GW community won't sit back much longer - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GW community won't sit back much longer

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - It's been a decade of overcrowding at George Washington High School and after years of seeing other schools get their issues addressed, the GW community won't sit back much longer.

For parents like John Wusstig, a school with a 2,600 student population leaves him feeling anxious.

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas today, Wusstig who serves as the George Washington High School Parent Teacher Student Association president, invites the AG to visit the school for himself to see just how crowded the hallways can get.

And according to DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez, the overcrowded Mangilao campus has posed safety issues.

Week by week, KUAM News has observed a stronger Guam Police Department presence on campus, evident by assault cases reported on the police blotter.

"It's when an incident occurs that it really comes to light. When there's a fight or a riot that happens because all these kids are out there at the same time, and we don't have enough staff to manage them all during the same period, that becomes a challenge," said Fernandez.

Although Fernandez recalls temporary relief for the GW population last year when they underwent double-session to accommodate stem renovations, that's not the case this year.

"So last year and this year we both noticed, the board and I, looking at enrollment numbers we're managing a school that's close to 2,700 students each year. Last year it wasn't so evident because we did a double session the first half of the year but when we brought all the kids back on campus after the construction was completed, we saw a lot of issues happen because of the crowding. And so those were either fights at the school or just difficulty managing the population," he said.

Hoping to alleviate the school population, Fernandez expressed interest in GovGuam's option to purchase Tiyan to convert into a central high school. But the clock is ticking as this option runs on a deadline of December 31.  As we've been reporting, the lease agreement is currently under review at the AG's Office.

Also in his letter, Wusstig asks the AG act fast on reviewing the lease agreement as every day, he's concerned for his child's safety.

Meanwhile, GW is also circulating a petition restating the overcrowding situation and need for GovGuam to purchase Tiyan to lessen overcrowding.

Should Tiyan open as a central high school, the GW population could be relieved to under 2,000 - what Fernandez says is a more manageable number.

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