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Harassment filed against Southern principal

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Department of Education is wrapping-up its investigation surrounding harassment allegations made by a student and a parent against the principal of Southern High School. 

"There's a lot of students that want me to do a petition for him, and teachers and so on. I really want him out," said Gene Quinata, an 11th grade Southern High student. He and his mother, Jeanette Quinata, filed a harassment complaint with the Guam Police Department and the Department of Education against principal James Petite. Quinata alleges Petite and other school staff are blaming him for calling the DOE Central Office, informing them of alleged illegal drug activity happening at the Santa Rita campus. 

"He was accusing me for making an anonymous call to the Governor's Office and the Superintendent's Office about - 9,000 - illegal movements being done on campus and I said I don't know nothing about this," said Gene. "I almost cried when he talked to me about his drug papers, I didn't know what was going on I was scared I didn't even want to come back to school, I just wanted to get out. Me walking in the hallway all the administrators and staff are looking at me." Jeanette added, "He felt intimidated," with her son continuing, "They were all shaking there heads at what's going on and so we made a complaint."

However, Petite denies the allegations made against him, saying, "There's no truth to that - I actually had an assistant principal in here with me that will validate that." The principal added, "At no time was I ever belligerent to that student, when I saw him in the hallway I said Gene you need to get to my office, we need to talk about something, I have an issue that we need to talk about."

Petite says he also had the allegations of drugs at his school addressed immediately, and that he only questioned Quinata after learning the call to Central Office was made from his mother's phone. Quinata denies making any calls about the drug allegations. "I instructed the three other people that were named, including myself, to go take (drug) tests and they all came back negative," Petite said.

Jeanette even came to the school today to shadow gene, but was denied access on to the campus after school administrators said she allegedly spilled chemical on a janitorial worker some time ago, as well as was belligerent to staff the day her son was called into the office. Petite confirms a pair of harassment complaints has been filed against the parent.

"There's a hidden agenda here but it's a personnel issue that I can't talk about because there is something that is going on right now that needs to resolve itself," said Petite. "I'm just concerned that she can't control herself and obviously with the situation we are seeing it for what it is."

DOE Deputy Superintendent Arlene Unpingco says the investigation is nearly complete, adding the priority is to ensure the student is taken care of and back in the classroom. "If the students' safety is compromised or will be compromised then it is our responsibility to ensure that there is a plan but in this case the students safety relative to what the parent has alleged is not in any way compromised," she told KUAM News.

While Unpingco says the superintendent will make the final decision once the investigation is done, Jeanette has a recommendation of her own on what the management team should do with the principal so that her son can return to class without any fear. "Detail him somewhere are you guys going to be liable for my son's injury, I mean we're talking about safety here," she said.

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