Jan 15, 2016 6:11 PM

UPDATE: Hampstead parents react to elected official's comments about shooting children


HAMPSTEAD - Parents in Hampstead are appalled by comments made by a Budget Committee member at a meeting.

Budget Committee Chairman Jorge Mesa-Tejada made a controversial statement during a meeting on Jan. 14 when they were discussing the need for modular classrooms.

"But based on my Marine Corps training, if I wanted to bring you harm, I wouldn't do it when they were going from the portables to the main building. I would wait 'til recess. I would hide in ... woods behind them, and I'd have a field day," Mesa-Tejada said about the possible dangers of walking from a portable classroom to the school.

Parents say had their children made a similar comment at school, there would be big consequences.

"He would be kicked out of school so fast and the school would be shut down," said Nicki O'Donnell, a mother with two children at Hampstead Central.

"As a parent, I was shaking I was so angry that someone would think that this was an appropriate thing to say," said Caitlin Parnell, also a Hampstead Central mother.

Others are upset no one stopped him or had anything to say about it.

"No other board members stood up and said 'What you are saying is wrong,' and that's how bullies get away with things," said Suzanne Finocchiaro, a mother whose children once went to Hampstead Central.

School officials are taking this matter seriously, they released a statement saying in part:

"First and foremost, we wish to state that the School Board and district administrators have a long established commitment and responsibility to the safety and well-being of our students and staff members.

Second, we take seriously these offensive and disgusting statements made by Mr. Mesa-Tejada and wholeheartedly denounce his behavior and blatant display of disregard for our children and their safety. Additionally we call into question his fitness to serve in any town official capacity.

Providing a safe and welcoming school environment for our students and staff is a priority and we are committed to this endeavor. We would like to reassure concerned students, parents, teachers, and staff members that we will continue to do everything within our power to ensure our schools are safe."

The Superintendent reached out to the police department who served Mr. Mesa-Tejada with a no trespass order, banning him from all school property. They say it will be up to the town to determine what will happen with his position.

Mesa-Tejada tells NH1 News he has "no comment."


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