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Education board reprimands Underwood

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The Guam Education Policy Board has decided to reprimand superintendent of public education Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood. A motion was made by board member Rosie Tainatongo, who says leadership should start at the top. Issues had surfaced after parents and students testified during oversight hearings on bullying at the Guam Legislature.

Tainatongo said the Department of Education must be proactive rather than being reactive. She says Dr. Underwood and her team of deputies need to come up with a plan to properly address what has been going on not only at F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School, but other schools as well. 

Board member Vangie Cepeda seconded the motion. Five voted in favor it - Joe San Agustin, Rosie Tainatongo Ron Ayuyu, Jose Cruz, and Cepeda.

The superintendent gave a presentation to board members during executive session, which took about four hours behind closed doors. She says doe had taken proactive steps to ensure board policies were followed properly. She also provided them with timelines for actions taken at FBLG Middle School.

San Agustin says he's satisfied with the plan and that doe must move forward with lessons learned.

Issues at FBLG were brought to light, forcing the superintendent to remove principal Ulric Marc and assistant principal Milaflor Quitugua. Ayuyu, the GEPB's chairman, says the safety of students is critical not only at the Yigo campus, but at other schools around the island; he says it's an issue that should be addressed immediately.

Shortly after the meeting, Dr. Underwood declined to comment on the action taken by the board.

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