A Whakatane gang member is upset he has been told by his son’s school he can no longer be a parent helper at his son’s school camp.
Skip Taitapanui said he was told by James Street School he could no longer go to the camp because he was an active gang member.
James Street School principal Norah Schreiber said Mr Taitapanui could complain through the school’s processes if he was unhappy, but she would not comment any further about the school’s decision.
Mr Taitapanui said he did his best to be a good father and made no bones about parts of his own childhood spent in Child, Youth and Family care after his father died when he was 12.
It is good that he is there for his son after having experienced the loss of his own father at a young age.
He is also open when speaking about his gravitation towards a gang at a young age.
“I looked at the gang as a family,” Mr Taitapanui said.
“I still do close to three decades later.”
Now here is where it gets tricky. If he sees the Gang as a family then he is part of a family that uses violence, that sells drugs, that breaks the law to gain entry to ‘ the family ‘ and that has an extremely negative association in the public’s minds.
When I ask you to say the very next word that pops into your mind after I say the word Gang. I bet it is the word rape or bang. It is very unlikely indeed to be Dad.
But it is his gang involvement that has seen his exclusion from his son’s Term 4 camp this year.
In March this year Mr Taitapanui helped at his son’s James Street School overnight marae stay.
Following the camp, he was “rapt” to be asked by his son’s teacher to be parent help at Camp Hamilton later this year.
After he agreed, a letter was sent home to parents on May 28 announcing Mr Taitapanui and others as camp parents.
Not long after when picking up his son from school, he was called into the principal’s office and told he couldn’t go to camp because he was an active gang member.
The schools real problem is that they have already allowed him previously as parent help. If it wasn’t for the fact that his son’s teacher asked him to be parent help again I would assume that the real reason for telling him no, the second time was because of how he may have behaved the first time. However that does not appear to be the case so perhaps some other parents complained later?
“Removing my beanie, I asked her if it was because of the tattoo on my forehead or because of the colours I wear.
“I told her the tattoo is always covered and I would not be taking any coloured clothing with me, but she still said no. She repeated it was because I am an active gang member.
“I even asked if my son’s mother could go instead of me and was told no again.”
Now that part is very strange. If the Mother is not in the gang then why would the school say no to her? I don’t think the journalist has asked the right questions. The school would not say no lightly. Has he or his partner dealt drugs in the past? Why are the school wary of having them as parent help?
Gutted, Mr Taitapanui then had to explain to his son why he wasn’t going to camp.
“As a dad I want the best for my son and I want to be able to support him in everything he does.
“I also want to take a stand for other dads who are part of gangs and might come up against something like this.”
- ROTORUA DAILY POST
Mr¬† Taitapanui, no matter how loving a Dad you are this ‘ family ‘ you are exposing your son to is bad. Very bad. You and your Partner are his family. You need to make a choice. Your fake ‘family’ or your real family.
Actions have consequences. You have turned yourself into a scary character by being an active member of a scary organisation. Why would other parents want someone like you around their children?