Police called to school after incident with upset parent
by Nick Delgado
Guam - It was an all-around emotional day at Untalan Middle School on Wednesday afternoon, not just for a parent whose child had been bullied, but also for some teachers and staff who were at the school when the victims' parent came to the campus.
According to witnesses at UMS - who asked that we not reveal their identities - at around three o'clock Wednesday an upset parent allegedly rushed on to the school's Tiyan campus upset that his daughter had been bullied, something they claim was not to reported to them immediately and were surprised when he showed-up. One witness recalled, "I heard a loud outraged parent slamming the counter, cussing. I ran out to see two other staff what was going on. He was just cussing, 'Find me the f*cking school aide who said my daughter can't come here. My daughter is being bullied!'"
According to witnesses, the parent was so aggressive they had to clear students who were in the office as a safety precaution. They tried to calm him down and called the police, and Airport Police officers soon arrived. One recollection said, "Yes, he said by punu hao, meaning 'I'll kill you. I'll show that kid what bullying is all about. I'll bully him, just about every student that walked in he approached are you the one that's f*cking bullying my daughter? I'm going kill someone!' He was pacing back and forth. We grabbed the students and took them away from the situation at the same time 911 was called. We were just waiting, feared for our life."
What happened yesterday afternoon made its way to Guam Legislature this morning, where Republican senator Mana Silva Taijeron told her side of the story - evidently the upset parent that visited the campus was her husband Phil Taijeron, a major at the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency. Today's hearing was about bullying and school safety.
Senator Taijeron questioned the Department of Education representatives and other stakeholders about protocols and described how her daughter was actually stepping into help a friend who was being bullied, but in turn her daughter was bullied herself. "When we went to address the situation with the school," the freshman policymaker said, "the school was more concerned with my husband, who was upset obviously. What parent would go and be frantic about what's going on with their child crying, calling him? And so he rushes to the school the school gives him no answers. And they're more concerned with how my husband was upset, as opposed to what was being done to ensure my child was safe."
Senator Taijeron continued, "As soon as my husband saw that my daughter was okay, his nerves were calmed down. So I guess my question is how do you ensure that the ambassador doesn't end up getting bullied? And then how do you deal with parents? Do you have a counselor who comes to their direct attention?"
DOE is currently investigating the incident as well as concerns that were raised by staff. DOE Deputy superintendent Robert Malay, when asked whether the parent drove recklessly onto the campus, said, "There is an indication he was trying to get the school as quickly as he could which could have involved getting onto the campus at a speed higher than we would want anybody driving on any school campus."
When asked if the parent made any threats to students or staff, he replied, "There is an indication that there was questions being asked, but there were a lot of reports and I haven't seen any reports that indicated any type of threat whatsoever.
"Being a parent myself, when it involves your children you are going to be concerned and of course sometimes emotions get the better of you and you can become a little upset. And so the school staff was airing on the side of caution and being extra safe to make sure the safety of all students and not just that particular child."
As for the individuals KUAM News spoke with, they've taken it one step further and are seeking assistance from the Attorney General's Office. As a matter of fact, they visited the agency today concerned about why the high-ranking Customs officer was not arrested. One said, "As an individual I was scared, and I'm still sacred. And to be told now that nothing can be done because he's a major, high-ranking in Customs. I'm sorry, but as citizens of Guam I feel it's wrong to tell an individual who was terrorized by this parent and Airport Police arrived and I had mentioned that he needed to be removed he again went pointing at my face 'Who do you think you are?' in Chamorro. Then I got scared because he started lifting up his hands, saying 'You going to arrest me?'"
According to the witnesses they say that the AG's Office received the reports from Airport Police and are moving forward with the investigation.
Airport Police Chief Bob Camacho confirms two of his officers responded to UMS yesterday afternoon. He says they removed Phil Taijeron from the premises. When asked why he wasn't arrested, Camacho says its protocol that before Airport Police officers make "any" arrests they call the Attorney General's Office and in this case they were told to refer for possible indictment. He adds the incident remains under investigation.
Customs director Pedro Leon Guerrero refused to comment on the matter.