Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools

Workplace bullying is on the rise. About a third of American workers have been impacted by bullying in the workplace, either as a target or as witness to abusive behavior against a co-worker. Unfortunately, it’s even more prevalent in the field of education. In a recent survey of medium-sized school districts, 25 percent of employees reported that they had been bullied. The bullying of teachers has become a serious problem.

A teacher from Augusta, Maine, was so traumatized by her principal and superintendent that she didn’t want her name or school mentioned, but wanted to share her story because she believes the pervasive problem of workplace bullying has gone on unchecked for too long.

“I am sufficiently frightened enough by my former employers to fear that maybe they could still hurt me,” she says. “I need to get a new job but won’t be able to do so if I am unable to receive even one recommendation from an administrator.  I know it and so do they.”

After the Augusta educator resisted being transferred to a new school and new grade level, she began to be scrutinized by her administrators. First, they began examining her test scores, her communications with parents, and her relationships with colleagues. Then, with no explanation and no warning, the principal began interrupting her class to pull out students one-by-one to talk to them. When the educator asked the students why they were being pulled out, they told her they were instructed not to tell.

She was accused of not using technology in her class, even though each student had a laptop. She was criticized for relying on a literacy mentor, even though some of her students were struggling with reading. She was put on a behavior modification plan and was told to submit her lesson plans a week in advance for review by administrators. Her peers warned her that she was being targeted, and she began to believe it. Finally, she left her job after her health began to deteriorate.

It’s not just administrators bullying teachers, says Carv Wilson, a geography teacher at Legacy Junior High in Layton, Utah. He’s been an educator for 18 years, and has seen teachers bullying each other to get their way, as well as aggressive parents who fly off the handle and threaten and intimidate their child’s educators. But he says the worst case of ongoing workplace bullying he witnessed was by a principal.

“I was heavily involved in school leadership both as a Davis Education Association Rep and on the school representative counsel, and I heard about or witnessed first-hand the abuse of other teachers, staff, and students by this principal,” he says. “She specifically targeted individual teachers and the only thing that seemed to offer any protection was membership in our local association.”

Wilson says more than 60 percent of the educators were NEA members, and the other 30 percent “suffered dramatically at her hands.”  The number of transfers out of the school was higher than 50 percent each year of the eight years that she was principal of the school.

“She seemed to revel in people being driven out of education or to another school,” he says.  “The memories of that time still haunt me from time to time, but it solidified my belief that having representation both in school and in the local community through the association is critical. It’s the only defense against unfair and even punitive measures that are sometimes solely prompted by personality conflicts.”

Denise Mirandola is a union representative for the Pennsylvania State Education Association who holds trainings for members called “Bullying in the Workplace.”

NEA Provides Educators with Guidance on Preventing Workplace Bullying
In 2013, NEA approved a resolution to “Defend the Rights and Dignity of Educators,” which calls for the association to inform its members on ways to challenge administrator abuse of teachers and education support professsionals.

“I presented it at an Education Support Professionals meeting and was surprised to see so many heads nodding,” she says. “I believe that the phenomenon has been overlooked far too long and should be brought to the surface quickly.”

Like Wilson from Utah, she says association representation is vital if you’re being targeted by a workplace bully. The first thing you should do, in fact, is contact your union representative. Then, document, document, document – save emails, letters, memos, notes from conversations, or anything that shows the mistreatment. She also recommends confronting the bully with a supportive ally, like a union rep – and to describe the offensive behavior you’re experiencing, and the change in behavior you’d like to see.

According to Dr. Matt Spencer of the Workplace Bullying in Schools Project, “the bully steals the dignity, self-esteem, confidence, joy, happiness, and quality of life of the targeted victim”. And when the target is an educator, it is a great “injustice” because the bully deprives students of a caring adult who is crucial to their education.

Currently there is no law in any state against workplace bullying, unless it involves harassment based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age or disability. Please support the Healthy Workplace Bill in your state. Go to www.healthyworkplacebill.org for more information.

  • Dominique

    Bullying of teachers is very prevalent in my own school and district. I appreciate NEA covering this issue. Sadly, many of the weapons used by these bullies are provided by the so-called education “reforms”: data-driven decision making, student test scores, proficiency grading, RTI, etc. Several of these “reforms” are promoted by NEA and its member sub-groups. It would be nice if NEA examined the potential of abuse inherent in many of these education fads before jumping on the “reform” bandwagon.

  • Theresa

    I was bullied by my administrator and met with my union rep to file a complaint. It was very extreme bullying in front of faculty members, students, and even during a faculty meeting. This all started in January and I still have not seen my union rep do ANYTHING! I think I will be withdrawing from LAE. I wanted to file a grievance against my administrator, but I finally gave up after trying to contact my union rep many times. Almost all of our staff has been bullied or targeted by our admin.

  • k

    It’s about time NEA is covering this it is educations dirty little secret.

  • That Teacher

    I have also been a target for bullying.. I had my superintendent ask me three years ago, “Are there going to be any black people at your wedding?”. I am white, he is black. He also screamed at me in his office for twenty minutes after a trouble making student (constantly in ISS, suspended many times), went to the super after I wrote the student up for being disruptive, and said I hurt his feeling. He didn’t just single me out though; it was any female teacher who in any way incurred his displeasure The board finally bought out his contract a year early just to get rid of him. An atmosphere of fear blanketed the school. My principal told me “the walls talk…”
    Year before last I had a conference with a student’s parents. The student had a low grade in my advanced placement class due to not turning in homework. I requested an admin be present. None were available, so a staff member from the board office sat in. The parents called me a “liar” when I pulled out signed by the student homework “excuses” that listed each and every missing assignment and was told I fabricated them. The student was allowed to be not only sarcastic and disrespectful to me, but also to the math instructor, who was also having the same issues with the student as I had been having. Not one word was said to the parents. The admin stand-in did not once come to the defense of me and the math instructor. They parents continued to berate us for over an hour. Looking back, I should have walked out of that meeting.
    This current school year started with my being put on a Professional Development Plan (PDP). No one would explain to me why since my previous evaluation in May had been good and I had not been evaluated for the current school year yet. When I pointed out that only certain teachers were put on a PDP, I was told that I had no right to ask other teachers if they were on a PDP. I still believe I was targeted b/c the previous May, I refused to change failing grades to passing grades in the computer grading system and I told the principal that if he wanted the grades changed he was going to have to do it.. Can I prove it? No. But the harassment started after that. The lesson? Fly under the radar, don’t rock the boat, don’t tell the truth, and don’t challenge any wrong doing.
    It got so bad this past year that I was forced to go out on medical. I had surgery in November, and am just now recovered enough to go back.. but not to my old school. I resigned effective June 30.
    In four years, I had four superintendents and five principals. I waited for it to get better. I worked long hours after school in order to be prepared for my classes. I covered classes for teachers who were out. I stayed after school to help tutor. I gave it my best shot. But in the end I had to walk away or see my career destroyed.
    And people wonder why so many teachers are leaving the profession? The treatment we are suffering at the hands of admininstartors and parents is deplorable.

  • Deborah Harvey

    I was bullied by a co-teacher who wanted to replace me with a friend. I found out she had done this to 3 other teachers in the past. She buddied up to the principal, who joined her in the process, making my life miserable. Finally the principal moved me from a 1st grade position, where I have taught most of my career (I have an MA in ECE), and assigned me to 6th grade. I transferred schools, and then he demanded that I move my possessions while I was recovering from surgery, and would not let me take a gift the parent group had bought for me as a Christmas present, not a donation to the school. I can’t begin to share all the details here, but they made my life hell. The union rep tried to help, but she was one of the teachers that had been bullied out of her position in the past by this co-teacher! This was a control freak who had to have everything done her way, or she saw to it that you were out.I don’t know what the answers are, but I am still reeling from this a year later.

  • Tim

    Another type of bullying of teachers that needs to be addressed is that which is done by the students toward the teachers. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have had a student look me in the eye and tell me, “Don’t touch me! If you touch me, I’ll have your job!” Or the situation of male students who accuse me of having too much interest in their buttocks because I tell them to pull their pants up, and cover the “Continental Divide”. When did children get the power in the classroom?

  • Sara

    I hear you all. I myself was bullied by my administrator a few years ago. I left. It has been difficult finding another full time teaching job for the last several years. When in an interview or asked on resumes why I left that school I have told them simply, “Did not wish to return.” Only one administrator has ever asked me why I left and I told her the truth… I was bullied by my former principal. I don’t go into detail, but I don’t lie either. I lost my job, but at least have not lost my integrity.
    Other staff members have been bullied by this woman and pushed out or left because they simply could not handle the mental and then physical ailments abuse causes.
    ALL of the staff members who have been bullied were NEA members. ALL of the staff members who were bullied tried to go through the NEA to just withstand working for this woman. Apparently the NEA had no power or did not choose to use it against a corrupt (or at best) complacent school district.
    It is time NEA really was able to do something about workplace bullying and harassment. How do we help them to help us? I would love a response. (A real one, not just bs) Otherwise why
    spend the money for the dues? I could go out a pay for a therapist for my PTSD instead! Lol

  • tara schaller

    but there ARE laws against creating a hostile environment, overseen by OSHA…..it is illegal. bullying, harrassment, undermining, untruths….that sure makes for a hostile environment.

  • Caryl Phillips

    I was bullied by another teacher and my union rep told me that the union did not get involved in teacher to teacher issues. He said we were adults and expected to deal with these problems ourselves.

  • Jerry

    So where has the NEA been and the state organizations to end this? The NEA and state associations ONLY care about collecting dues and keeping their gig going!

  • Laura

    A concern for me is that many folks in administration go there because they didn’t handle a classroom very well. Now they get to sit back and order everyone to do what they couldn’t pill off themselves. Is it jealousy? I think so.

  • Mary

    I can’t count on both hands the number of administrators and department chairs I have had TRY to bully me. I guess entering the teaching profession at age 42 and after having raised 5 kids, I was not easily and have not been easily intimidated. One Assistant Principal had just gotten hired from having spent a good couple of decades teaching High School English and felt like she had to target me for some reason. Every other day it seemed I got a note in my box calling me into her office for some petty reason. It got to be too much. She was pissing me off. I requested another administrator take responsibility for me, got a doctor’s note saying she was compounding my stress load, and then I casually threatened to sue her for intentional infliction of emotional stress if I didn’t get a new administrator. She backed off entirely, I was reassigned another administrator and never had to talk to her again. Interesting note: At our graduation that year, she was walking ‘administratively’ to be sure, slipped and fell on her ass, well, flat on her back. You gotta believe in Karma!! Interestingly enough, she left that summer for a job 2 hours away. Do NOT be afraid to stick up for yourself!! You have civil rights just like every other god-fearing citizen and sometimes, you have to exert yourself. It helps to know your rights!! I went through a year of law school (in my ‘spare’ time) to find out what mine were. Trust me, you have the right to say “BACK OFF” to anyone who is harrassing or bullying you, and make sure you make it clear there will be reprocussions if they don’t stop!!

  • Jenn

    My district department coordinator is a huge bully. I started a new position this year on his prompting. At the end of the year last year, he encouraged me that I would be great at it and so I took the position. The third week of the new school year he came in and yelled at me for 45 minutes telling me that I had no idea what I was doing and was never going to make it. I ended up in tears. I was lucky. The information got back to my new principal. She protected me. I don’t know what I’m going to do if she ever leaves. I am stuck at my school because she is the only thing protecting me from him.

  • KME

    I think there is a reason why the bumper sticker: “No Farms, No Food” is showing up. Sadly, the fear that our rural population feels when they see farming jobs disappear *sometimes* manifests itself through bullying. If you wind up with people like this sitting on the board of education of a school district, it can make working in the schools a nightmare for teachers.

    HOWEVER…this “solution” to vanishing farmland, where administrators bully teachers to drive them out of the business (and, hopefully, they reason, into farming), DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN.

    Schools DO need to increase our students’ exposure to the issues of farming. And I agree that farming needs to become a more respected profession.

    Simple changes in curriculum and more greenhouses attached to schools will help quite a bit.

    The bullying only occurs because some people who work in agriculture don’t always have the time to learn other more polite ways to persuade the public. And it is unfair to expect them to learn this when they are working 12 hour days just to keep their farms from going under.

    The less time a person spends learning how to write, the more frustrated they will feel when they want to communicate, and when they can’t find the correct words to communicate this increases their frustration and even anger. Which can easily translate into bullying, both in the workplace and in the board rooms of schools.

  • Lisa

    How about bullying from parents? I resigned after having enough of being berated by parents for every little issue if their child was not 100% happy. It is hard to keep a spoiled child happy. Especially, when it is you who is trying to teach them ethics, morals and respect (besides their ABCs and 123s). Twice I caught students cheating and called them on it. How did the issue turn out, the parents accused me of lying. Like teachers have nothing better to do, but to make up issues to deal with.

  • Ragua

    Has anyone read Todd Whitaker’s “Dealing with Difficult Teachers”? It’s a how-to book for principals who want to bully teachers!

    Here is Mr. Teachbad’s take on Whitaker’s ridiculous screed:


  • Dear Colleagues,

    This article about bullying teachers deserves to be printed and distributed to every NEA member. I will do it in my school. The corrosive effect of the reformers’ agend has altered the professional relationships among administrators and teachers, parents and teachers, and even among teachers in the workplace for the worse. Now many teachers see and suffer the constant criticism and demoralization effect of being labeled the “culprit” by the refromers’ narrative.
    It was about time to expose this pervasive problem: Teachers are being harrassed, bullyied, and abandoned by their adminstrators and peers, all in the false premise of improving education. And what makes this trend disturbing is the silence of many abused teachers –it is akin to the “battered wife” syndrom. Teachers need to speak up on this subject now to stop this aberration from continuing.
    What is happening is wrong at many levels. It is wrong because harrassing teachers does not improve them. It is wrong because the system of high stakes testing that drives prinicpals and that the public in general do not know well is flawed and therefore innefective to conduce to better education. It is wrong because it is destroying the fiber that should connect the human activity that is teaching by defining teaching solely on terms of scores as if this was a race. It is wrong because all this ultimatelly affects students.
    Excellent first article on a subject that should be talked about, discussed and debated frequently.
    Who wins, who loses, who cares?
    In solidarity,
    Sergio Flores

  • Maureen

    I agree with the article which is why UNIONS are so necessary in all educational aspects. If you don’t have an adminstration or district that supports educators then many unions are too weak to impose infractions upon the bullying, whether it be by students, co-workers, adminstrators or district employees. There are also schools are not safe, unsanitary, poor air quality, et. Often I see teachers complain about the issues and go no further. WE are our own worst problem. They will keep doing these things unless WE stop them. If we keep doing what we have always done (ie. suck it up, too tired to complain, don’t ask for help, don’t unionize) then we will keep getting what we have always gotten. We have to be the catalyst for change. Who is more at fault, those that bully or those that do nothing to stop it from happening? Teachers do have power, and our greatest power comes in shear numbers of individuals wanting the same goal. We deserve better working conditions,a good living wage, TIME, support. Those are human rights issues. Get out, get active, push for unionization, be that CHANGE!

