Ateneo de Davao to file complaint vs parent who threatened professor
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) is preparing a complaint against a parent who had threatened a professor who gave his child a low grade.
In a strongly-worded statement on Thursday, March 22, ADDU president Father Joel Tabora SJ called the incident “reprehensible,” more so because the concerned parent is a “public official and a lawyer."
“The ADDU and its affected personnel will be taking the necessary steps and coordinating with the appropriate officials to ensure that complaints will be filed against said public official and lawyer,” said Tabora, without naming the parent.
“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. 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,” Tabora added.
He said as a public official, the parent “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.”
“Especially when said public official is also a member of the Philippine Bar where public displays of arrogant intimidation such as this one, rightfully deserve sanctions as they run contrary to their Lawyer’s Oath,” he said.
An incident report filed with the Sta Ana Police Station showed that the parent is Remlane Tambuang, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Davao regional director.
No to bullies
The ADDU president issued the statement a few days after the incident, which first surfaced in social media posts from a university professor who condemned the incident and said that the parent had threatened his colleague "with a gun.”
Tabora clarified that there “was no gun immediately involved in this incident,” as shown by security footage.
“Schools are regarded as zones of peace and bringing weapons into a campus is strictly forbidden,” he said, adding that the social media posts as well as articles based on them had “muddled” the issue.
People privy to the incident said that the parent was accompanied by “bodyguards,” and reportedly asked one of them to stand beside the professor during the confrontation. The bodyguard reportedly held a clutch bag that appeared to bear a gun, prompting university personnel to alert campus security about what was happening.
Tabora said in his statement that even if the parent did not use a gun to threaten the professor, the parent “clearly intended to intimidate” through the language he used.
“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.
Tabora said that around this time of the year, or as the schoolyear draws to a close, it is common for a student with an “unfavorable grade” or his or her parents to complain to the concerned professor, and request for a reconsideration of grades.
The recent incident however, involved “extraordinary circumstances” that prompted the ADDU to issue an official statement, said Tabora.
“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.
“When a parent accompanied by relatives and body guards comes in brandishing statements like ‘WE ARE A FAMILY OF LAWYERS AND KILLERS!’ or ‘WE CAN TAKE DOWN THIS SCHOOL’ – these are statements the ADDU as a University can only take very seriously as they threaten the safety and security of its personnel,” Tabora added.
Tabora said students who have grievances regarding their grades should avail of existing procedures in the university.
“As a matter of policy, students are expected to present their side personally before said body, as it is part of the formative aspect of an Ateneo education to train them to be self-reliant and independent young adults,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Tabora said even so, “it has become a practice for our College teachers and administrators to provide parents an opportunity to air their concerns.”
“More often than not, a healthy dialogue takes place. We continue to welcome these opportunities to meet and talk with our students’ parents for 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,” he said.
Read the full statement here. – With reports from Mick Basa / Rappler.com