Principal defends need for armed SROs on campus - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Principal defends need for armed SROs on campus

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - George Washington High School Discipline Principal Gaylene Cruz isn't holding back how she feels about school resource officers being allowed to pack heat on campus. "We're not going to sugar coat it: parents have got to understand that the SROs are not here to harm their children," she explained.

"Schools are different now it's not our simple come to school and have your typical fights anymore," she added. "We are dealing with things such as weapons on campus, alcoholism, drugs - major, major gang issues...we have situations where we have drunks or people under the influence of alcohol just outside our gate wanting to get inside our gate." As a school administrator, Cruz sees the dangers on campus firsthand, like the 8.5" knife removed from a student last week.

With the Guam Police Department being short-staffed, Cruz welcomes an armed SRO to her campus. "People have to see beyond just the word 'gun on campus' - we've sent out a frenzy just on that term, but technically it's a law enforcement officer they're very well trained. In fact, I think they have more training than GPD because they've gone the court systems the probation systems and all kinds of different trainings. I sure will feel safe having them here, especially if we have a shortage of school aides," she defended.

Since the start of the year, the campus has had its share of dangerous situations. In September the school was placed under Code Red after victims of a triple-homicide in Harmon were linked to relatives at the school. "Yes, we've had to call Homeland Security also GPD to get assistance because we don't have the manpower should there be a large situation. We're not talking about our students on campus, we're talking about outsiders wanting to come in. And so that was our concern and that was the Code Red," Cruz stated.

And Cruz isn't the only high school principal who supports having an armed SRO. Southern High's James Pettite also supports the idea. The SROs will be sworn-in on Friday and begin their assignments at the island's high schools on January 3. The final decision on whether they will be allowed to carry a gun lies with Supreme Court of Guam Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido.

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