  • Kimmy

    There seems to be many of us… and each day we teach our kids about bullying.

    I was a victim of bullying in my school as well.
    Not only was it a co-worker, but also the union rep.
    I was called into a meeting with my union rep and my principal during a 1 1/2 hour meeting.

    Never proactive about my own feelings, I could not handle the stress, pressure and hurt it was all causing, and finally called the anti-bullying hotline that was offered to students. The hotline affirmed that I was being bullied so it helped me a bit.

    I do believe that bullies have insecurities, and learning each person’s insecurities is helpful in understanding them.

    I still have passion for the kids, but sometimes going through bullying can make teaching seem defeating. I love the children, but I want to do something else…

  • Pam

    If you would like to hear the dozens of excuses my representative, president and director of the local affiliate of the NEA came up with for being unable to advocate for me this year, you will have to buy my book. My union did nothing to help save my career as a public educator so I’m just going to have to go back to writing, and unlike my students, these people do not have any “confidentiality” to hide behind.

  • Donna

    I agree with Pam. The union has done very little to squelch the bullying of teachers by the micromanaging administrators who are intimidated by confident teachers. I am glad an article like this has and is finally being published by NEA. Having lived through two separate bullies from two different school districts, and now having earned my doctorate, I have prevailed and lived to tell about it and will be discussing in detail, when I publish my book. It is extremely demoralizing, confidence shattering, hurtful, and serves to diminish the excitement teachers possess. Instead of being confident and willing to go that extra mile we find ourselves not looking forward, but looking back over our shoulder as we are thinking “not what did I do that was right and good, but what am I going to do wrong next.”

  • noreen wynne

    Although I received my retirement, I will never completely recover from the pain of working on a PS system for 30 yrs and being bullied by various individuals within that system. They don’t want the public to know

  • Deborah B Mason

    I am a highly qualified certified professional teacher in Maine. I was bullied by a Sp. Ed. Director for 8 years. I had a physical and mental breakdown at the end of year 6. I returned with the promise and hope that things had changed. I resigned the at the beginning of year 8.

    The Supt. supported the Director and was a bully as well. I had worked in the district for atonal of 21 years and never had a single issue with any other administrator,faculty member or staff member.

    The NEA/MEA/local association did nothing. I paid my dues and was a supporter/recruiter for my association. when I resigned I was given no representation,no legal advice and no kindness. When I couldn’t get hired,I was told to file a claim for Disability Retirement. It took 28 months for the denial to be finalized on December 8,2011.

    I have no position. I sometimes substitute at a private Academy. I am unable to work full-time. I have no retirement. I COBRA my insurance (indefinitely because I was put on retirement status for health insurance only). I do not have enough credits for Soc. Sec. disability benefits because my last 10 years were with Maine Public Employees RS,despite contributing to SS for 31 years. I might qualify for MaineCare due to “inadequate earnings” for the past 4 years since resigning, but will not apply.

    I was told not to appeal my denial decision to Superior Court. The MEA has told me I don’t need to pay dues in July. I am no longer in a category they represent. The lawyer given to me for the Disability told me, “the MEA no longer pays him to represent teachers in Worker Compensation claims”and school districts have sovereign immunity and can not be sued.

    I have lost my career,my retirement,my health and well-being. I turn 60 in July and my Legislators say this is a legal matter and I should contact the Governor’s office or the Maine Human Rights Commission. I have been there,through two administrations since resigning. Nobody cares and nobody feels an obligation to explain it all to me.

    I will not be discarded and I will not allow a school district that allowed bullying and more,to determine the outcome of my case. I hope I find someone who cares about me and all the other teachers and personnel who have been and are currently being abused by administrators or anyone else in their workplace.

  • Deborah B Mason

    I am a highly qualified certified professional teacher in Maine. I was bullied by a Sp. Ed. Director for 8 years. I had a physical and mental breakdown at the end of year 6. I returned with the promise and hope that things had changed. I resigned the at the beginning of year 8.

    The Supt. supported the Director and was a bully as well. I had worked in the district for a total of 21 years and never had a single issue with any other administrator,faculty member or staff member.

    The NEA/MEA/local association did nothing. I paid my dues and was a supporter/recruiter for my association. When I resigned I was given no representation,no legal advice and no kindness. When I couldn’t get hired,I was told to file a claim for Disability Retirement. It took 28 months for the denial to be finalized on December 8,2011.

    I have no position. I sometimes substitute at a private Academy. I am unable to work full-time. I have no retirement. I COBRA my insurance (indefinitely because I was put on retirement status for health insurance only). I do not have enough credits for Soc. Sec. disability benefits because my last 10 years were with Maine Public Employees RS,despite contributing to SS for 31 years. I might qualify for MaineCare due to “inadequate earnings” for the past 4 years since resigning, but will not apply.

    I was told not to appeal my denial decision to Superior Court. The MEA has told me I don’t need to pay dues in July. I am no longer in a category they represent. The lawyer given to me for the Disability told me, “the MEA no longer pays him to represent teachers in Worker Compensation claims”and school districts have sovereign immunity and can not be sued.

    I have lost my career,my retirement,my health and well-being. I turn 60 in July and my Legislators say this is a legal matter and I should contact the Governor’s office or the Maine Human Rights Commission. I have been there,through two administrations since resigning. Nobody cares and nobody feels an obligation to explain it all to me.

    I will not be discarded and I will not allow a school district that allowed bullying and more,to determine the outcome of my case. I hope I find someone who cares about me and all the other teachers and personnel who have been and are currently being abused by administrators or anyone else in their workplace.

  • Mary E. Thorson was a P.E. teacher who was bullied by her administation due to her feeling like NO ONE WOULD LISTEN and adhere, she committed suicide on Thanksgiving 2011. Her father John Thorson created a petition at
    There is also a documentary viewing on June 30, 2012. Please go to http://www.marythorsondocfilm.com for more information.

  • Mike

    I need to remain anonymous.

    I would like to document bullying incidents on the part of administrators in a local school district. Some of the teacher victims have been forced to leave for the sake of their mental health. Others are approaching retirement and can not afford to leave, in spite of the horrible stress they are under. I need to protect these teachers from retribution on the part of the administration.

    How should I proceed?

  • Mike, here’s a story with resources that can help you. Gilbert Public Schools (Arizona) tried to fire an acclaimed National Board Certified Teacher after she reported bullying, racial discrimination and retaliation. Sarah Green, M.Ed. NBCT, has become a poster child for what happens to teachers who report bullying in the classroom. The teacher is pretty, but the poster is ugly.

    Sarah reported bullying in her third grade classroom at Meridian Elementary School in February 2011, where she taught for six years. She worked diligently to resolve the problems she reported internally and informally. The situation was dire: at least one student was afraid to come to school for fear of the bully. No one at the district level would help the students who were victims of bullying. The district instead commissioned investigations that stretched out past the end of the school year. An investigating attorney provoked the bully’s parents into filing a complaint against the teacher for her “unprofessionalism” with regard to her reporting of their child’s bullying.

    The district brought 20 charges against Sarah on December 6, 2011, the first of which concerns her initial report of bullying. The district appears confident they can nail her for such zingers as “donated five copies of her book to the library” (Charge #8), “sent the Technology Services Help Desk an email” (Charge #11), and “referred to efforts to monitor her as ‘double secret probation.'” (Charge # 15). The GEA President commented to a Board Member was that Sarah is a “great teacher, just not suitable for the Gilbert environment.” The NEA has a moral obligation to deal with this perfidy within its ranks.

    In Sarah’s case, she immediately demanded a public hearing on the charges. The school district waited until May 2012 and decided to withdraw all charges against Sarah rather than convene a public hearing. Sarah gained a full year of pay and benefits, as well as the district’s reimbursement for her legal fees. The most important aspect of this limited settlement is that Sarah retains all of her legal claims against the district!
    Bottom line: that teachers cannot speak out against their employer; to do so while on admin leave would be considered disloyal and probably would result in dismissal for cause. Teachers under fire need a champion who can speak for them.

    Read Sarah’s story at http://www.WesternConnections.com and use the resources we have assembled to help teachers in similar circumstances. Local media coverage with citizen commentary is online at http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/20120524gilbert-teacher-loses-job-settlement.html

  • Margareta

    I am being bullied. I took a job as a paraeducator, but I hold a teaching certificate. I work with a team of several individuals, and they are all certified to teach as well. I am a bit of an introvert to begin with, and I am much older then my co-workers, which I suppose only adds to the problems of being able to relate to each other well. Anything I do wrong, or that could possibly be stretched into looking like I did wrong, is immediately reported to my superior, while if I raise any valid questions or concerns to anyone higher up, I am ignored for weeks on end. One of my co-workers snaps at me on a regular basis, and this person does this in front of other staff and even students. When I talk, this person rolls their eyes. When I ask them why they are doing this they say, “I didn’t roll my eyes, what are you talking about.” It’s very strange, but when this person is not around, others are respectful and polite, but when this person is around, everyone pretty much ignores me. It’s also interfered with my ability to get information that I need in order to do my job. I am left out of the loop on important meetings and new guidelines, etc.. While I once loved my job, I am contemplating leaving. I know that this would make it difficult for me to ever get a teaching job, but at what point does your health and emotional well being become more important? Furthermore, why is it always perceived that the person who’s being bullied (“…you don’t fit in/get along with the team members”) is the one at fault?

  • Bryan Trim

    I am shaking as I write this. I was a first year teacher. I am alternatively certified through the military Troops to Teachers program.

    I took a job at a school with them fully knowing that I have had no real formal training as a teacher.

    I got one eval and was told everything was fine. I gave up on sending students to the office who were discipline problems. Finally the day came when a student refused to go to the office for a blatant dress code violation.

    The next two days were testing days. I came back the second day and the students were asking me why I had not been fired yet. It was evidently all over Face Book that I had been accused of a number of things. My students were all interrogated, and later that day I was escorted from the school by law enforcement. I was never told what I had supposedly done.

    A week later, I had a meeting with the superintendent. I was accused of many things, most of them taken out of context or blatantly false.

    Since there was nothing real they could accuse me of, I was put on admin leave with pay until the end of the school year.

    So here it is: I was never given any real help as a first year teacher, and was basically trying not to drown. My smallest class was 26, my largest was 37. My coteacher never showed up, even though my class was nearly 50% special education. Since then, several teachers from my old school who were friends with the principal have tried to get into my FB to see what I am talking about. I have also found out that the friend of one of these teachers has been given my job, even though she holds no certification.

    I bought my own supplies, did my best to make science fun and accessible to the students….but in the end, I was thrown out like so much garbage without an explanation.

    Oklahoma does not have a real union. I belong to the NEA, but it did not occur to me to seek higher level help.

    Bullying can also be professional ostracism.

  • Mary Stansil

    I thought I was alone and that I was in the wrong. I have been the victim of bulling for years and my wake up call was watching the required video on workplace harassment. Last year was rough, but at the end I realized that I have allowed myself to be a victim. Finally, I made an appointment with a super and was told more teacher voices needed to be heard. I began conversations carefully at school and discovered I was not the only victim of administration bulling. Others went to this super and followed up with NEA. As a veteran teacher I finally woke up that I have an obligation to be a role model not only for students, but also for colleges.

    NEA, please keep up with this topic.

  • AL

    As sad as this is, reading these responses provide some comfort in knowing that I am not alone in what I have been going through. At this point, I can’t determine when the bullying first began but it has likely been 5 years. It has in great part been caused by my refusal to inflate grades, but also in administration’s desire to make every parent happy in our “school of choice” county, regardless of the egregious or negligent behavior or parent or student. Either way, the effects on my physical and mental health have been extreme; my doctor even suggested that to get healthy I would need to get a new job. Anyone who knows me (even, I suspect, the main perpetrators of the bullying), knows that I am dedicated to my job. I regularly attend and present at statewide conferences, am on a statewide coalition, and have begun two gardens at my school and brought in nearly a thousand dollars in grant money. I voluntarily run an after school club whose efforts help the whole school receive recognition. (My vagueness is to preserve some anonymity.) It is not uncommon for me to work 12 hour days. I have training in and consistently implement strategies incorporating multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction and full-body experiences. This past school year I had a full time special ed teacher and ELL support teacher in my room; both of them have been teaching over 25 years, and each told me that I do the best job of any teacher they have worked with in our district. The point of this? Go check out my evaluation. You won’t find “highly effective” anywhere on it – even in the “Professionalism” category. (Incidentally, every other science teacher got a higher evaluation than I did; including the one who has shown a video in her class for 30 days in a row.) I contended the evaluation – a long story in itself, but never got any satisfaction at all. The details on my side are overwhelming, and the case of my administrators looks downright ridiculous. Teachers in other departments agreed that the whole system in our building is a farce. The even bigger consequence? With Michigan’s legislative changes to teacher evaluations and essential ending of seniority, I now have a .8 position for next year. This is not the first year the bullying has been so extreme, but with “education reform” the consequences are now adding financial consequences to my health and emotional costs. I feel teaching is a calling and a profession, not just a job, but when I am off in the summer, I can hardly bear to think about going back. I remind myself that I do it for the kids, and I do, but I keep feeling like the personal cost to do the right thing is bringing me to the tipping point. As with other commenters, there has been little to no union assistance this year. During one year my union was a strong ally, but as we had no contract, no grievances were being accepted. I therefore could not grieve the hoops of the 18-page “mini” assistance plan I had to follow. With some of the legislative changes, in fact, my union is actually legally unable to help me, e.g. with my evaluation concerns. I feel more like a lawyer as I document and document every contact, comment and datum; I have even considered filing a civil lawsuit, but I don’t know the steps and may not have the funds. I have enough friends in other districts to know that grade inflation and the systemic disintegration of ethics in the schools is not limited to my district. I just wish that all those who are contributing to the perpetuation of grade inflation, lack of discipline, demonization of teachers and treating schools like businesses and education as a political pawn could see could see — it does not help kids, and it certainly does not help our society as a whole. I am bullied for being a holdout to good educational values; how much longer will I and others like me be able to keep up the good fight?

