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Cebu Int’l School: We want the truth

/ 07:40 AM September 22, 2012

CEBU International School said it is practicing “transparency” in its investigation of the Sept. 12 drowning of two students and would make an official statement about it after results are submitted to its Board of Trustees.

In a notice posted yesterday on its website, the private school said an “independent” investigation started Sept. 17 and is “determined to get to the truth based on factual data that is supported by evidence”

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Grade 8 students Kyle Julian Gullas Weckman and Korean national Jae Hak “James” Jung drowned when they swam in the Kaurikan Waterfalls with other students, a side trip during a school field trip to Morong, Bataan.

Mariano “Mimo” Osmeña who heads the investigation commttee earier said results would be submttted today in a meeting of the CIS Board of Trustees, where he is the corporate secretary.

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The school promised to release another statement afterward.

“While the commitee (and the school) has been pressured to ‘rush’ the investigation, the school has committed to ensuring that there is a thorough process that is being undertaken,” it said.

Members of the investigation committee are Derek Arculli, Hye Jin Kwak (President of the Korean community at CIS), Susie Milne of the CIS Parent Teacher Association, corporation lawyer May Aguilar and Jenny Basa, CIS dean of student services.

Unlike previous website statements on the tragedy, the name of Superintendent Deirdre Fischer was not cited at the bottom of the most recent statement. Fischer is the outgoing CIS superintendent and the selection process for her successor was ongoing before the drowning accident based on previous school postings.

In a text message to Cebu Daily News, CIS spokesperson Paula Ruelan asked that the investigation process be “respected.”

“Please understand that we are concerned for our children in school and would like to request that you respect the investigation process we are conducting which we are ensuring to be transparent and thorough and should be done properly,” Ruelan said.

The private school said their prioirity is also “the protection of all our students” as “speculation and conflicting media reports they have been exposed to this week has created anxiety and fear” among them after losing a classmate.

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The school said the students “need support from th adults around them , which includes the wider community.”

Kyle is the 13-year-old grandson of University of the Visayas executive vice president and former congressman Jose “Dodong” Gullas.

The boy’s mother Jackie Gullas Weckman resigned last Wednesday as chairperson of the CIS board of trustees.

Meanwhile, Winston Garcia, whose son was one of the CIS students on the field trip, clarified that he was not among the parents who filed a complaint against CIS teachers.

“I’m not a complainant,” he told Cebu Daily News over the phone.

He referred CDN instead to Rep. Eduardo Gulllas of Cebu’s 1st distirict, who earlier revealed that a complaint was filed by several parents with the Department of Justice and that Garcia was one of those very upset by the tragic outcome of the school activity and was pressing to take legal action.

The DOJ issued a “lookout” order to immigration officials to monitor the possible departure of a CIS teacher, Susan Rigby, whose name appeared in a passenger manifest of Cathay Pacific on a flight to Toronto, Canada via Hong Kong on Sept. 12.

Congressman Gullas earlier clarified that his brother Jose, publihser of The Freeman was not among the complainants.

He said other parents lodged the complaint before Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.

Initial reports said four boys jumped into the Kairukan Waterfalls in barangay Binaritan of Morong, Bataan despite warnings by their local guide.

Two boys were rescued. Kyle and James were later found lifeless under the water. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol and Correspondent Jessa Chrisna Marie J. Agua

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TAGS: Accidents, Cebu International School (CIS), drowning
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