Debate continues on armed SROs on campus - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Debate continues on armed SROs on campus

by Krystal Paco

Guam - Sparks are flying over whether school resource officers will be armed on campus when they begin their assignments at the island's five public high schools in January. It was earlier this year the Department of Education partnered with the Judiciary of Guam to establish the SRO - a law enforcement officer to keep schools safe, teach the law, and serve as a mentor.

But for Southern High School senior Rocky Topasna, an SRO is unnecessary. Topasna calls the school his second home and believes there's no need for a gun on campus. "I'm totally against having SROs on campus," he said. "We have enough with our aides already and our aides are pretty much are law enforcers here along with our principal, Mr. [James] Petite."

Petite himself disagrees as just last week he confiscated a 9" knife from one of his students. As of today's decision, the student will be transferred to the island's alternative school. "One of the school aides had seen a young man nonchalantly showing it to his peers," Petite explained. "He brought it to school knowing it was against the school rules, so the thing we talked about is what would've happened if someone had gotten a hold of it and was angry. Somebody could have seriously been hurt."

Petite welcomes an armed SRO on his campus, recalling the death of student Jeromy Newby, a victim of school violence back in 2006. Petite says many may contest such law enforcement on school grounds for the wrong reasons. "It's not just some guy sitting in an office waiting to bust some kids with drugs or weapons or something - it's actually going out there to try to prevent them from doing things like this," he said.

According to Department of Youth Affairs statistics, 477 minors were taken into custody in 2010 for reasons including being beyond control, violating court orders, alcohol relation, aggravated assault, and disorderly conduct. 56 were students from Southern High. Petite said, "These kids here, they're wonderful kids yeah they make some bad choices sometimes, but let's just catch them before they do damage. One, to themselves, or somebody else."

The five SROs are set to be sworn in December 16 and begin their assignments at the high schools on January 3. The final decision on whether the SRO will be armed rests in the hands of Supreme Court of Guam Justice F. Philip Carbillido. 

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Students no longer required to use mesh bags

    Students no longer required to use mesh bags

    More than decade later and it's back to the backpacks for the island's public school children. They'll be trending at local middle and high schools next school year, after DOE announces students won't have to wear mesh. It was back in 2005, after a SimonMore >>
    More than decade later and it's back to the backpacks for the island's public school children. They'll be trending at local middle and high schools next school year, after DOE announces students won't have to wear mesh. It was back in 2005, after a Simon More >>
  • Agat, Port Authority take top honors in float/entry competition

    Agat, Port Authority take top honors in float/entry competition

    ?Congrats to the winners of today's Liberation Day Parade float/entry competition! Agat won for Best Village Float, the Port Authority won for Best GovGuam Float, and the Barrigada Municipal Planning Council won for Best non-government/civic/community/nonMore >>
    ?Congrats to the winners of today's Liberation Day Parade float/entry competition! Agat won for Best Village Float, the Port Authority won for Best GovGuam Float, and the Barrigada Municipal Planning Council won for Best non-government/civic/community/nonMore >>
  • Stream the Liberation Day Parade LIVE

    Stream the Liberation Day Parade LIVE

    Happy Liberation Day, Guam! KUAM and our friends at PBS Guam are bringing you coverage of today's parade LIVE from Hagatna. Experience all the amazing village pride, floats, marching units, cultural presentations, community groups and much more on any dev

    More >>

    Happy Liberation Day, Guam! KUAM and our friends at PBS Guam are bringing you coverage of today's parade LIVE from Hagatna. Experience all the amazing village pride, floats, marching units, cultural presentations, community groups and much more on any dev

    More >>
Powered by Frankly