  • Kbert

    I was given a position that the parent of one of my students had applied for. At the start of the school year, the child’s mother brought a group of parents to meet with me. She didn’t talk, but the others asked what made me think I was qualified to teach math to their children. They complained that the class wasn’t rigorous enough, not enough homework was assigned, etc. Projects that I assigned were dismissed as useless fluff, even though other teachers later assigned them to great fanfare. The homework issue was an easy fix. However, the same parents then wrote a formal letter to administration that they were having to help their children with their math homework, indicating that I was doing a poor job of instruction. Though I dedicated nearly all my lunch hours to helping students, and was available after school on a daily basis until nearly 6 pm., their children never took advantage of my help. That did not matter to the parents. The child whose parent had not been hired, acted out in class nearly every day. He questioned every lesson that was taught, opined that my lessons were stupid and useless, changed answers on corrected papers and tests, then claimed I had made mistakes when going over his papers. When I employed manipulatives, the child threw them about the room. My hands were tied. Anything I did brought further grief upon me. In my hearing, the student even told other students how easy it would be to “off” the superintendent. That resulted in him receiving a slap on the hand from the principal.

    My principal knew what was going on. She said it was unfair, but then stated that life is not fair. The following year she filled another math position with the parent who had been so disappointed to lose out to me. Amazingly, the furor about my teaching died down. For a time. When the new hire had his own share of problems as an algebra instructor and was assigned to a basic math class for the following year, he gave notice that he would not be returning, Suddenly the heat was back on me. Parents, who just happened to be neighbors of the teacher in question, or whose children were close friends of his sonr, again began questioning everything I did. Finally, a parent wrote to the principal requesting the loan of math books over the summer. Because of the poor quality of my instruction, a group of parents had decided to hire a summer tutor to bring their children back up to speed. Guess who they hired to be the tutor?

    My principal assigned me to the basic math position, telling me to lay low for a year or two, after which time the families involved would have passed on to the high school. Sadly, the furor never quite died down. People from the original group continually found fault with the school and the principal. They took their complaints to the op ed section of the local paper, and offered up the ‘incompetent’ math instructor as proof that the principal was not on top of her game. Despite previously excellent performance reviews, I was riffed rather than granted tenure.

  • EarlyBird

    This is why I retired early. There did not seem to be anywhere to turn. I had a supervisor who bullied me for years…made me do extra work that no one else in the department was required to do and more, and that’s just for starters. I hesitate to specify because I wouldn’t want to be identified by the incidents. Trust me…I was targeted to the point that even my co-workers noticed it. I called the union and was told she was “within her rights” even though what she was doing to me was not fair or equitable. Add to that treatment the bullying from students and parents. What job requires you to take insults from those you serve based on their age? They make comments about your clothing or your weight and you hear: “They’re just kids, ignore it”. I’d like to see that in an office. They curse and disrupt things and when you call the parent they essentially call you a liar and you’re in for more bullying because they will say “Not MY kid!” Too much. Too long. Too many times. The day I retired was one of the happiest in my life. I wanted to help kids, not enable them. I did not want to be adulated, just given due respect. I teach in New Jersey where my governor has anti-bullying laws that make me responsible for things that happen OUT OF SCHOOL….but there is no recourse for me if I am bullied right in my own classroom.

  • I have witnessed workplace bullying and I believe I may have become a victim. The union rep. and state association have turned their backs. I have a hard time understanding this kind of treatment of teachers in the field of education. We pay dues and where is the support when needed? What is the NEA willing to do?

  • How can bullying of students be reduced if teachers are bullied?

    It is a fine line between requiring improvements that teachers don’t want to make, and bullying. Bullying is power and control. Playground bullies are not typically asking for modifications for improvement of delivery or academic progress. Bullies target those individuals they cannot figure out how to get along with or how to respect despite differences.

    In teaching, this is a poor administrator. Administrators must have skills to get along with a great range of individuals, including those with whom they disagree. A poor administrator is one who is using the power of the position to “win”, not lead.

  • MAB

    Bullying teachers (especially veteran teachers) by principals is common place and encouraged by district administation in the Seattle School District….also common place is the fact that the Seattle Education Association has done nothing to stop it and instead facilitates separation agreements between the teacher and the school district….these agreements terribly one-sided with clauses that prevent the teachers from speaking publicly about their situations or that prevent the teacher from taking legal action. SEA is not representing their members, so I ask what leadeship is coming to them from the national and state levels? What is NEA willing to do?

  • John

    I was Bullied for 5 long years. After 7 successful years under a veteran Principal (I tool over for a legendary Teacher who retired after nearly 40 years of service) an entirely new “regime” moved in along with their “Safety Manager” who started the whole “bullying atmosphere” The Union can be of help but they can’t stop the Principal from escalating the “game” each time she looses a grievance procedure. I was yelled at in School Community Council meetings, budget reduced to zero, told to leave the school by a certain time because I was “wasting electricity”, ordered to break down shelving that I paid for and built with my own time and money, told that I was creating a fire hazard by storing equipment on the shelves (the Union found worse conditions in other classrooms and actual fire code violations in the school’s office) etc…etc…etc… but when performances were being cancelled under the guise of preserving classroom time due to furloughs, I knew it was time to leave. It’s kind of ironic that I left a community that I worked in for 12 years as a teacher and assisted the “Legend” and the local High School while I taught in another community for many years prior to my transferring there because the Bullying was now affecting my students. Now just 2 years removed, my former robust program is more than 50% smaller and dropping and the High School which was “the Program in the State” is nearly dead. I am so fortunate to hook up with a a Principal who was my V.P. in my 5th year of teaching (this year will be my 28th) We’re on a roll again and the High School that we feed into has increased their program’s enrollment by over 100% You can’t fight the Principal, transfer out as soon as the bullying starts. I’ll admit that it was difficult leaving my colleagues and the parents and the students in the community that have become great friends but they are not a reason to risk your health and mental well being over! Now I have new colleagues, a new group of parents who have become supporters and friends, my former students come to help with our Summer Program and my Doctor (though he refuses to take me off of medication) is now praising me for the blood pressure and heart rate of a 20 year old! GET OUT! You can do what you do where ever you go (even in a notorious lower income area where I am now). Teaching is fun again and when I have fun, you can bet that the kids in my charge will have a great time too!

  • DEW

    I happen to be a veteran Educator of Color who’s also with Seattle Public Schools, and have endured harsh practices that involves discrimination with age and race; along with bullying and harassment from insecure and arrogant administrators and even some teachers. And get this, because I am an Educator of Color, my physical appearance often catches people off guard especially when meeting me for the first time. Many have often remarked afterwards that my name doesn’t match what I look like. This shouldn’t even be an issue within the realm of teaching (let alone within any other profession). But sadly, in Seattle, it flourishes. And as the fellow Educator from Seattle has mentioned, our union-Seattle Education Association (SEA), doesn’t do anything to intervene nor resolve incidents like this. Instead, they often blame the victims. Yet the preceding example I provided, is just the “tip of the iceberg” when interpreting all the mess that we have to go through on a day-to-day basis. We’re practically at a boiling point knowing that our own union refuses to initiate assistance. And this gets so frustrating knowing that they’re collecting pay for doing nothing! Now because I use to be a .05/part time employee, I was ultimately stunned to hear my assigned union representative tell me “well, since you are a .05 employee, I’m only going to assist you part time”!

    I simply refused any further “help” from this individual and told her that “I could do ‘bad’ by myself”!

    Ain’t that a blip?!

  • what about teachers bulling the community and students

  • Lisbeth Solberg

    Richard Du Fours and the Learning Tree people have tips for administrators who want to drum out “uncooperative” teachers (translate: teachers who do not want to work beyond contracted hours without compensation). Demanding formal daily lesson plans a week in advance for years at a time, popping in unannounced at the very end of class, “interviewing” students privately, skewing ratings on formal and informal reviews: all are methods from the script. We will see more and more of this by and by so be ready!

  • R

    Wow, this story hit home for me. Just this past year I was extremely bullied when I accepted a position that two other co-workers had hoped their friend would fill. Not only was I confronted by their friend during a day she was subbing, but I was also verbally attacked, being told I was not qualified for the job. It was my main goal to prove them wrong, and show them that I was deserving of the position. I ended up working myself into the ground. I was stressed and quite possibly depressed. I had anxiety attacks over this situation on my way to work, and it was not until I got the e-mail saying I was accepted for a transfer to another school in the district that I began calming down. I never felt like I was ‘safe’ in this position because these women had been working in the district for many years and had many strong ties. I did speak with my principal about this, but we both decided it was within my best interest to ‘sweep it under the rug’ for the rest of the year for my own professional safety. I think it is so upsetting and hypocritical that many educators are stressing the importance of decreasing bullying, when in fact, they are contributing to the problem. I am a new person after this experience, I am so hopeful and excited for a new start, and to be in a place where I am accepted.

  • SCEA fan

    I want to say THANK YOU to the South Carolina Education Association for its support of faculty and staff regarding this issue. While I am saddened to read that that is not the case in other regions of the country, I am pleased to report that the SCEA is a strong source of support for teachers facing a harrassing, bullying administrator or principal. Our local rep is
    indefatigable in informing us of pending legislation, school board meeting reports, policies and procedures, etc. A few years ago, several teachers at my school had an issue with the principal. I won’t go into the details, but the SCEA was right there to support the teachers–from crafting written responses, providing guidance for the grievance process, holding support meetings–they “had the teachers back.”

  • Cheyenne

    I’m glad to hear that the Union is now taking some action regarding the bullying that takes place between administrators, department chairs and their teachers. It has been a very emotional exhausting 3 years, which has made a negative impact on my health. It takes alot of information, and documentation to prove you have been bullied!! The administration doesn’t realize that I have colleagues that spill the negative talk towards me. Custodians were told not to help me at all. I had to lift and move office areas 5 times in the past 10 years. My family had to come in and help me. The sped social worker also was told she was not to help me in anyway with behavior plans or communicate with me concerning a student. The social worker stated that many people were told not to help me with anything. As a SpEd instructor we should work together as a team in support of the parent and student…that didn’t happen in the past 3 years. The administration along with my dept. chair has tried to take all that I love in teaching and extracurricular activites. Power, and control is a major problem…the bullying needs to stop before we lose great teachers whom have won awards for there work with students and parents. Please stop them… it does exist and someone who has the authority to do so, should listen to what is happening. For if the union doesn’t control this nonsense I’m sure an outside attorney would enjoy taking a case like this.

  • Salander

    I too am a teacher in Seattle Public Schools. I have been bullied by my principal for nearly two years. I have been required to spend numerous hours writing literally dozens of lesson plans. My principal hands me back these plans with his “suggestions”. My principal has never been a teacher, has not even been and intern teacher and does not hold a teaching credential. His suggestion make no sense to any teacher yet I am rated unsatisfactory for not following his plans.
    I was put on a Performance Improvement Plan that covered, initially covered 74 areas. I was able to negotiate that down to about 26 areas. But guess what? The negative feedback from the principal did not have anything to do with these areas. Instead it was a random collection of what I was doing wrong in the way I handed back papers or I didn’t turn the all the room lights back on when the moment I finished using the projector. If I did this to my students I would be considered a bully.

    My local Seattle Education Association union rep participated in the bullying. I am paying out nearly $100 a month for union representation. This is extortion. With the much money a month I would rather hire an attorney who represents my interests. Instead I am paying for that out of what is left of my meager pay check.

    According to the vast majority of my students and and parent and a neutral observer I am an excellent teacher. According to my evaluations for the past 20 some years I am an excellent teacher. Then this ed reform lackey comes along and all of the sudden I am incompetent.

    I stopped the bullying by taking a five month health leave. I am now being treated by multiple caregivers and using a variety of medications just to stabilize my diagnosed PTSD.

    Yet, when I return to my classroom in the fall I have been threatened that it will all start over. I will have one month to make improvements (in God knows what)and then, when I receive another unsatisfactory rating I will be fired. This is what I have to look forward to in the coming weeks.

    Even though I teach to the accepted state and local standards and the vast majority of my students reach those standards I will be fired for holding my pencil in a way not approved by ed reformers.

    Shame on my local, state and national union for allowing this to happen.

  • John Scarbi

    What about the way students bully us online with ratemyteachers.com and teachercomplaints.com

  • David

    My principal is a bully as well. I was a victim for my first 4 years with him and then something changed. I didn’t do anything different but he stopped bullying me. I think he just moved on to a ‘better’ target. We lose teachers all the time, some in the middle of the school year. Our district does climate surveys and our school/principal respresents poorly on the survey but the district does very little about it. It is bad enough to have a bully but even worse to have it ignored by the people in power.

  • I read a brief mention of non-union teachers being bullied by union teachers; but I didn’t see any mention of harassment within the union, of members that do not support liberal issues, or Democratic candidates. This is a serious problem in some schools.

  • C. Davis

    This is a prevalent labor issue in Waterbury, Connecticut school system. One example that became recognized was the forced changing of student test scores. This is especially prevalent in the Special Education Department, where supervisors reprimand and demean teachers in places like a PPT meeting, hallway transitions, and even in the classroom.

    The sad thing is that everyone knows it’s happening…and no one does anything about it. We are loosing exceptional educations because of this abuse.

  • Wahoowa

    This happens everywhere all of the time. I don’t know which is worse: behavior of administration or the parents. At least when the behavior of the child is poor, there is some sense of willingness to forgive. But, when grown adults like to bully teachers, there is no forgiveness. I have witnessed it on many occasions, including seeing it happen to my wife. By the way, we teach in the same school. Three years was enough for her. Teachers are afraid to speak out for fear of having a target on their back.

