By the time the riot at Tiyan High School was placed under control around noon Tuesday, certain students were left bloodied, two students were transported to Guam Memorial Hospital, and five were taken into custody by the Guam Police Department.
The riot, based on initial information authorities have gathered, started when one student was allegedly drunk with vodka. A student who told on the drunk student was allegedly attacked and the fight snowballed from there.
This isn't the first time drunk students have disrupted Guam public middle and high schools. There have been a number of other similar cases in which students' safety was in danger because of other students' aggressive behavior.
The student resource officers at schools and the school aides who often function as backup security are simply outnumbered by the sheer volume of students and the vast layout of some of our larger public schools. And the Guam Federation of Teachers has noted a shortage of school aides at Guam's schools to help monitor students.
In the case of Tiyan High, the fight happened hours after the school day started. The drunk student had been in school for hours before the fighting erupted.
This brings to light the need for security in schools to change, particularly at the entrances.
At one point, the Guam Department of Education sought financial support for security at schools to discourage would-be burglars or vandals, who often acted at night or over the weekend. What about bringing that security in to assist during the school day to ensure students' safety?
Some of our public schools have too many entry points where students and even strangers can just walk in. There isn't enough of a system in place to spot students and gauge if they reek of alcohol, carry weapons or are behaving erratically – before they enter the campus.
Campuses should be limited to one or two gates where students can be better monitored as they enter – one student at a time. Unloading school busloads of students on campus, and allowing student walkers and car riders to walk in with little – if any – cursory glance from a school aide or school resource officer is simply not enough.
There has to be a way for the Guam Department of Education to improve its system for determining whether each student walking into campus isn't under the influence of alcohol or drugs and isn't a danger to other students.
Many of our public school students attend school with the hope of getting as good an education as possible to improve their lives. The few who are disruptive should not be allowed to enter any school campus, period.
It's GDOE's responsibility to keep problem students out. And it's the Legislature's and the administration's job to provide GDOE with the funding and personnel to do so.