The CNMI Public School System’s Office of Commissioner of Education Dr. Alfred B. Ada is in receipt of a letter from the Office of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, informing them, in particular, of his administration’s legislative priorities, and, one of them is aimed at strengthening the accountability system of CNMI PSS through greater safety to public school students.
In response to the letter, Ada is issuing the following statement on behalf of PSS:
“The CNMI Public School System has a duty to serve and protect each and every individual, including and in particular, the children of this Commonwealth, the largest stakeholders of our public education. We support initiatives that are aimed at improving and complementing the child protection systems and protocols that have been established to safeguard both our children and personnel from all forms of risk, including sexual abuse.
“As such, the school district believes that the intent of Gov. Torres’ proposed legislative initiative is the right way forward: it takes seriously the wellbeing of every student, for them to freely enjoy an environment where respect and inclusion make possible the deepest forms of intellectual, emotional, and character growth.
“As the largest CNMI government instrumentality providing direct services to the single largest segment of our population, this is a welcome support. We have been collaborating with our government and private sector partners in helping us better, improve and toughen our existing students and employee protection systems.
“This partnership is part of our long-term commitment of continually improving educational opportunities to our children, which includes affording them all necessary protections to thrive and grow in a safe learning environment.
“PSS had been investing over the years in aggressive continuing education through regular professional development and training, including tapping nationally-recognized experts to train our staff and personnel; implement ways from meta research from highly-respected education think-tanks that will prevent and stop sexual abuse and violence in all of our public schools on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
“Our students are also provided with support systems in preventing and reporting abuses. We have highly-trained professionals leading our emotional-and-trauma support system available in all of our elementary, middle and high schools, which we believe is essential and critical for every student’s learning free from fear and or abuses.
“Our public school students are also part in our school district’s aggressive campaign against all forms of abuses through the respective school-based Youth Advisory Panel. Our YAP has become a successful platform for student learning, student leadership and forum in tackling issues that impact student learning.
These investments are part of our CNMI PSS’ stringent student-centered protection, safety, and reporting measures.” (PR)