  • Lieutenance

    As an educator, I view daily issues with students bullying the teachers in the school. When a young teacher is afraid to enter her classroom–most students in the high school look older than the new teachers (typically only about 21-22 when they start) a definite issue arrises. I understand why some behaviors are dealt with in certain ways–special needs students can only receive x number of days all year and the parents who don’t wish to take responsibility for the behavior of their own kids are fully aware of the legal issues surrounding removal of their students.
    Students are guaranteed a safe environment for their education–however–when we are full of low performing bullies that would rather push the envelope of propriety in the classroom vs. try to learn just the basics- a problem exists that needs to be addressed. My district has a severe discipline problem and according to the teachers across the state–this problems exists in all districts. We endeavor to find a resolution and have to provide the necessary support to the districts to allow correction and removal of the offenders if appropriate. The answers– 1–install cameras in the classrooms, labs and shops–protects the teachers, 2–with limited administrators in the schools–principals are relying on deans and others to try to facilitate discipline–time to get the school resource officers into the issue–and 3–make the parents responsible legally for their students behavior (i.e. SPANK THE PARENTS). Amazing how quickly a student comes into line when a parent has to return them to school when they misbehave. –forgot #4–find a method of removing or blocking the cell phones–students, teachers and administration haven’t the maturity and discipline to use them appropriately–until they learn–remove or block access.
    thank you

  • Wahoowa

    This happens everywhere all of the time. I don’t know which is worse: behavior of administration or the parents. At least when the behavior of the child is poor, there is some sense of willingness to forgive. But, when grown adults like to bully teachers, there is no forgiveness. I have witnessed it on many occasions, including seeing it happen to my wife. By the way, we teach in the same school. Three years was enough for her. Teachers are afraid to speak out for fear of having a target on their back. And, it wasn’t just my wife. I have witnessed other teachers and one of my assistant principals being bullied. It is a growing problem.

  • Shay

    I know exactly how some of these people feel. I had a principal just last year who never said a negative thing to me. He was friendly at times and seemed easy going. Then out of no where I became “the terrible teacher” and was involuntarily transferred to a new school without any say. The principal never stepped foot in my room and yet he began to say mean things to me if he wasn’t ignoring me. I later found out that it really started from another staff member who didn’t like me. My principal took everything that staff member said as “gold” and I was on the chopping block. I just keep hoping they will get theirs.

  • Nata

    Our governor pressured districts into starting a merit pay system or there would be no money for salaries. But even though our negotiators came up with a good, positive plan, it got minutia-ed to death and, every plan is open to abuse. I will never support the idea of a “colleague” judging me even though admin doesn’t always do a good job either. And with these plans, ahead of time you could list all sorts of “what ifs,” but you would just sound negative. A large majority still votes for this plan even though they complain about the work. It’s one-size fits all, the expectations are that you will be doing this long list of “strategies” within 45 minutes, of course.
    I first reported the bullying by my observer to one union person and to my admin, who was sympathetic, but just gave me ideas for how to respond – to the repeated grilling and off-topic attacks. She would interrupt my answers with repeated grilling in a tone of a prosecuting attorney. The following year, she grilled me repeatedly over trivial issues, graded me lower and lower without letting me see her notes. My self esteem plummeted. She wouldn’t even discuss the positives – that WERE my goal – but focused only on the slightly-off behavior of a class, the day after a holiday and the week after my mom died (they had had subs for days) I finally told the union pres, who is her best friend, who then observed and also “saw” the 1-2 things out of a million very impressive things that hour… .The two of them ganged up on me unexpectedly during CONFERENCES!!! I disagreed with their interpretation of the GOAL, what the goal WAS (managing “procedures” is not managing “behavior”) not to mention how important their focus was – no room for response other than their “way,” calling out tardy students in front of the class, while I’m busy helping Ell or spec needs students?? I was so proud of what the 36 kids did that day, but I was supposed to lock the door or call negative attention to an EXCUSED TARDY??? There was no way to appeal, the state union was very sympathetic but would not attend a hearing because that would inflate admin, etc.
    So I lost, I was defined as a poor teacher after 32 years, and I took early retirement the next year.

  • Beat Down

    I have worked in my school district for 30 years. I have all positive ratings from my administrators on all levels building and district wide. However, one of my “team” members has been verbally abusive to me for all of my career. I tried everything to appease this person, to no success. I had to shut up and take it because I could not go to the Union about it. She and her husband were the Union President and Vice president. When I spoke to administration and demanded that the bullying be stopped, they sad it was a “Union” issue. Finally a new Union President was voted in, and all she did was say “Let’s meet and talk”! I finally spoke to my own lawyer and he said if it didn’t stop, he would advance legal action. When I told the new union president that, it magically stopped. The last year was wonderful and my stress level went way down. The bully retired.

  • schoolcounselor

    When the district that I worked in as a school counselor lost both its principal and assistant principal/AD the same year, two teachers from within the district were hired to replace them. These were folks that I had worked with many times over the years when they were teachers, and looked forward to their leadership. For whatever reason, they made my life hell. The principal became a “wannabe” school counselor. She micromanaged my position and others in the school. I was now “out of the loop,” not a part of a team approach that had worked so well for years before when dealing with student issues, whether they were behavior, academic, social, or emotional. Others saw what was going on and could not believe it. A handful of close colleagues spoke up on my behalf. I stood my ground, but in the end, they won. I left the district as did several others.

  • Wow…I didn’t know I was not in the boat alone. I have been bullied by my co=workers for 14 years. I finally spoke up and said I was going to file a bullying complaint against them…the district offered me a buyout. I took it because it would be a long drawn out fight to get it to stop and make those who were doing it accountable. I had to change my life because of them. I was in a small town and became isolated because I would be glared at. They turned parents, whom I had never met, against me by the first day of school. We had a new principal, who had walked into the lions den. He did what he could, but it wasn’t enough.
    How do you stop this? Really, what are districts doing, except letting those who are bullied go? Why does it seem there is no support for those who are doing their jobs and those who are spending all their energy to bully others are not doing their jobs. Why are they not stepping in to protect the bullied teacher? It is the kids who really suffer. They get rid of teachers who focus on teaching and keep those who focus on being in control. The lesson they are learning is that being a bully pays off.
    You pay the union for help, but they step back and say ” Well, we can’t represent a teacher against another teacher.” So who is out their to support the bullied teacher? No one!!!!!!P

  • Dave Koven

    Teachers are too darned nice. This only encourages the bullying. If you have to go down, go down fighting. Threaten these administrators with going to the press and describing their behavior. Put THEM on the defensive. Local press loves a juicy controversy. Let the administrators have to publicly explain their methods. Bring a trusted friend to all meetings to act as a witness. Since unions are powerless now, teachers need to form a professional association like the Lawyer’s Bar association or the Doctor’s American Medical Association. You can handle teacher discipline in private with your peers, like a real professional instead of “Ichabod Crane”. Clearly, the person who buys the toilet paper should be under the teacher’s control, not over them. Administrators, by and large, are not educational innovators. That would be too scary politically. They are largely judged on what condition their building is in. They have a vested interest in finding things wrong even when there is nothing wrong or there would be no reason for them to come to work.

  • Mecca

    Just want to clarify Lieutenance’s comment about special needs students. There is no limit to how many suspension days a student with disabilities can receive; they just have to receive supplementary educational services after the 10th day.
    I am so thankful to see this article and these responses from teachers to the NEA article. I have been bullied beyond belief by administrators and students. Yes, it absolutely take a toll on your health and well being. I am cussed at, threatened, and humiliated by teenage “special Ed” students almost on a daily basis. I am assigned as a “most restrictive placement” teacher in an urban school. Administration’s philosophy is, “You’re the expert, you should handle these kids and not send them out of your room!” Our union doesn’t get involved with bullying from students and it’s hard to get them involved with bullying from administration. It doesn’t matter though because soon we will have no bargaining rights and no union.
    I am retiring this year, but I feel very badly for the young teachers who have to work under these conditions. I, too, will put a copy of this much needed reading in our teacher’s lounge

  • Alternate perspective

    Yes, bullying is a pervasive issue in all workplace situations. Let me propose an alternate perspective to the one presented in the article. Admin often don’t do their jobs and evaluate teachers in a timely or comprehensive fashion. That being said, they effectively tie their hands in getting rid of “ineffective” teachers. The only recourse they have right now is to go by the book, evaluate test scores, evaluate achievement results, and put teachers on a growth plan. The only way that you get “fired” is by not following the growth plan. If they are singling you out and there are others that aren’t being held to the same standard, then you might have a case in court. So the alternate perspective, might be that the admin in the article was finally doing their job and motivating an ineffective teacher to shape up or ship out. There is a very good chance that the system failed this educator and did not give him/her guidance during their career. How do we know that this teacher was not simply ineffective and the perceived “bullying” was the admin finally doing their job? We will probably see much more of this as the evaluation systems are redefined nationwide.

  • Judy

    This is so true, and extremely prevelent. The administration at my former school is constantly targeting educators each year, for no apparent reason.
    In a “Right-To-Work” state, the teacher’s unions are limited in how they can assist. I know…………I was targeted, as were many before me, and many more since my departure. Something has to be done about this………it
    ruins people’s lives.

    When our county school board changed to “school based management” is when the trouble really began. The administration has too much power and there are less resources and less support from the county for educators. The administration is free to do whatever they want without repercussions. I have seen and heard lying, cheating, stealing, falsehoods, targeting, etc.
    from this administration. FEA has received numerous complaints against this administration, but there is apparently not much that can be done. The school’s atmosphere has changed drastically. Trust has been lost. Educators
    working together, supporting each other, congeniality and comraderie, and supporting student learning, has all deteriorated. Teachers walk on eggshells wondering if or when they will be unfairly and relentlessly targeted. This makes for a very poor working atmosphere.

    We don’t allow students to bully each other. Adults shouldn’t be allowed to do it either. It’s ridiculous, unnecessary, immature, and an ongoing problem.

  • Linda

    I agree. This happens all the time.
    Pulling children into the office and quizzing them.
    Being a teacher has turned into a popularity contest.
    I considered it a compliment if they did not like me.
    Then I knew that I was towing the line of doing my job
    including respect for all.
    If you are ‘friend’ then you are not a good teacher.
    There is a difference between being a ‘friend’ and a ‘parent’ also.
    I have seem many teachers cross the line and hope they do
    not get themselves in a bind.
    Times are changing. It is the way of thinking that can make a difference.
    People have very high expectations.
    It really does take more than a village to raise a child.

  • G

    post anonymously

    Let’s not forget the societal bullying. After spending time, money, effort…our lives…trying to help children succeed, we go home to media messages about our worthlessness. How many “evil teacher” articles have you seen? Our state recently opted out of NCLB. The headline? “State may use own measures to assess and punish schools.” Teaching is my calling, and I dread going back this fall. We should not have to sacrifice our lives, our families, and our health, to educate others’ children.

  • Secret Teacher

    I am living a NIGHTMARE!
    I reported a sexual harassment to my principal. After that, I have suffered emotionally, in the hands of the same administrator and district human resources, 14 months of being bullied. After 28 years of almost perfect evaluations, my principal gave me the worse evaluation ever, put me on a growth plan, and then finally the district did not renew my teaching contract. They asked me to resign, but I refused, I appealed the non-renewal, got an attorney and the principal lied on the stand, 1 hour of lies.

    I lost my job, and have been devastated. I filed with the EEOC, but they dismissed my case. Now I have an attorney and they are fighting for me.

    My principal is the biggest bully that I have ever seen or met. But guess what he still has a job and I lost my job, because I stood up to him. We advocate anti-bullying but it is omnipresent in our school system.
    I know that my believe in God will prevail, and Carma is a beach.

  • Carol McNair

    What is really a tragedy is the Union’s response to this issue. The NEA lawyer in VT told me that, “Some administrators aren’t nice. There is nothing we can do about it.” That is bologna! The NEA seems to only want to support bad teachers who should not be in the classroom, or trying to get schools to go on strike. We pay a lot of money for their services. I for one am a very dissatisfied customer. I have had to quit my job and take my case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Union could have stepped in and helped me out long before it got to this point 🙁 Bullying is not tolerated by students, and it should not be tolerated by our administrations!

  • Sergio Flores

    Help in on the way! NEA delegates pass an NBI that deals with bullying teachers. NEA will educate its members on what constitutes bullying, encourage members to use their chapters to speak up, and help them by understanding what constitutes bullying. With the information both the teachers and the associations can come up with ideas and plans to stop the bullying. This was a greate step on the right direction.

  • Claudia

    We have a principal bullying teachers at the high school where I’ve been teaching for 24 years. Union representation only works IF your union is willing to support you! We had a meeting with our union president after one of our teachers was severely beaten up by students, several teachers had gotten written reprimands on nonsensical and even false charges, and multiple meetings of the staff with the administration had brought no changes but, rather, outright stonewalling at well-thought out discipline plans to get the adults back in charge of running the school rather than the students! This union president, who is supposed to represent us, told us to “stay under the radar”, “not rock the boat”, and was absolutely useless! A group of us finally had enough and went outside the union and file a Concern, a process that is within our contractual rights, but does not involve the union at all. After multiple meetings, including one with the superintendent, we went to the Board of Education meeting and presented the situation to them, asking that the Concern be put on next month’s agenda. The president of the board considered it enough of a concern to call a special board meeting prior to the beginning of the next school year to work on getting this situation resolved. After the meeting we decided we had to find a replacement union president – – one who will do the job he/she is elected to do!

  • Dr. Painter

    I am a National Board Certified Teacher with a Ph.D. in Curriculum, and I am association rep for my building. After surviving 8 years under a bullying, lying, deceitful principal, my health has suffered terribly. This principal called high school students into her office and used them as spies to report on teachers. She had students surreptitiously video a teacher using their cell phones, attempting to catch him doing something wrong. Somehow he lost his job, but the school system did not fire her. I would like to see NEA offer practical workshops for teachers in buildings under siege from bullies. I recommend the book “Breaking the Silence: Overcoming the Problem of Principal Mistreatment of Teachers” by Joseph Blase and Jo Blase (Corwin Press, 2003).

  • Matilda

    In our school, teachers are required to take up textbooks at the end of the school year. Each book weighs eight pounds, and every teacher has around 135 students. In addition to taking up the books and logging them in on a computer program, we are required to stack the books IN NUMERICAL ORDER on a shelf, no more than six books to a stack. The administrator who came to check on my books criticized me in a very snide manner for stacking the books too high,(I used all the shelf space I had). For having duplicate numbers (those extra books came from a teacher whose job had been eliminated), and for having a book out of numerical order. That book came in very late. I guess I was expected to shift fifty books so that I could put the last one in numerical order. Other teachers have husbands and/or sons they can call upon to help shift heavy stacks of books, but I don’t. I had to pay someone to lift and organize the books because I had too many special education duties to complete. I took home my set of “Great Books of the Western World” to make shelf space which will be used for about four weeks during the school year. But who needs reference materials, right?

  • Stephen warner

    My sister-in law was bullied out of her class by students who jointly decided to fail the district required end of year test. Their zeros were recorded against her and after 23 years of excellent ratings she was put on probation. The “new” reward system of pay in Louisiana would have cut her pay 20 percent. She will make more drawing early retirement.

