Pickup mix-up: 5 yr. old goes missing after alleged faculty error

Harry S. Truman Elementary School (PNC file photo)

“I was thinking maybe someone took my daughter, maybe she didn’t get on the bus…there was a lot of things running through our minds,” – Chris Tajalle, concerned parent.

Guam – It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: your child’s school calls and your student is nowhere to be found.

For the Tajalle parents, that nightmare was their reality.

“I mean, it’s very disturbing,” said Chris Tajalle. He added, “In my head, I was thinking maybe someone took my daughter, maybe she didn’t get on the bus…there was a lot of things running through our minds.”

Naveah, their eldest daughter, was supposed to be returning home from her first day of kindergarten at Harry S. Truman Elementary School. Only, when a family member got to the bus stop, she was nowhere to be found.

“My brother-in-law had gone up to the bus stop to pick up my daughter. She was nowhere to be found on the bus, nor the bus stop. So, then he had to go home and give us a call and then ask what’s the situation with our daughter?” he recalled.

The relative went back a second time, and still, nothing. It was at this point when Tajalle says they called the school themselves.

“When we talked to the faculty and the staff, they themselves couldn’t find my daughter. They couldn’t locate her. No one knew where my daughter was. Nor let alone where the teacher was. They couldn’t even get a hold of the principal…remember, she’s just a five year old child,” Tajalle said.

By the time they actually found Tajalle’s daughter, it had been a full hour after school had ended. Both the principal and the teacher in question had already left.

But how did the mix-up happen? And why was no one there to monitor the situation or inform the parents?

According to Tajalle, students are identified for either bus pickup or parent pickup based on a tag that they wear; only, his daughter’s tag was somehow misplaced.

“They couldn’t find my daughter’s tag so the teacher stated in front of the principal, ‘I’m sorry, sir. I couldn’t find her tag, so I had to write [it quickly] and assume that she was a pickup.’ She assumed!” he exclaimed.

He continued, “Today, she was traumatized. She literally cried and stated to us that she did not want to go to school, that she does not want to go to class.”

The concerned parents say they have yet to receive a proper apology from either the principal or the teacher in question.

During a meeting this morning, they say the general atmosphere with the faculty was insensitive to the whole situation.

“Up to this time, we have not received a thorough apology from the teacher, not even a thorough explanation,” he said.

And that’s why the concerned parents are speaking up.

“Hopefully, this gets out to all the school systems and make sure that there’s a proper procedure and every one follows that,” Tajalle said.

The principal from Harry S. Truman did not immediately return our calls for comment as of news time.