Woman dies after officer-involved shooting in Henrico

Elementary school teacher fired for taking on bullies calling student ‘n-word,’ monkey

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz.  — An Arizona teacher says she lost her job over breaking up a bullying situation. Now that teacher is fighting back. Not in the classroom, but in the court of public opinion, and perhaps eventually a courtroom.

Nine-year-old Malacai Washington describes his days at Fountain Hills’ Four Peaks Elementary School as “hell on earth.” Malacai says he was bullied and taunted with racial slurs, including the n-word on an almost daily basis.

“And also, they called me monkey because I have big ears,” says Malacai.

Malacai Washington

Malacai Washington

KTVK reports that the situation came to a head earlier this year when Malacai’s teacher, Pam Aister, says she saw five boys surrounding Malacai, and she knew she had to intervene.

“I said to them, he’s in my room now. He had transferred into my room. He’s in my room now. He’s not alone. If you are picking on him you are picking on me,” says Aister.

A parent later complained that Aister had threatened her child. And several weeks ago, the Fountain Hills School District decided that there was no bullying or racial taunting, and fired the 70-year-old teacher with 35 years in the classroom.

KTVK asked Aister whether she threatened any children.

“I did not threaten them,” says Aister. “I did not touch them. I never threatened them.”

Pam Aister

Pam Aister

Aister is now represented by civil rights lawyer Benjamin Taylor. And community activist Rev. Jarrett Maupin is filing complaints with everyone from Arizona lawmakers to the U.S. Department of Education.

“You’ve got two victims here,” says Maupin. “You have Malacai, who has been victimized and had to move to the Creighton School District, and you’ve got Ms. Aister who can no longer practice her passion.”

The Fountain Hills School District would not comment on camera Tuesday about this issue.

Meantime, supporters of Aister and young Malacai say they are now exploring their options.

“The Fountain Hills School District does not belong to two or three parents who are disgruntled because someone finally called attention to the fact that they have children who behave badly,” says Maupin.

37 comments

      • Kw

        Race obviously plays a role since he was being bullied for being black. And unfortunately plays a role in everyday situations around the country. People don’t like people who are different, be it race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. We don’t need to teach our children tolerance. We need to teach acceptance and love for everyone.

      • Phillip Perry

        For some reason I think the teacher being fired had something to do with her age. Because she didn’t do anything to cause her to get fired. If she did threaten students like they say she did, with 35 yrs in the school system they would’ve more than likely sat her down in the office and say “hey you did xyz and we have to let you go but instead we are going to give you the option of retirement first. You choose.” The school district more than likely didn’t want to pay her retirement…ijs

      • Paula

        Sam you are the one living in stone age if you don’t believe that race DID play a part. You must be racist also.

      • sw

        really ISO…don’t correct someone when you really don’t know what you are talking about. The way that Sam used the word it was supposed to be You’re as in You are not too wise. If he had said your opinion isn’t wise that would be a different story. As to SAM this has everything to do with race. To others, it has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat. Both parties have their problems so stop making it something it is not and stop stirring the pot for the next election. This is a human issue not a political one.

  • Blackbeered

    Bravo lady.

    Bravo lawyer [did I really say that?] ““The Fountain Hills School District does not belong to two or three parents who are disgruntled because someone finally called attention to the fact that they have children who behave badly,” says Maupin.” Perfectly stated.

    Hope the school district loses a huge suit; unfortunately, the parents will go unpunished [in court].

  • Linda Maroney

    Bullying takes many forms, sometimes it can be subtle and build into vicious taunts but it does exist and it should be stopped. Kids can be very mean but they can be taught love and compassion, if the parents can’t or will not teach their children then it falls to the teacher. This teacher saw a child that needed her help and she gave it. Why is she being punished for doing her job, the kids needed to understand how hurtful their words and taunts were. This is why there are problems in schools today, this is why teachers are afraid to discipline kids, 35 years down the drain because she defended a child.

    • VaGlockGirl

      Well said and perfectly answered Linda! I agree 100%.
      This woman did NOTHING WRONG. And rest assured the parents complaining are the bullying kids parents.
      Ridiculous!

  • Shaunee

    Exactly, its all because this child is black had he have been white it wouldve been a different story. Sad but true. I feel sorry for both the child and the teacher.