  • Lilypew

    I started last school year being being transferred, called to a meeting with administrators and union rep (the pres) and being told that my new principal had concerns about me being a trouble maker because I had continually questioned why my special ed unit was forced to share a room with another unit when there were other options available (it was a very inappropriate room and situation). I was told that if I made waves at the building I was transferred to I would be put in 1/2 of a room again. It was clear to me that I was being threatened.

    I do have a history of pushing back against the canned programs we have been required to use and the lack of pedagogy in much of the decisions made by administrators. I also have a history of not staying quiet when I have been bullied.

    I teach students with multiple disabilities, half with orthopedic impairments, who need walkers, crutches, and wheelchairs. And I was placed on the 2nd floor. The principal knew this because I had brought it up at the summer meeting and a custodian had told me that they had questioned my classroom on the 2nd floor before I had been moved into the new building. the building has an elevator, but it is locked in case of fire.

    One of my students, who is wheelchair bound, and his parents and grandfather came into the classroom before the school year started. They were angry that we had been placed and the 2nd floor and wanted to know what we would do in case of fire. I told him I had been told we had “slings” to get students down the steps, but I had not seen one or been trained as of yet. There is also an apparatus that can be used to get one student down, but the student would have to be wheeled out to safety in the apparatus before it could be used again. The grandfather (who had been a volunteer fireman) was very angry. He went to the next BOE meeting and made a huge fuss.

    I was called out of my classroom in mid September to find out that I was being investigated by administration. I was placed in a room with 5 administrators, the union rep (president of local and in the pockets of admin) was there as well. I was being witch-hunted. (I stated this several times). This was the first of several meetings with the result being 2 write-ups in my file, both untrue, because the admins had screwed up and the fire chief had been called in to investigate the situation and the district was embarrassed by the grandfather. But I was at fault.

    The second half of the year included a parent of a student with profound autism accusing me of discrimination because she was under investigation for child abuse and wanted the attention to be placed elsewhere. It was time-consuming, stressful, and once again, unfounded.

    I can’t afford to change careers, I have too many years to retirement, and have become very cynical of our education system and despise administrators.
    But, I still give my all to my students and have a very successful classroom with 8 students and 2 para-professionals.

  • I’ve been an elementary school teacher and middle school counselor for over 34 years. I was never bullied by administrators, perhaps because I was a union representative for 14 years. I had differences with some admin. but worked it out, sometimes in a compromise. Teachers did come to me for help when they were treated unfairly. I did experience teachers bullying each other and trying to bully me. Most of all, it was parents that bullied. My wife teaches and has had parents try to bully her. I say try, because we don’t allow ourselves to get into confrontational situations, especially when parents are aggressive and threatening. We are confronted with aggressive language and unreasonable behavior and need to know how to deal with it at the moment it occurs. Counselors were advised to have the school police officer stop by the office when we would have a meeting with a parent that had a history of being confrontational/aggressive/verbally abusive. Sometimes a colleague would be asked to sit in on the meetings, often to discuss their child’s inappropriate behaviors(bullying/fighting). I would often provide a list of services available for the parent and child. All school staff have a right to expect that their school is a safe place in which to work and that appropriate action will take place to protect them from abuse, threats or violence by parents and other adults.

  • Patricia

    This story is all about my life. After being injured by 2 students who were running in the hallways, I had two surgeries and months of various therapies. During this time, my principal asked me to resign because he needed someone who would be there for the students. My attendance history was impeccable prior to his injury on the job. The union representative asked me if I would give him th e letter of resignation and I said no. It then became a quid pro quo situation where I had to give a letter of resignation or I would get an unsatisfactory rating. I did not give the letter so I got an unsatisfactory rating. My paperwork was disapproved each month despite the DOE medical division sending updates to the school that I was unfit to work. My direct deposit was discontinued and I now had to wait an extra week to receive my checks. I was not paid for sometimes 4-5 months since the dates had to be approved and there is only 1 doctor doing this in the largest school system in the country. My benefits and salary was retroactively canceled…by mistake; leaving me for months without benefits (unable to go to physical therapy) and a salary. I had to postpone completing my doctorate for 1 1/2 years because of all of this. I am now unable to find employment since I cannot secure the necessary recommendations from any of the school’s administrators, despite being the top performing teacher on the state tests, a lead teacher, and a very active member/leader in the school. The assistant principals are all afraid of being targeted themselves. Not only did my physical health suffer, but psychologically I was deteriorating. The pain, medication, and harassment started to take a toll on me and I am now on a Leave of Absence Without Pay. The union representatives for the school and the district both work in the school and are more concerned with protecting their jobs than the teachers. They refuse to grieve any of the principal’s egregious acts. There is so much teacher oversight, but none on princpals…WHY?

  • Thomas

    Bullying is a huge problem. But… Come on unions, you need to stand up and stop caving into everything. I have watched the unions like the MTA and NEA reverse course on so many issues like merit pay, and how about all the new evaluation procedures in Mass and New York that our unions let in? Of course there will be more bullying! Teachers are continually giving in on these types of things and then when we have given the administrators all that power they will abuse it. Wake up, the unions must fight again and I am talking about the guys and gals at the top. Stop giving in to politics! Fight this stuff. A new law might help, but stop giving administrators so much power. It wasn’t like this 15 years ago when I started teaching.

  • A Fed up teacher

    Yes my last principal was a well known bully within the district (Fremont in California). He took great joy in going after effective teachers every year because he felt intimidated by his lack of teaching experience & only wanted a staff that he felt qualified to evaluate. He even bullied certain students! Sadly, by protecting him, our school board & superintendent created an unsafe environment for both students and teachers. I was given a non rehire when the previous year he had given me a stellar recommendation and even fought for me to come back to his school! Many wonderful teachers are leaving education because of inept, incompetent principals who do not understand what is necessary to run a school and focus on bullying those who are only trying to make schools safe for everyone AND meet the standards!

    • FL Teacher

      I also had a similar situation. The principal at the school where I taught, never once had a conversation with me. The climate survey came back so low that she was ordered to put together a “Morale Committee”. Unfortunately, she put an administrator in charge and the conversation and plans became about employee potlucks for bonding although there were a few of us that suggested we consider the conditions of the workplace that could be improved (i.e. instead of having a 1 hour jeopardy game with the employee manual during planning week, have teachers read it online and sign a pledge that they understand it–we’re adults, stop robbing us of precious time), but that was considered “negative” and the principal showed up at the next meeting to intimidate and keep the conversation about employee relations, not teacher-administration issues *i.e testing schedules, etc.)

  • PTSD sufferer

    I was the victim of severe bullying over the course of 6 years at the hand of my principal (who has since left our district). At the end of her first year, 16 staff members retired, including the bulk of my respected and celebrated department. As time wore on, it became obvious to my colleagues, union, and students that I had a target on my back. I went on disability several times during her tyrannical reign, including 8 months of 1 school year where I was hospitalized for chest pain & confined to my home for several months from anxiety. Every part of my life was fair game for this woman – my teaching, my relationships with both colleagues & students, my health, my weight, my faith, and the drama department that I directed. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2005 and still suffer the ramifications of her victimization even though she is gone. I have never fully recovered. My teaching is no longer an act of passion, but a job. I gave up drama for quite some time, but am blessed to be able to help out a new director this year. Even though I was a target, it is really the students who suffered & still suffer the most losing an amazing teacher for one just going through the motions.

    • Sheila Yee

      School districts, even though they claim to want diversity and creativity, are still more inclined to keep status quo.

      • Val E. Forge

        Yea, a school district’s definition of diversity is that everyone looks different but thinks alike.

  • J

    I work in Long Beach, Ca where certain administrators have a reputation for bullying. The one that I had this year was notorious. He would ignore student work that I had up on the walls and in observations say that I had nothing posted. When I confronted students who brought baseball bats to class or were riding skateboards I got written up for it. He would coerce parents, pull them in his office and use it against me. The worst is he gave me a final evaluation without even observing me. Then he sent it to my home even though they knew I was out of state on bereavement leave. I am currently on administrative leave and will be so when the school year starts this fall. They will not continue to push me around and I will eventually have my time in court.
    This is why we all need a union and good representation.

  • Poeman9

    If you don’t want to be bullied, avoid employment as a teacher with the Seminole Tribe. If we teachers report the bullying schools and administrations, perhaps we can ride the profession of evil administrators. Good luck out there.

  • Let me tell you about my wife’s story.She has voted “Citizen of the year.”Most outstanding teacher of the year(twice)by the students,Teacher of the Year(by the SchoolAdministrations)eight times,four different school districts.Mentor teacher for four years.Cited by the Mayor,and two State Senators for her work with children.This is her 50th.year teaching.She loves it THAT much!She has been bullied the past six years,by the Principal and two of her PET teacher’s.She was suspended for three weeks(this year)accused by the “pets”which proved to be a lie,as witnessed by the parents of the child.The parents DEMANDED that “their Teacher”be back in the classroom immediatly.Not only were there NO apologies given,other teacher’s were told my wife was “ill”,and took some time off.We took this to the CTA,and were told they can’t do anything about it,because it’s teacher against teacher.We then hired a very well known lawyer(whom deals with these cases),and are biding our time.I guess “texting”back and forth(instead of teaching the kids)is what school is all about.The three of them LOVE to do it,it keeps them informed,of what the “other”teacher’s are doing and saying.

  • colossus7311

    It is painful to see this happening everywhere. I recently was bullied out of my position and had to take a teaching job out of state. The investigation done in my behalf proved inconclusive, and I was falsely accused of things I didn’t day or do. The principal did nothing. I wasn’t given any due process, and the district administration controls my references. Parents are exploiting the opportunity to bully teachers and weak administration.

  • musicmom79

    I had to undergo a hearing this summer because a few parents (1 a school board member, 3 employees of the district) want a large school vocal music program in a small school district. I feel like a leper in my own hometown. We’re told to be professional and keep quiet about the abuse so we can’t rally any support. I’m sorry to hear this is happening elsewhere. Thought it was just small town politics of people w/ a power problem. Even though I’ve been able to retain my job part time, I really don’t want to work in a place that would treat people like that. Even two fellow union members tattled on me in aid of administration. It will be hard to work somewhere where I feel I have no friends and can trust no one. I’ve applied for 10 or more jobs and have had no phone calls. Wondering if I’m being blackballed or with the budget crunches if no one is hiring teachers w/ 20 years or more experience.

  • in the same boat

    I normally don’t look at all the comments on an article. This article just called out to me. I am also being bullied by administration. The lies they tell to protect themselves is unbelieveable. In the last 6 years I have had an admin do an evaluation just once in the six year with all the previous ones being stellular. In the last 3 years education is on a great decline. Year after year I have students transferred into my classroom because”the other teachers can’t handle them in their classroom.” I work with these students to show them what they will need to be successful after high school. I am one of the teachers that stays very late. THis has no bearing on administration. They believe lies and use their power to degrade and demoralize us. At our school the moral is at an all time low. Many of us have been issued gag orders not allowing us to talk about what is going on in school.

    THis is a second career for me as I went back to college when I had young children. I wanted to pursue a lifelong dream of being a teacher. Working in banking, factory, and food service was not providing the satisfaction in my life. My husband, children and I made great sacrifices for me to do this. This work experience is what I bring to the classroom.

    It doesn’t matter anymore. Collegues and Admin can tell lies and get away with it. I had union rep. a trusted college and it still doesn’t matter. I was suspended because of an on going medical issue (I showed up late to work 2 minutes late). Test scores and statistics is what teaching is now the about. I worry about this set of kids going through school. They are not learning–They are memorizing test info for the district to look good in the media. Students certainly don’t know how to troubleshoot or have good study skills. Look at the national statisics and talk to the employers hiring young kids. They are also frustrated.

    Until Education goes back to being about teaching kids how to solve everyday problems and shows kids how to learn, the schools are going to stuggle. They best thing we can do is to take polictics out of it and get the power away from administrators who are so far removed from the classroom they have no clue how to teach.

    Stay strong an pray and hope somebody becomes sensible and we can turn the negativity associated with our profession around. Where I live you don’t even want to admit you are a teacher because of all the negative publicity.

  • Monique

    I am a veteran teacher of 34 yrs. In my tenure, I personally witnessed bullying by 2 principals & 2 superintendents. The 1st time was another principal in my school system. He demanded that I attend an after school meeting, with no warning. I was required to attend a graduate class, for my final course, that same day. He said, “I don’t care.” I defied him & dealt with the ramifications the next day. I explained that I was “between a rock & a hard place” & he refused to assist. My own principal stood up for me, which I appreciated. The 2nd time was a superintendent. He came to my grade level team to ASK if we would be interested in doing a “study” with him, involving one, 2 hr. “class” after school per week for 6 months and reading a textbook. (like taking a college class- probably doing HIS doctorate work). My husband had health problems at this time, & our children were young. After attending the 1st after-school session, I called & told him that I could not participate due to personal issues. He tried to bully me by saying, ” I can’t believe you don’t want to improve yourself professionally”. I was 40 yrs. old & finally had the strength to “fight back”. I told him that I had given 100%+ for the 17 yrs. I had taught & reminded him that he “asked” if we would like to participate. I felt more pride in myself than ever before! The 3rd time was another superintendent who was supposedly hired to be a “hatchet” person. She, singlehandedly, caused 4 teachers ( 2 of whom I worked with & were excellent & went on to teach in better systems with better pay- goo for them!) to lose their jobs, just to prove her power. The Bd. of Ed. was a group of idiots, one of whom I knew personally & refused to listen to me, a professional/friend, (I thought). This woman was finally PAID, an undisclosed amount, to get the h— out, only after ruining the system for many years to come. What is incredibly sad/unbelievable is that she is/has been a principal in another, elementary school in another town since then. I cannot imagine how many OTHER lives she has ruined. This was a CLEAR case of bullying, which the union could do nothing about. The 4th was another principal, who was SO RUDE to at least 13 employees who have “told their tale”. As far as I was concerned, she “rap– the system” for 5 yrs. HUGE BULLYING issue that was completely ignored by a wimpy superintendent!

  • Riverdog

    My Wife is a Media Clerk at a School in Florida. She has been bullied for years at her position. Her School over the past 10 years has had 4 different Principals. Each Principal passes their opinions to the next never allowing her to get a fresh start and a fair shake. Her Union Rep knows what is going on. There is simply nothing her Rep can do about my Wife’s situation. Budget cuts have added more duties to her schedule my Wife understands that. When she asked the asst. Principal how she was to get her normal work load accomplished ? She was told to make the time ( that is no lie ) So she works through her breaks and lunch to get everything done.

