, but was cleared of allegations by DOE.  He stated, "The first time around, there was some merit and some corrective action. The second time around, there was really no merit. The bottom line is that the finding was negative. This is the third time around. I just want to get to the bottom of this and let's get the real truth and do something about it."

The administrator added, "It concerns me greatly when a bunch of students are complaining about inappropriate language. And this can be very traumatic for students. That's why I sent him downtown to look at the case further."

In the meantime, DOE Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood says she couldn't comment on the case because it is an open personnel matter, but she says it could possibly go to the Civil Service Commission.

KUAM News has confirmed DOE decided to terminate McDow effective Wednesday. McDow, however, could not be reached for comment.

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