      • Lawrence

        You get out of the stone ages. Wiseman and Shaunee are absolutely right. Now that the kid is black race is not the issue?? Get the phuck outta here with that bull shyt. You know it’s about race

      • Paula

        Sam you are the one in stone age if you really don’t believe that it IS about race. The principal and the whole school committee is racist. I glad the parents is fighting for the teacher. They need to get rid of the principal and those bullies.

  • Matt Ellen

    Good for her for sticking up for this child. Kids are such d**ks. No respect at all, and that falls on the parents or parent. Wake up America, something has to be done or it will just get worse.

  • Jenniefer

    Why are we so focused on race? It doesn’t matter that the child is black it matters that a child was being tortured by other children and a teacher lost her job for defending that child. I was viciously bullied in school (and just for the record I am white) and nothing was ever done about it. As a matter of fact the teachers at my school participated in the bullying. I say good for the teacher! Someone needs to stand up and help stop bullying. I say she deserves an award, her job back, money for time lost while being fired, money for being fired period, and a public apology from the school leaders. I also think that poor boy should get paid for pain and suffering and his parents should be reimbursed for being forced to transfer their child and they are also owed a public apology. That’s just how I feel about it all.

    • Shaunee

      Trust me Jennifer…..this has EVERYTHING to do with race lady. If the boy was white she wouldve still had her job. Racism still exist wether you know it or not.

    • Vickie

      It has to do with race because that was why this child was being bullied. I don’t understand how people can read an article like this and still try the whole “It has nothing to do with race!” speech. It’s very true that bullying is not a race exclusive thing that children (and adults!) go through, but for this specific case it very much has to do with race. It’s okay to acknowledge that racism is still a thing in the world without being racist yourself.

  • Shaunee

    Trust me Jennifer…..this has EVERYTHING to do with race lady. If the boy was white she wouldve still had her job. Racism still exist wether you know it or not.

  • Jen

    This is the second example I’ve read today of everyone having to pussy-foot around the rights of criminals (or in this case, “pre-criminals”) at the expense of the victim and those trying to help.

    • JB

      The context and intent, in which certain words are used, matters… So, there is your break. How old are you? Because even a toddler understands that basic concept.

  • Sandra Campbell

    GIVE THIS WOMAN THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD! I love the fact that she didn’t allow race to interfer with her judgement to do the right thing. More teachers or should I say baby sitter should follow her lead or I’m sorry I did say guts!

  • Sharon Creery Escalante

    I intend to act. I am appalled that when this woman was doing something constructive to prevent further bullying, she was penalized for it and fired. I’m going to write the school board of this local, and copy supervisory institutions relaying what I feel is a disgrace. The boy has no one in his corner now … and the school is denying he has been targeted. Common sense would tell one that the ONLY reason the teacher would make such a statement as she did the children, would be due to the fact that the child was being bullied. I hope this one really hits the ceiling for the ignorant school board.

  • Sam

    UM…DID ANYONE ACTUALLY SAY THAT THE CHILDREN DOING THE BULLYING WERE WHITE OR BLACK? NO – AND IT’S DOESN’T MATTER!!! WHITE OR BLACK THEY WERE STILL BULLYING ANOTHER CHILD!
    I am White and was bullied by Blacks in my school growing up – so it goes both ways!
    I applaud the teacher! She did not do anything wrong!!

  • samantha

    its about the child being bullied in school and the teacher stepped in to help him and show him hes not alone..its not bc hes black..so people get over ur self with saying its bc he black..for real everyone has bullies in there own way…the parents and schools need to open there eyes..and see there r some kids that wil never learn bc there parents dont do nothing about it and for the school to fire a teacher for helping this young men then they all need a eye opener too…

  • Nan Hutchins

    So a few parents complain and a teacher looses her job…that is BS! This teacher should be teacher of the year! The parents should step up to the plate and listen to what their “little darlings” are actually doing in school, Bulling other chldren! I am so happy that this teacher had the courage to step up and helped Malacai.

  • Phillip Perry

    For some reason I think the teacher being fired had something to do with her age. Because she didn’t do anything to cause her to get fired. If she did threaten students like they say she did, with 35 yrs in the school system they would’ve more than likely sat her down in the office and say “hey you did xyz and we have to let you go but instead we are going to give you the option of retirement first. You choose.” The school district more than likely didn’t want to pay her retirement…ijs

  • FedUpCitizen

    sw
    Face reality the pots already stirred for the next election; haven’t you been watching TV. Fact of the matter is racism, bullying and almost anything else evil is ubiquitous in our society today. We just have to find a way to replace all of life’s evil with love….

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.