  • Heavensst

    Have experienced this myself, both personally and in a group. School Districts/Superintendents should be ashamed to allow bullies as administrators. We encourage our students not to bully each other and punish them (sometimes) when they do, yet administrators are allowed to do it daily to the staff. I was sitting in a professional development where our comments were supposed to be torn up when the activity was over and several of the comments were about being bullied by the principal. She (the principal) then decided to collect the slips so she could look them over. We all threw a fit and the asst. principal convinced the principal to let her tear them up. I have lost all respect for public school districts and the public school system itself. I am finished with teaching and if my children were younger, I would home school or put them in private school.

  • Pushed out Cougar

    I was harassed by one principal for four years. I was considered negative about technology. This person also listened to anyone who had something negative to say about anyone. I was probably sandbagged by a fellow teacher. I was considered unprofessional, made to do a list of inane tasks that had very little to do with teaching. I was humiliated in front of my colleagues and my union wasn’t able to call a stop to it. I too suffered health issues and was absent way more than I have ever been. I find it interesting that so many people are so committed to this profession and when they are pushed out they are physically effected. We are too nice. We have to help each other. We have to have strong leadership at every level.

  • Ed Bufford

    An NBI was brought up by Sergio (above at 11:55) at the NEA-RA that would require the NEA to provide more resources to teachers and leaders as to how to address and deal with “adult” bullies. Yes, unions often say “we can’t represent teacher vs. teacher”. That’s not the issue. The issue is informing ALL victims of bullying how to fight back, what steps to take, and how terminate this type of behavior. There are few laws to protect us. Bullying is often difficult to “document”, because the bully is usually very rehearsed as to how to avoid “documentation”. Thank God for those who hang themselves with abusive emails, witnessed abusive language, etc, but they are few and far between. It is out of hand, and many are encouraged to be the bullies they are by rogue superintendents who either encourage such behavior or turn a blind eye. It MUST be addressed more aggressively, and Sergio’s NBI will help. Interestingly, I was the only one speaking “for” the NBI and there was apparently only one speaking against. The NEA president chose to use that as his reason to ask the 10,000 voters if they wanted to close debate. Two-thirds did, indeed, agree to close debate, but I will always find that type of action to be deplorable. The NBI “passed” only after a standing vote count. It could easily have been defeated, and it would have been because of literally no debate. State delegations had, for the most part, already made a state decision. What were the state “no” votes based on? Apparently, the fact that this issue is “addressed” in resolutions. Too many things are “addressed” in resolutions, without resulting in enough “action”. The NBI introduced, and fortunately passed, will, hopefully, increase the amount of “direction” and resources from NEA that will help the multitude of public educations being bullied have a better understanding of their options.

  • Hobo1957

    It is no wonder so many young people struggle with ethical and social issues. The environment that they spend most of the day in is full of many adults (administators, board members, teachers, classified staff) who often display unkind, cruel and unprofessional behaviors towards others. Most likely, these “professionals” got away with these behaviors when they attended elementary, middle and high school. It is no wonder that they chose to work in public education. Many of us who have had to deal with being bullied, in the work place, are the hard working and ethical teachers who were not the most popular students when growing up. It is easy to harass us because we are easy to figure out and spend most of our energy on our job duties rather than on popularity contests and politics. The local techers unions have let there influence be compromised and it is now each man for him/herself. How many times have we read, in others’ postings that the union/NEA refused to help the individual teacher when things got serious and their jobs were threatened or they were fired????? TOO OFTEN is the answer. I changed careers in mid-life to work in this profession. I cannot even begin to express my heartbreak and disappointment. If anyone knows of a good employment lawyer is Southern California, I would appreciate having their name being posted. All of our stories are a testimony to this ever growing problem and it will be the downfall of freee public education.

  • Mrs.Claudia A.Katz

    I was bullied several years ago by three new colleagues and a principal.Iwas surprised and devastated.I suffered grately emotionally and physically!

  • Jean

    As an educator there is also bulling by students toward teachers. Some young people have no disipline at home and they do not respect disipline at school. When I was young (I am 53 now) if we did not treate our elders with respect we were beat. I am not a mass murderer. Since spankings have stopped our young people have deteriated. They think it is funny to bully teachers.

  • Katharine

    Been there. Worst things I did was continue in that district and try to discuss the situation. Unbelievable as it was to me 26 years ago, I see it as the biggest single problem in education. It is rooted in principals and district officials have little classroom experience and constantly trying to move up. An educator knows the top job in education is classroom teacher. I have had student told to write unsigned complaints….I also have had students notice the bullying and report it to their parents and/or complain to the principal. If kids see their teachers bullied by the school leaders, words against bullying will not add up to much. Actions do speak louder than words.

    This bullying takes the form of scheduling, evaluations, and snide remarks. No wonder the average new teacher last less than five years.

  • Joan Baldwin

    I’m glad to hear this is being noticed and others are receiving help. Unfortunately for me, I needed to hire my own lawyer.PSEA was not interested until a did, costing me a couple thousand dollars. I never had a problem until the hiring of a specific person. Others in my school had similar difficulties around the same time. I was just one of the favorite targets.

  • Lynn Welsh

    My blood pressure goes right up reading these comments. I can’t believe this is so prevalent. I have been bullied for the past three years by my principal. I was accused by students and their parent of saying and doing things that weren’t true. No support at all from the principal. I was put into two schools part time to” protect” the children from me. Then I had two principals scrutinizing me, lying about me and making unreasonable demands. By the time I was terminated( on the basis of letters from elementary students in a group coached by the school “Spy”chologist) I was so exhausted and traumatized that I wanted to just leave for home. The union tried. I could have gotten a lawyer but a colleague attempted to fight back in his case and even with the accusing student admitting the teacher did no wrong he was terminated. The district is even denying him unemployment. Is it our age, salary or unstable principals?

  • Fearful School Nurse

    I too have recently filed a bullying in the work place grievance to be told that there is no bullying in the work place policy for staff, only for students!
    I too fear for my job, and I am a NEA member, but they too seem to be at a loss?
    I have done nothing wrong, I am receiving Memos of Understanding and Formal Reprimands for no proven reason?
    Any change/new policies are a must; we really need to do something about this!

  • Retired Teacher

    I , too, reported sexual abuse of 12 students by the same teacher. I was transferred, filed a grievance and won, and then my life made a living hell by the principal!!! I survived him, kept copious notes and someday when I can write about it without my blood pressure going sky high, I will.

  • Russ

    This has been going on in districts for years. If you don’t agree with a teacher, he/she goes to the administration and says things about you. If he/she is senior to you, it’s believed; sometimes believed regardless, but not disclosed. Later in the year, something possibly occurs and you talk to an administrator, and they begin to bring up complaint(s) by someone (they WILL never tell you out of so-called confidentiality who you’re accuser was) from earlier in the year. Or you have a department head that just decides they don’t like you cause you are possibly a threat to them because you are a good teacher? The small ticky-tack accusations come from out of nowhere. Oh, this was one is great–the good ole boy administrator that doesn’t know a thing about special education, never walks in your classroom, and decides to bring you in the office cause a paraprofessional made a complaint…usually a complaint cause you were trying to teach them how to work with a child, but they don’t like you. I have seen all kinds of bullying and idiotic behavior from fellow teachers in my career..in my direction, and most of these examples towards others that I witnessed. I left a school district for the example of the dept. head harrassing me. The others were other people that were involved.

  • Catcher

    3 years ago I was horribly bullied by a group of students. They were organized and bad a leader. It was akin to the movie Mean Girls. Met with parent of one who said her daughter had done it to another teacher and there was nothing she could do…said it was because of a traumatic divorce in their household. In the meantime, I’m still repairing broken ties from that situation, the principal was swept up in it and my 10 year old little boy now thinks that this young woman ….the leader of the pack …must be behind everything bad that happens in our family. I did receive notes from some of the “bystander” parents…notes of empathy and apology. Wish they had taken leadership roles. Facebook and social media had a lot to do with it. Never seen anything like it in 18 years!

  • James

    When I was bullied by a principal and vice principal it was horrible. Not only was I bullied, I was abandoned… My colleagues didn’t want to associate with me because they were frightened for themselves. The union supported administration saying simply, “Their allowed to do this…” I felt like I was part of Kafka’s “The Trial.”
    I eventually sought legal counsel, and was saved for the profession. Standardized tests (and corporatization of education) are serving this behavior. From what I have seen/heard, they are learning how disguise bullying as “support.” What can we do…? The lawyer was $5000. I don’t think I could afford that again…

  • Concerned

    What can be done? My school is being investigated by our local union, but it seems as if nobody is really willing to help the teachers. It is a helpless feeling to watch a teacher be harassed by the administration and fellow teachers. I just keep praying it all works out.

  • Sandra

    This story is SO SIMILAR to my story from a couple years ago it’s not even funny!!! My principal did the exact same thing as far as pulling students out of my class as well as other classes to discuss me. The examining of relationships with students and parents was also under review! We have to stop situations like this from happening!!!
    A group of girls had it out for me and organized an effort to “get rid” of me. It was the most stressful year of my teaching career!

  • Kate Campbell

    For the first time in my career (which began in 1973) I would NOT encourage a young person I care about to become a classroom teacher. I have a really good administration and feel extremely fortunate to have good colleagues, but I have heard enough horror stories to believe that the profession is held in such low esteem that the abuse is only going to get worse. If we want to get smart young people to choose teaching, we had better start changing the way we treat teachers, on the macro and micro level.

    • Val E. Forge

      I started in 1985 and I tend to agree with you, Kate. I’m glad I only have a few more years left to go.

    • lordblazer

      I am just glad I have a huge professional and personal network. I am moving to Canada for a bit then to either Taiwan or Singapore.. But yea won’t be in America for long. born and raised here, but having seen the world and having the friends that I do. I can do much better. I don’t trap myself in bad situations.

    • MW

      I too have discouraged young college students to rethink teaching due to my experiences with principal bullying. That and the politics are becoming ridiculous and unattainable for many we teach. Going into a profession which has the possibility of contaminating one psychologically, emotionally, your health and well being is not worth the time, money and efforts put forth to attain a career which you may be pushed from and negatively impacted by!

  • Russ

    The pulling out of students, talking to your coworkers, etc…it’s all a scheme to build up a “so called” paper trail against you. You don’t find out about it until it’s too late, and your union rep. tells you there’s nothing to do…that this is done all the time…sorry…and so on.

    It’s all really sad.

  • Inay

    After my first year teaching, I have seen teachers bullied by students, staff bullying other staff, and admin bullying teachers. When did so many become so jaded?

  • Sarah

    I am so glad this issue is finally being discussed, and hope that some action will be taken to address this. I am also a teacher who has been bullied in the schools. I have received excellent evaluations from 99% of the administrators, yet that doesn’t matter. For fear of being recognized and retaliated against, I won’t go into the details. Bullying is all too common in the schools. Some administrators have acknowledged it to a certain degree, but I think they are too afraid to confront the bullies because they have allowed the bullies to have enough power to cause them significant grief. An educational institute should be a place where this is absolutely unacceptable. We should be creating an atmosphere of acceptance and give recognition to the positive achievements of people who have given so much to provide a quality education to all students. The bullies in the school have caused me more stress than the parents or students. This has to stop. What can be done about it?

  • Mimi

    Um… I’m speechless. We don’t get out of our workplace enough to realize what a problem this is. My Principal has been a bully to me up till this last year. She got sick and our school population was low, so she laid out a lot of the micromanaging this year.
    It started when she was AP. I was sick and missed a day of work. She and my teacher’s aid came in and re-decorated my room. She took all my papers and stacked them into one pile. She took all my teaching books and stacked them in another pile. I cam in the next day (still sick) and couldn’t find anything. She spent the next hour in my classroom asking me where everything was. I had no clue because she had moved it all! She then went on to berate my best and brightest Kindergartener for coloring a banana purple. We had not talked about coloring things the correct color yet (no one on the team had). I was told that the principal was very worried about my teaching and that he was planning on taking disciplinary action. I hadn’t heard ANYTHING from our principal, so I called him that evening bawling. He told me that he had not problem with what I was doing and that he would tell her that “We don’t harass our teachers.” Our principal retired the next year. I begged him to not let her be the next principal. We had no choice.
    She came in and was just as rude as before. She told us we had to lie about the mold issues going on at the school. She would often yell at the entire faculty for something that a parent or someone outside of the faculty had done. She threatened me with disciplinary action every year and threatened the entire staff with disciplinary action during a faculty meeting one day.
    She kicked my niece (who has Downs Syndrome) out of the school in kindergarten after being there only 10 days. They tried no other interventions and her behavior chart papers were all adequate. What was the reason? It was either her or the teacher and they were going to keep the teacher. This is clearly against IDEA laws and my sister did hire a lawyer. She didn’t take it all the way to court but did write a nasty letter to the county, the school, and the county lawyer.
    I was called out of my class that I was teaching and our guidance counselor was called into an office with me (I guess to prove she wasn’t doing anything wrong) and she screamed at me in my face about the letter my sister had written. I didn’t even write the letter. The letter said something about the possiblity of me being harassed because of this issue and the thing she was screaming at me was, “How dare she think we would harass you! We don’t do that here!” She was bright red and for once, I felt empowered. So I backed up into a desk and stared her right into her infuriated eyes and said, “Yes Ma’am” and “No Ma’am.” That’s all I said, but I felt a little taller and said it with fire in my eyes. Eventually that issue died down.
    I was still having issues with how to teach the autistic kids mainstreamed into my class. They would scream through my lessons and I could not tell them to leave. So, I went to ask for help. I was told that they were my students and it was my job to teach them. I wanted training, so that is what I was asking for. The answer I got was that it was my job to teach them. So, my sister had heard about this state run group that was there for that very reason. She kept telling me to contact this person. I did so, not knowing that this was usurping powers that be. I just wanted to know how to help my students. I wasn’t meeting any of their needs and was heavily stressed out about it. I was called into the office and was asked why I had called. I explained to the AP what was going on and that I had been told that there were resources that would train me and that I was looking to learn to meet the needs of this population. My AP seemed to think it was an adequate answer. My principal told us to seek out ways to learn if there were areas we didn’t know about. I assumed she would see it the same way. My principal came in and immediately started taking me in circles with “why did you call them? You shouldn’t have called them.” I’d tell her why and she would then take me around the circle again, “Why did you call them? You should have come to us.” I told her that I had. She told me that I had been really “smart alec” with her and that my behavior that day was not appropriate. She then asked again, “Why didn’t you ask us for help? Why did you call them?” I asked for the school union rep because I was crying by this point and it had been a half an hour going around in circles. We went around for another half hour with the same questions that I had already answered.
    I am still at the same school. I know there are some people with worse admin. I’ve started just sitting in my room and not really taking part in any activity beyond my room. That has worked well for me this year.
    Hopefully, it will work well next year.
    I have worked very hard to leave the school prior to this year. I still want to leave, yet I like where I live and the friends I have. I have applied to a school outside of my state this year and may apply to a county school outside my county.
    Tenure and longer contracts have been done away with in our state. It makes me nervous looking for a job outside my county and the school I am in is the closest one to my house in the county I teach.
    I am hoping that this year will be as good as last year and that I can stay under the radar. My principal really soft petals things around people who have injuries. I injured my knee and she seems to have softened toward me.
    I don’t know. The whole thing makes me nervous still.
    I see a Psychiatrist for anxiety (gee- what would I have to be anxious about?) and he wants me to find a job in another school. I just haven’t been able to find one.

