Breakins, bullying discussed at roundtable
by Krystal Paco
Guam - Are the island's schools really safe? At today's roundtable hearing, various stakeholders looked into the statistics for school breakins and bullying and what programs are being introduced to keep the peace on campus.
Five school resource officers now patrol the hallways of the island's public high schools, but they aren't enough to keep school grounds safe, especially after hours. According to DOE student support acting administrator Doris Bukikosa, there were a total of104 breakins last school year: 43 at elementaries, 25 at middle schools, 35 at high schools, and 1 at the island's alternative school. Already 54 breakins have been reported for this school year: 30 at elementaries, 18 at middle schools, and 6 at the high schools, all of which occurred outside the school day.
According to Speaker Judi Won Pat, the proof is in the numbers, saying, "When the police were there they had mentioned also their own data showing that a lot of these vandalisms and breakins were actually taking place in the wee hours."
Although schools like Vicente Benavante Middle School and M.U. Lujan Elementary School now use surveillance equipment, vandals continue to hit unmonitored areas of the campus. Won pat says she along with Senator Adolpho Palacios are looking into readily available resources, like expanding the duties of cape volunteers and pulling on volunteer retired police officers to help apprehend vandals.
He said, "There has to be a consorted effort the school has to do whatever it has to do to make sure it's secure and safe. We have to make sure that school officials address whatever disciplinary problems are occurring with their children and then we have the SROs and then were going to take it farther with CAPE and the police reserves, it has to be a total effort by everyone in order to make this happen but what we really need to do is we have to let the data run the programs in terms of what it is we have to do."
DOE student support records have also crunched the numbers when it comes to disciplinary data. For SY2010-2011, there were 6 harassment/bullying cases, 9 cyberbullying, 54 extortion cases, and 84 obscene gestures/pictures/drawings cases. In an effort to combat bullying, the Judiciary of Guam teamed up with doe last year to establish "BASTA" or Bullying Affects Students Teachers and All, but the battle with bullying has become even more difficult with the addition of cyberbullying.