The Guam Department of Education (GDOE) was recently cited by the federal government for environmental health and safety issues at several Head Start schools in Guam. During a site visit, officials found various operational issues that violated children’s rights, including improper walkways, restrooms in disrepair, unfenced playgrounds, and a lack of staff supervision. GDOE and Head Start officials are taking the violations seriously and have made plans to rectify all issues, including flea infestations in classrooms and fixing restrooms and fencing. The Guam Education Board (GEB) will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure that the rights of the children are protected and that the necessary measures are taken to provide a safe and healthy environment for them. The next GEB meeting will provide an opportunity for officials to report on progress and provide an update on the situation. GEB Vice Chairperson Maria Gutierrez was troubled by the lack of action taken by the schools to address the issues, but with a surplus of $1.2 million available for fencing and added funds to fix the restrooms, there is no reason for the playgrounds to be unfenced and the restrooms to be in disrepair.
Union members are encouraged to file grievances on any unsafe working and learning conditions.