  • Hobo1957

    I can related to James (3:46 pm) when he states that he was abandoned by his colleagues. Sometimes, it even goes as far as colleagues being “recruited” to be bullies so that it is difficult for the administration to be held legally responsible and held accountable.

    Another teacher posted that teachers’ relationships with parents and families can be scrutinized. This is especially true when you are in special education (and sometimes general education) where the administation is fearful of Fair Hearings because they are often not following State and Federal laws and policies. Especailly now, it is ALL about the money or lack of it. They can be denied funding if they have too many complaints and often the educator is placed in a no win ethical dilema.

    If the teachers help the parents/students attempt to get services for their children they are labeled “untrustworthy” and “difficult” by the district. So many simply “accept” that it is best to remain silent and hope the parents figure it out on their own, if ever.

    Let’s face it, the fear in public education is rampid and school site administrators and superintendants are TERRIFIED of change. The voucher system and charter schools will prevail if our educational leaders do not begin to ACT instead of REACT like they have done for so many decades. Quality leadership and vision must come from the top.

  • Alternate perspective

    Interesting. My alternate perspective piece is now being hidden due to a low comment rating. This is like a form of bullying. Its a shame that this system is set up so that you only see comments that people agree with. Just because you don’t agree with a comment does not mean that it should be hidden. I would encourage NEA to rethink how they organize this site, otherwise its just self congratulatory rather than though provoking.

    As a teacher and department head have seen both sides. Some of this perceived bullying is simply admin doing their job and getting rid of the ineffective teachers. I hate to say it, but in my capacity as a public school teacher I think that there at least 25% of the teachers are ineffective and need to leave the profession. Granted there aren’t a lot of people knocking at the door to become teachers. Little respect, low pay, etc. The goal should be to identify these “ineffective teachers” provide training, professional, development, etc. and only encourage them to leave if things don’t change.

    Look at how this system is set up. Teachers can’t really be fired, but they can be “encouraged” to find a different school or different profession. Another way to say this is bullied to find another school or profession. The problem is how our “tenured” system is set up. It should be much harder to earn tenure. Bad admin who don’t do their job, spoil it for the rest of us when the let “bad” teachers earn tenure. Set the standards high and then keep them there.

  • Jim Hamm

    My wife was driven out of her teaching position by a principal who bullied her constantly. Our eldest daughter who was a minor at the time was very ill and hospitalized, fearing Leukemia. My wife took a couple of days to stay with her in the hospital. On her return to work, her boss told her that she knew out daughter was sick but the world didn’t stop. Later that day, she pulled her out of her empty classroom into another room which was occupied at the time with a class and into a closet where she began to verbally attack her. She left her in the closet, sobbing. The teacher in the room gave her a box of tissues. My wife had to walk out of the room with students watching her. This is only one example of the abuse she suffered at the hands of the principal. She now works as an instructional assistant because she can not get a job in the district. We know that she has been blacklisted by this principal but there seems to be nothing we can do. Her current principal is very pleased with her work and would love to give her a teaching position but none have opened. This principal has driven dozens of teachers out of the profession while leading one of the worst academically performing schools in the state.

  • ANacey

    Reading the article and the comments is empowering. I’ve worked in four schools in two states, in three districts! My first experiences were positive; no bullies, just loudmouth know-it-alls occasionally. But my most recent tenure is in a good ol’boys network where bringing up issues is frowned upon or so I’ve learned the hard way. I am afraid to pursue issues of unethical behavior and even sexual harrassment. We have an administrator in our district that has a history of sexually harassing women and creating a hostile environment; he hires young women and then seeks to surround himself with their attention. When this was reported, our associate superintendents nor our superintendent followed through; he still maintains a principalship, being given a second chance, despite a known history. Too many people are too afraid to come forward for fear of being “blacklisted”. The union refused to help, the union lawyer at the state level said to “stop being a vicitim” and the fear of seeking out alternatives for fear of losing the job was overwhelming.
    The working environment was so hostile, sexual jokes, looks, swearing, and lack of respect for what was right.
    We had members of the faculty reporting “personal” issues with co-workers to adminstrators, while unprofessional behaviors were ignored because “we should all want to get along.” I’m for working together, but not living in fear if I speak up about severe injustices that occur to fellow colleagues and students. When did we arrive at this point as a culture? Stand up and point out an injustice or unprofessional behavior and be shunned by those who are supposed to be in charge and set the model/tone? I’m personally burned out too and have given up on having a voice…focusing only on my classroom to stay out of “trouble.” It does make for an extremely anxious work environment because a level of trust and camaraderie has been broken. It bothers me though because I thought part of my job was setting an example for students to learn by?

  • Responding to “alternative perspective”

    While I agree with you in part, I don’t think a quarter of those in the teaching profession are ineffective–at least in the schools I’ve taught at it’s not the case and I don’t believe it’s true of most schools either. Administrators have often never stepped in a classroom and evaluate teachers often with no training on how to do so. I am a well-liked teacher by staff and students and was bullied by administrators in the past. As a high school journalism teacher who advises the newspaper, I came under fire for coverage by student journalists of teacher contract negotiations and was accused of influencing the staff. I was fortunate enough to have strong colleagues and parents who supported me during a difficult time. The principal and superintendent instituted prior review after that and picked apart ever aspect of our award-winning newspaper. It’s scary that how bad and miserable they can make your life. I was yelled at in front of my class and called to private meetings to dissect the paper. I can’t imagine how you could support stopping tenure–it was the only thing that saved my job. Without it, many school newspapers would cease to be nothing but propaganda for the districts. Tenure the only thing that saved me during that administration’s reign. It scares me that there’s a possibility we could lose it in our state.

  • Educator in MI

    It is not only “teachers” who are being bullied; support staff is well! However, unlike teachers support staff are not given the same respect and support as other educators receive. I had a parent threaten me physically – she state she was going to cut me, verbally abuse me in front of a first grade class, slash my tires and key my car. The administrator said (regarding my car); “it hardly shows dear” and regarding the physical threats; I was told to “just let it go”.

  • Greg

    Happened to me when I was de-staffed from a school due to numbers. The transfer school called one of my prior schools and was told that I was a total screw-up and trouble maker. If it was the truth I would not have fought it. I took the bull by the horns called the school and asked for the principal who of course never called me back. The assistant Principal called me and I confronted him with everything that I knew was being said. He said uh, uh. Someone will call you back which they never did. Sent a certified letter to the school and called my union cluster director. Guess, what it all stopped. When you confront the bully(s) they back down real fast. Show them that you mean business and won’t put up with it and watch them cower.

  • Bonnie

    I teach in Wisconsin. Our governor Walker,has been the head bully against public school teachers in our state for over a year. He has told lies about me to all his friends, and got at least 1,000,000 people to believe him and turn against me. He has bashed my friends (like my insurance& my union),he’s called me a thug, and stolen my lunch money(about $4,000) from take-home pay. Now I feel school is not a warm welcoming place for me, and I am just happy that I only have a few more years left. I think this, especially the lies, should be stopped. So what can teachers do about bullies, when the head-of-the-state is the ring leader of bullying against them? What kind of example is that?

  • dja92051

    I too was exposed to many of the things mentioned in previous notes above. I can only say, that even tenure doesn’t stop those who want to make life miserable for teachers. It was the most devastating, life wrecking thing that ever happened to me. Reading what other teachers are going through is truly helpful. I always was trying to figure out how I could do things better, but I didn’t realize that wasn’t the point. Today, after years of therapy, I have rekindled joy in my life. I am sickened by the public view of education. We need to market ourselves and expose those who sabotage our ability to do our best. Democrats or Republicans are not the problems. We have inhouse cleaning to do in order for children to receive a good education. Money isn’t really the biggest problem, is it?

  • Brad Mauro

    After reading the above story, I promptly went into the bathroom to throw up. For most of the last 3 years, I was bullied by a “colleague” who was not only married to a principal, but was also lead suckup to the principal of my school. The very passive aggressive “colleague” would run to the boss every time I sneezed. I put up with her bullying for three years…interesting how she would get all up in arms when someone bullied her daughter, who suffers from a birth related illness. The former “colleague” also suffers from numerous health related issues, most evident being severe clinical depression. Amazingly, the “colleague” would adjust her meds on her own, a practice that produced wild mood swings. Is it any wonder that I suffered a first ever anxiety attack after a day of her emotional abuse? I was prescribed a heavy duty med, which did little but make me sleepy and clearly affected my behavior. Months later, when I finally could take no more of her disrespectful behavior, I snapped and said some things I should not have said. When I was called into the office, I was confronted with a barrage of realtively minor issues that could have easily been handled in house. Sorry to say, I made one more error in judgement that I believe were related to the med, and have been sentenced to hell. While part of me is so glad to be relieved of having to deal with that teacher, most of me is grieving. I mean, it cost me money to go to work because our pay is so small, yet I pushed on and accepted that as the cost of doing what I wanted to do, which was to make a small difference in someone’s life each day. I love teaching and loved the children I taught. Parents and their children would ask to be placed in my classroom.

    This bullying not only happened to me, but to another teacher who, for whatever reason (I suspect it was because she was a great teacher) got on the wrong side of the grade chair, and that was that.

    Bullying is happening. It is very real. My suggestion to all educators who are being made the whipping child is to keep detailed notes, including any comments made by others witnessing the bullying. I had faith in the system, but the system left me hanging. At present, I am working with mental health professionals to get back on my feet, having lost the only thing I really cared about, which was teaching.

    To those reading my ramblings, let me ask one thing of you. Please always stick up for your teammates…rally around the targets. Speak up if you see a colleague being bullied. Watch each other’s backs. Make it a point to let your partners know you have their backs, because I can tell you for sure, if you don’t watch out for each other, you may find yourself nodding your head in agreement with me somewhere down the road, and I don’t wish that on anyone.

  • Katharine

    We teach students not to bully, but despite our years of education, we are victims. TENURE doe NOT guarantee a job. It just means the admin has to have cause, tell you the cause, and allow a period of time for changes, allegedly improvements. Most admin got out of the classroom as Fay’s as they could and really take their pay as puppets. The bullying is often long term. They need something to fix because they do not want to go back into a lass room and take the cut in pay. Sometimes, it is the result of good old boy networking.

    More people need yo know teachers are bullied by admin, parents and even kids empowered by the admin. that tenure does not mean complete job security is also unknown. Will this article sent to teachers or the comments be publicized anywhere else?

  • montgomery county maryland teacher

    Bullying is a huge problem in education. Six teachers in Montgomery County Maryland have sued their Principal and the MCPS Board of Education. There trial is set for two weeks in May, 2013. The teachers involved in the lawsuit followed federal laws and MCPS Board guidelines to the dismay of their principal, who was not following rules and laws. The principal’s inappropriate and bullying behavior caused and continues to cause extreme harm to students, staff and parents in the Kemp Mill Elementary Community. More specifically, with regard to the Montgomery County Lawsuit, extreme bullying occurred by the principal toward staff members who maintained integrity and honesty with regard to following the law and protecting their students.
    If you are interested in this case, you can google “Kemp Mill Elementary School” or Floyd Starnes (the principal) and you will be able to read about the case and read the lawsuit. The actual lawsuit can be read if you google “Gazette, Floyd Starnes Lawsuit”
    This bullying must stop, and NEA should do everything possible to protect their members from this form of cruel behavior. A teachers work is demanding as it is, and when you are subjected to a bully principal, it makes it very hard to focus on all that has to be done for the precious children that we teach. Our teachers and our children deserve better than this.
    By the way, NEA, at the local level, has not been helpful at all to these teachers. Doug Prouty, MCEA president stated that the issues at the school were too political for the union to do anything about, and Jerome Fountain, MSEA Rep, told the abused teachers to go back to their classrooms and “brighten their corners” after they shared the abuse they were being subjected to by their principal.
    If anyone in NEA has any interest in helping the teachers and students at this school, I am confident that the teachers in this lawsuit would welcome any help offered from their union. So far, the local NEA reps. have not been helpful.

  • montgomery county maryland teacher

    For ANACEY: Do you work in Montgomery County Maryland?

  • So cal teacher

    Are you sure we are talking about bullying or poor performance?!? In the private sector workers are constantly under scrutiny and evaluation for every part of their performance. Why as teachers do we get a pass??? No, I am not in favor of judging teachers by test scores but I KNOW if I were to talk informally to any group of teachers on any campus across the US, I am sure I could come up with a consensus list of the pathetic teachers…ones who need to choose some other profession. Why do we (and especially our unions) continue to allow poor teachers to exist amongst us?? IF we want to be considered a PROFESSION let US MONITOR and REGULATE our own!!! Doctors and Lawyers do it through a board and when a Dr or Lawyer gets referred to the board it is PEERS who takes away licenses!!! Let’s pull our heads out of @sses and start to take responsibility and control of our profession!! Those who are collecting pay checks need to go and those who really work at their profession need to stay!!! If you think our current system of seniority works then you don’t live in California where I teach where I have seen amazing teachers sent packing and teachers who show movies every day stay?!? No wonder we are becoming a joke of a profession and the public doesn’t respect education or educators any more!!

