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Vandals hit two central schools over weekend

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - Yet another rash of break-ins occurred in the central villages over the weekend. With little resources, the Department of Education is left to pick-up the pieces after vandals struck at least two public schools this weekend. C.L. Taitano Elementary School in Sinajana has been hit three times in the last six months.

According to assistant principal Gloria Barreto, the culprits rummaged through closets, and tagged the classroom walls with permanent markers. She told KUAM News, "A couple of classrooms, there was paint that is used for projects for the students. They poured it all over the floor. They put it all over the tabletops and even on the area rugs where they do their small group activities. They poured it all over. We had graffiti marks all over the walls, the chalkboards, the white boards and even the teachers' desks." 

Barreto says the individuals even ate some snacks in the classrooms, but neglected to take the bigger items like televisions and cassette players. She says they're working with the Maintenance Division to install deadbolt locks on the doors for protection.

In the meantime, at M.U. Lujan Elementary School, the culprits broke into the main office. Principal Daisy Ramirez says she doesn't know what to do anymore since they along with St. Francis Catholic School are targeted on a regular basis. This time around, she says the individuals used knives and a hammer to break in only to steal some snacks.

"Every week we have a break-in," she said, adding, "[it should be] an eye-opener to the community. I did request at the PTO meeting that they assist us as a neighborhood watch, to watch out community school. Because this is for the kids, not just us alone. We need the community to help us out."

DOE deputy superintendent for finance Taling Taitano says they're working with the Governor's Office and the Guam Police Department on the matter. In addition, they're hoping to establish the Community Watch Program, noting, "I think this just isn't a DOE problem, but it's a community problem. We would ask that the community work together to help us to resolve this issue.

"It's my understanding that the governor has put together a task force with Vince Leon Guerrero (education liaison) and Dr. Nerissa Underwood to tackle vandalism in our schools."

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