DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 March) – Fr. Joel S. Tabora, Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) president, said they are considering to file complaints against a parent who threatened a teacher for giving his child a low grade and maintained that parental bullying has no place in the university.
“The ADDU is a Safe Zone not only for its students, but also for its teachers who ought to be able to teach and give out grades accordingly, free from intimidation and threats from parents or any related persons or personalities,” Tabora said in a statement released on Thursday.
But Tabora denied an earlier report that a gun was used in the incident after they reviewed the security footage and conducted interviews. Schools are regarded as safe zones of peace, prohibiting weapons inside the campuses, he said.
“Social media posts and articles recently magnified an incident involving a parent and his companions and bodyguards, on the one hand, and our college teachers and administrators, on the other hand, pertaining to a student’s grade, without any regard for the confusion, fear, and anger the social media posts may have generated in the ADDU Community and in the public in general,” he added.
He said it is imperative for an educational institution and its community to be more vigilant in ascertaining and disseminating only what is true and rejecting what is false or misleading.
Tabora maintained that even without a weapon, the remarks of the parent, who is a lawyer and a public official, were reprehensible and intimidating that ADDU takes seriously about.
He said the parent appeared in the school accompanied with relatives and bodyguards, “brandishing statements like ‘we are a family of lawyers and killers!’ or ‘we can take down the school.”
“The incident, however, was nonetheless reprehensible insofar as statements were made that were clearly intended to intimidate and where no actual gun at hand was necessary to be intimidating. These statements have legal consequences the party/ies affected are currently looking into,” he said.
The school president did not mention the name of the public official, “who is expected to be an exemplar for the rest of society, and whose public office is not to be regarded as license to strong-arm teachers into doing what the public servant demands.”
Tabora said that as a lawyer, the parent’s public display of arrogant intimidation deserves sanctions as it runs counter to the Lawyer’s Oath. He stressed that “parental bullying based on public office or on one’s legal profession has no place at ADDU nor in any school, public or private, in the Philippines.”
He said that the school has existing mechanisms for students so that they could express their concerns, this being a school policy in order to hear their side before an appropriate body as part of the school’s formative aspect to train them to be self-reliant and independent young adults.
“Parents who intervene on their child’s behalf (no matter how noble their intentions) are often reminded of this as their intervention may only detract from the objective of teaching a child how to stand on his/her own two feet,” Tabora added.
But the school, he pointed out, nonetheless provides parents an opportunity to air their concerns, and they continue to hold dialogues with parents as long as “these are done in a respectful and calm manner with the aim of trying to look at what is in the best interest and welfare of the student.”
“Once in a while though, our teachers and administrators face extraordinary circumstances that deserve to be brought to the attention of the public — to send the message that this institution and its personnel will not cower in the face of bullies,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)