Parents allege emotional abuse in public schools - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Parents allege emotional abuse in public schools

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Department of Education also dealing with a growing problem of allegations of child abuse in the schools by doe personnel. It's a problem Child Protective Services feels the education system needs to fix, fast.

"There have been a couple of parents who have voiced concern about how members of faculty or staff address children and those concerns are always taken very seriously," said Robert Malay, deputy superintendent for educational support and community learning for the Department of Education. It's concerns that parents tell KUAM News continues to be a problem in their children's schools. DOE school aides allegedly making aggressive remarks towards students from the elementary level on up.

Although Malay is the current doe deputy superintendent could not confirm or deny if any recent incidences occurred, he admits it's a problem he's had to handle when he was principal at Machanaonao Elementary. He said the core issue was "Basically how we speak to children is a big concern for us, because if we want children to respond accordingly we don't want to be yelling at them, we have to actually act as the adult."

Bureau of Social Services administrator Lydia Tenorio says the inappropriate remarks are what CPS refers to as "emotional abuse", saying, "Making the child feel not confident about themselves and just a lot of put downs and usually that involves a lot of criticizing to the child and just not being well appropriate...when we become angry we got to take a step back and just don't say things that we are going to regret."

Tenorio confirms there have been referrals from the Guam Police about suspected abuse in the public schools. "I think that's what happening with the aides and I think what I'm hearing is that the aides in the schools, because of the high demand and not enough aides to meet the ratio of the students that they just go in there and don't get the proper training.," she said. "It could be an employee who is not having a good day and there are circumstances outside of the school that have been brought into the school and instead of handling it professionally and show respect towards the child they might make off the cuff comments that are just not very conducive to a learning environment."

Malay does say they take the issue seriously. He says school aides do undergo annual training on how to treat students, and he says that's to treat them like the customers. DOE  

DOE urges anyone who suspects abuse in the schools to report it immediately to the school administrator or the superintendent's office.

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