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School officials nab more contraband

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - The island's public schools have been in session for nearly two months now and there's an alarming trend. School officials are reporting that they are confiscating contraband on campuses almost daily.

"Contraband is a very broad term," explained Department of Education deputy superintendent Rob Malay. "It can be anything from drugs to things like permanent market tobacco products alcohol it could be just about anything to that nature, so they're doing a real good job of seeing the signs, the indicators and they're able to catch this before it gets any further." According to Malay, school officials are confiscating contraband at schools around the island almost daily.

He continued, "I think we're seeing a lot more diligence taking place at the school. The school is recognizing and catching this and they're reporting it as they're required to change possession from the school over to the police."

Although most schools enforce a mesh or clear backpack policy, Malay admits, contraband still manages to make it onto school campuses. "See-through backpacks is not the cure-all, but being involved with the student and the child is really going to go a lot further than a see through backpack will," he said.

But the frequency in confiscating contraband may be in large part to a new face on campus. In December school resource officers were hired through an initiative between DOE and the Judiciary of Guam to provide a law enforcement presence at each of the island's five public high schools. "Their presence on the campus and their involvement at the campus might be helping to identify these things and bringing these things to surface," Malay said of the SROs' effectiveness.

Ultimately, he says parents must communicate with their children about what's appropriate to bring to school, not only for their safety but the safety of others. He noted, "It takes a village to raise a child. We really want everyone who's involved in a child's life to pay attention to see what they're leaving the house with what they're going to school with what they're getting on the bus with what they're getting in the car with and be on top of it."

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