Dededo school hit hard by vandals - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Dededo school hit hard by vandals

by Krystal Paco

Guam - Evidently it'll take more than dozens of security cameras to deter crime on campus. While the Department of Education was celebrating the smooth of opening of the temporary Untalan Middle School campus at Tiyan, in Dededo a middle school was cleaning up after vandals broke into their campus - despite having installed surveillance equipment.

$4,000 worth of security cameras couldn't keep vandals from hitting Vicente Benavente Middle School. According to principal Dexter Fullo, staff arrived to the Dededo campus Tuesday morning and discovered fourteen fast track classrooms trashed, marking the seventh and worst break-in since classes started in August. "It was a vindictive act with graffiti and foul language graffittied across the rooms," he detailed. "Paint was thrown around and books were trashed."

Fullo says the school's parent teacher organization worked to fundraise and install the preventative equipment throughout the school's main building but despite efforts, vandals avoided all cameras. He continued, "Unfortunately, the culprits that did this were able to avoid all the cameras so it happened in the areas where the cameras were not present."

"It definitely takes more than security cameras; it's a whole community issue we can always put more cameras but right now we don't have the funding. In the next year or so, but really we need to have our students and our kids take ownership of this school. That's the only way this whole vandalism can be addressed," said Fullo.

School resource officers were sworn-in last month to help combat crimes on campus, but according to DOE interim superintendent Taling Taitano, they're stilling awaiting the final approval from USDOE before they can start their assignments at the island's five public high schools.

In the meantime, Speaker Judi Won Pat has introduced Bill 412, which would enable the Guam Police Department and the DOE superintendent to recruit unarmed community assisted policing effort volunteers to patrol schools after hours. "It's not 100% foolproof, but definitely would help take the incident with the recent break-in at Benavente Middle School. It just so happens they went and ransacked classrooms that didn't have the alarm system, and that's not a guarantee either," said the speaker.

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