Sanchez High community meets with AG - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Sanchez High community meets with AG

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - The island's regulatory agencies may have deemed Simon Sanchez High School "structurally sound", but that's not enough for students who continue to express concerns for their health and safety at the Yigo campus.

Sanchez senior Mariel Villaluz isn't convinced. Despite an inspection by all the island's regulatory agencies that deemed the Home of the Sharks to be fit for island education, she wants more to be done.

Following the inspections over the weekend, Villaluz contends regulatory agencies failed to do a thorough review of the school. After all, they missed a classroom missing a big chunk of flooring. "There was this one classroom that has a hole in the ground. So we went check. We thought it was just a small hole, but it was actually a really deep hole. And they said they inspected it so we were kind of suspicious about that," she said.

Late this afternoon, Villaluz along with other SSHS stakeholders met with Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas who over the weekend, also expressed his disappointment.

In a letter addressed to SSHS teacher Gretchen Andres, he states he attended Saturday's inspection to find that it was merely an assessment.

But what's the difference?

Unlike an inspection, an assessment doesn't result in a letter grade therefore no justification to close the school since violations were not counted. "We're here to prove to him that there's more than what they inspected and what we see everyday," he said.

As we reported yesterday, SSHS parent and Omega Safety Compliance Asia Pacific president and chief safety manager Bill Shippey questions the credibility of the GovGuam employees who conducted the weekend's inspections saying they merely eyeballed the campus.

Back in 2001 he inspected the school and noted a stress test was needed on the second floor, which appeared to have recessed back.

Noting that the test was never conducted, he questions "how can it be bad then and 12 years later, good to go?"

Although KUAM wasn't allowed in this afternoon's meet between SSHS and Rapadas, he will brief the media Wednesday morning on his position on the school.

Students at sanchez high may not be convinced their school is safe, but Adelup reacts saying inspectors would have shut down the school had they found serious safety or sanitary violations, even if they weren't grading the inspections.

According to Governor Eddie Calvo's director of communications Troy Torres, the assessment was conducted over four days by professionals. He says, "I'm not aware the AG's Office has equal or better engineers, fire inspectors, environmental experts, and sanitary officials on their payroll."

He adds, "It is ridiculous to shut down the school if the experts find that it's structurally safe and smaller repairs are being made to make the school safer and cleaner."

Meanwhile, the Governor's Office continues to work with superintendent Jon Fernandez to fix the problems with doe maintenance actively fixing the issues pointed out by inspectors over the weekend.

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