  • experienced

    I am a special educator with MANY years experience, many endorsements, many degrees. I never had a problem with administrators until I completed a doctorate. I spent my career in a southern state. I only completed the doctorate because I wanted to teach teachers which I did parttime as an adjunct at the local university for 15 years. Soon after I finished that degree, our (middle class suburban) school got a new principal who was male an of another race. I am female and grew up in a military community which was multicultural, multiethnic. I have NEVER suggested that anyone use the Dr. title. The new administrator always emphasized the “Dr.” when he spoke to me as opposed calling others by their first names. (He does not have a doctorate.) The harassment began imediately, constantly criticizing everything I did in my self-contained class of 25 students grades K-5. After several years, I moved to another district in the same state to a Title I school. I had previous experience on Title I schools. The harassment was the same by the female principal there of another race. She, too, made a point of using the title “Dr”. and also does not have a doctorate. However, she harassed ALL teachers of a different race until they left. After 3 years there, I retired to get away from her. I moved to Alaska and taught there for the health insurance and the MONEY they offered. It is the MOST multicultural, multiethnic state I haver ever worked in (93 languages spoken there). The principal was female and of my same race (without a doctorate). The whole staff used the title and I had a really good experience there with no harassment. After 4 years of subzero temperatures, lots of darkness, and many SCARY animals, even in the city (there’s a reason they call it “THE BIG WILD”), I decided to move to Florida for the sunshine, with the intention of working for a few years until Medicare and Social Security kick in. I could not determine whether the harassment was because of race or my level of education. However, here, in my Title I school in Florida, the principal was female, of my race, without a doctorate. No one at my school uses the title, which is FINE with me. When I am asked what school I teach in, people ROLL THEIR EYES AND GROAN AS THEY MENTION THE PRINCIPAL’S NAME. The culture of this school was one of “snipers” and “targets.” The Snipers were the “mean girls” who were very close to the principal and very close to each other outside of schools. The Targets were usually new hires. Many teachers transfered out yearly. After 2 years as a Target, I went to our union rep (for the first time in my career) with a laundry list of 2 years of harassment. I was told that I was one of the MANY complaintants for YEARS. The mrep thought that the union finally had enough to get something done about her. She was put on an “improvement plan” and transfered to a nonadministrative position in the district where she will not have the careers of teachers in her hands.The superintendent resigned after complaints the he was not properlydisciplining administrators. The coming school year will tell the tale in our school. Perhaps my experiences had nothing to do with race, gender, or level of education and all those elements were coincidental after my first 25 years of successful teaching with bullying issues. I HOPE SO! Maybe there are just MEAN, SPITEFUL people among principals as there are in all situations!

  • experienced

    I am a special educator with MANY years experience, many endorsements, many degrees. I never had a problem with administrators until I completed a doctorate. I spent my career in a southern state. I only completed the doctorate because I wanted to teach teachers which I did parttime as an adjunct at the local university for 15 years. Soon after I finished that degree, our (middle class suburban) school got a new principal who was male an of another race. I am female and grew up in a military community which was multicultural, multiethnic. I have NEVER suggested that anyone use the Dr. title. The new administrator always emphasized the “Dr.” when he spoke to me as opposed calling others by their first names. (He does not have a doctorate.) The harassment began imediately, constantly criticizing everything I did in my self-contained class of 25 students grades K-5. After several years, I moved to another district in the same state to a Title I school. I had previous experience on Title I schools. The harassment was the same by the female principal there of another race. She, too, made a point of using the title “Dr”. and also does not have a doctorate. However, she harassed ALL teachers of a different race until they left. After 3 years there, I retired to get away from her. I moved to Alaska and taught there for the health insurance and the MONEY they offered. It is the MOST multicultural, multiethnic state I haver ever worked in (93 languages spoken there). The principal was female and of my same race (without a doctorate). The whole staff used the title and I had a really good experience there with no harassment. After 4 years of subzero temperatures, lots of darkness, and many SCARY animals, even in the city (there’s a reason they call it “THE BIG WILD”), I decided to move to Florida for the sunshine, with the intention of working for a few years until Medicare and Social Security kick in. I could not determine whether the harassment was because of race or my level of education. However, here, in my Title I school in Florida, the principal was female, of my race, without a doctorate. No one at my school uses the title, which is FINE with me. When I am asked what school I teach in, people ROLL THEIR EYES AND GROAN AS THEY MENTION THE PRINCIPAL’S NAME. The culture of this school was one of “snipers” and “targets.” The Snipers were the “mean girls” who were very close to the principal and very close to each other outside of schools. The Targets were usually new hires. Many teachers transfered out yearly. After 2 years as a Target, I went to our union rep (for the first time in my career) with a laundry list of 2 years of harassment. I was told that I was one of the MANY complaintants for YEARS. The rep thought that the union finally had enough to get something done about her. She was put on an “improvement plan” and transfered to a nonadministrative position in the district where she will not have the careers of teachers in her hands.The superintendent resigned after complaints the he was not properlydisciplining administrators. The coming school year will tell the tale in our school. Perhaps my experiences had nothing to do with race, gender, or level of education and all those elements were coincidental after my first 25 years of successful teaching without bullying issues. I HOPE SO! Maybe there are just MEAN, SPITEFUL people among principals as there are in all situations! If this appears twice, I made some corrections and resubmitted

  • Amanda T.

    I was the target of workplace bullying my second year at my current school. A colleague of mine was humiliating and terrorizing students. His students would come to my room for class after his. They would be late and in tears. I grew extremely concerned for the children and tried to discuss it with him. He began to raise his voice to me and accuse me of all sorts of things. I asked him to leave my classroom and he refused. I was so scared. I ended up running out of my room to the office. He followed me into the hall and continued to yell at me in front of other colleagues and students. My principal was gone that day. I stayed in the office until school began. I e-mailed my principal to tell him what happened. He did nothing. He continued to do nothing the rest of the year. I stopped speaking to that colleague out of fear. He however was allowed to go all over the school, and our small town, and spread rumors about me that I am still dealing with four years later. My colleague did eventually quit at the end of the year to take a job in another district. Now he teaches in another town. I fear for those students and teachers.

    Now the biggest bully we have in our building is our principal. He gossips and spreads rumors. He is constantly throwing different people under the bus. He takes no responsibility for anything. I am hoping to find another teaching position soon.

  • Esther

    I am still struggling with trauma caused by a Special Education Director, who threatened to have me fired after 20 years of experience. She was the cause of much emotional trauma. A am near retirement, and endured her “bulliness” simply because I know this whole episode will be over soon. I have lost confidence in the educational system. I am no longer the cheerful, happy, inovative, and encouraging teacher I once was. These “toxic” administrators need to be stopped!

  • I agree with “Alternate Perspective.” The sense of victimization in these responses is really disturbing. Maybe I’ve just been lucky to work in a school with an intact administration which tackles things both firmly and fairly, but I’m hard pressed to believe that there is rampant bullying on the part of school administrators against teachers.
    I also agree that the percentage of incompetent teachers, however small, needs to be addressed by administrators. Administrators are not in their positions to be liked, nor should educators base their interpretation of their work on whether or not they are “liked” by administrators. Good administrators, in my opinion, will make us uncomfortable sometimes in order to help us grow as educators, just as the best educators make their students uncomfortable to help them grow.

    I fully expected this article to be about student behavior in the classroom–students who think they are “bullying” teachers because they realize there are no consequences for their action.

    What I find lacking in most of these responses is emotional maturity.

  • In response to Sara:
    Did you not have an inclusion teacher in your class??

  • I am disappointed in this article. I expect better of the NEA.

  • Ratgirl

    “Alternate perspective” claims teachers cannot be fired. Really? I was fired in 1995 for refusing to run an anti-gay/heterosexist classroom. Why? Because I know such attitudes enable BULLYING. Yes, I did fight the dismissal, and ultimately I came back (minus over 30K lost in pay/benefits, but with a clear conscience).

  • To Mari

    I’m glad you’ve never experienced this, but I’ve seen teacher’s driven from our district from sexual harassment and quit because they could no longer take the cruel remarks to students and staff (such as called my editor a “little bitch” and a mural students painted “shit.”

  • Tim

    I am shocked that NEA would censor people’s comments just because others disagree with them. Isn’t that the idea of a comments section for people to air their views. Even if I disagree with a comment, it should still be posted. As for the censored comment, I totally agree that we need to work to get incompetent educators away from children. But this is still never an excuse for bullying. There is never an excuse for bullying by administrators, and especially not by fellow educators. We need to work together to educate students.

  • Sarah

    To So Cal Teacher,

    There is a difference between being bullied and having an administrator who is trying to weed out teachers who perform poorly. Not everyone is a good teacher, but there are many very good teachers who are bullied. If you haven’t been subjected to this, consider yourself very fortunate. I have been fortunate to have worked for good administrators, with the exception of one, that were not bullies. The one that was was a nightmare to all the good teachers that worked under her. I have also been fortunate to work in some schools where I didn’t encounter bullying among teachers, and the focus was on performance of teachers. It sounds like you are in such a situation, and you are lucky. Unfortunately, I am currently in a school where there is a group of about 6 teachers, who are very close friends, and terrorize others. The queen bee doesn’t want anyone there who she can’t control or who doesn’t jump at her command. She has lied, manipulated situations to cause trouble for other teachers, and taken actions and inactions that have had an adverse impact on the education of some students, just to get what she wanted. This is a scene right out of “Mean Girls” and the administrator she reports to seems afraid to address the issue. I know of at least a few educators in the building, that aren’t in her group, that have felt terrorized. Many suffer in silence and keep to themselves. This really does happen and has nothing to do with the abilities of the teacher to teach. There are laws that protect students from bullying. From reading all of the comments, this situation doesn’t seem to be uncommon. Because there are some teachers who don’t do a good job (the minority), and some schools that have good administrators that don’t allow such behavior in their schools, please don’t ignore the fact that this is a very real problem. Wouldn’t it be great if teachers didn’t have to worry about this very real nonsense, and put all their effort into teaching students? This issue needs to be addressed.

  • Selena

    How about bullying by the union when you decide to cancel your membership and they won’t allow you to? When is that going to stop?

  • Raginne M

    WoW, I have been bullied by my principal and just realized that it is bullying! My principal has been doing petty things to break me since he came to my school. He started by picking on my colleague and then firing her. He told her she should go d other people to hangout with and questioning her relationship with students. After that he hired an assistant coach for me but she turned out to be a really nice person. We hit it off so he failed at getting information from her (no spy there)! He fired me from coaching because I refused to let a parent that filed bullying papers on me (after she jumped in my face in front of over 30 athletes after a practice) run my team! Next, he sat in an interview with his new coach and trashed my name, which this coach felt she would continue to do with my players. I found out and she did not get the respect she would have if she would have came in with an open mind. He allowed her to refuse to share office space and she accused me of being a thief! My local union hit involved and nipped this in the bud, but the damage has been done with her. The last straw with him was taking things away from my students that provided financial support for them. He fired me from my advisor position which I have accomplished national recognition for the school for six years. His reason he said “I don’t want to put you through the torture of another homecoming.” I have been doing homecomings for the past nine years so, if I didn’t have other people hands in the mix it would have continue to run smoothly! I am too strong to be broken by an arrogant, micromanaging, clueless peon! I will prevail and I don’t need medication to deal with him! GOD will remove all weapons that attempt to form against me and show him that until he do right by me everything he do will FAIL!!!

  • techchick

    So I had a teacher try to bully me. Wanna know what stopped it. I just pulled out my ipad in front of her and pressed record. She says anything to me at all now days, I just pull it out and it shuts her up. And I would suggest that if someone comes in your room and starts screaming. Let them. Film it. Post it online. Watch their downfall.

  • Gwen

    Mari and a few others have no idea what it is like to work in a situation like this. Some of these people may be poor teachers but research suggests that people are most likely to be abused at work have highly held convictions and have a history of good evaluations. If you read the responses carefully you will see inappropriate and immature behavior on the parts of the administrators. If someone is a poor teacher a good administrator will try to help them in a professional manner and may then start on procedings to terminate them. They will not do silly things like those shown above. Bullying is a real and common problem in workplaces that do not have strong administors. I have been bullied by a two principals and a coworker. I have also had positive relationships with many principals and have an excellent team I work with now. The local union reps are not very helpful with these types of situations they seem to have become more representive of administrators then teachers. Having good test scores for students and good results for student growth will not stop a bully from going after you, I know. If our local Unions would support us more it would help control these abuses but they rarely do so. I have been a union member forever and so was my mother and others in my family. I will continue to be but I have become very discouraged with them. When society as a whole is negative about teachers it enpowers individuals that behave this way as well.

  • Stcatz

    I was also bullied by a principal mentioned in the main article. Unfortunately, there were a lot of teachers bullied at that school and the NEA affiliate almost never helped. I was bad-mouthed by another teacher and yelled at by the principal on several occasions because of information falsely reported by a substitute teacher who would listen in the faculty lounge and then tattle to the principal.

    Two different teachers (including myself) had nervous breakdowns in two different years, and the turn-over rate at the school was between 65 to 75 percent a year. And yet, this principal got a statewide administration award.

    Unlike what the article states, NEA membership doesn’t really seem to protect teachers. What can be done?

  • total agreement

    Bullying in schools is a real deal. Our secretary bullies staff, parents, etc. Some male teachers have said if you kiss up to her you get what you need. As one of the school counselors I hear all about her rude behavior. I have had staff in tears over her rude comments. I have told the principal repeatedly and he says “it is being taken care of”, yet nothing has changed,

    It really is a set up in the schools. Policy says to go to the person first if you have a “problem” ; well, we all know the victim should not have to confront the abuser. So then we should go to the principal, who, in my case, does not want to get involved. Then if we mention going to the superintendent or union, it feels as if we are threatening our boss…who could in fact, make our job fairly intolerable. If they want you “out”, they will find a way.

    The gossip and back stabbing is ugly in my school. I consider it a hostile environment. There is no “safe way” to seek support.

    If we don’t feel safe our performance clearly suffers. Can the NEA propose a safe protocol for this issue?

  • WA teacher

    There is something that NEA can do to help curb bullying. In my experience, and sadly from the posts here several others share that experience, bullying often comes directly from fellow teachers or from administrators or parents who have received “confidential information” (gossip) provided by another teacher. (I’m not talking about reporting child safety concerns, that does not qualify as bullying.) My husband is a member of a different union who imposes fines on union members who bully members this way. Union procedure states that if they have a problem with a fellow member, they are to talk to that member directly, or meet with that member with a union representative to work out the problem. Members are not to go to an administrator and report a fellow member. Repeated offenses can result in loss of union membership. This is something that NEA could impose much more quickly than legislation and could have a significant impact on this problem. Let’s regulate ourselves rather than looking to someone else to do it. Then – after we’ve taken steps to protect our members inside our organization – we can take on bullies from outside our organization.

  • AG

    Another form of workplace bullying is called “workplace mobbing”. It is a specific type that occurs when one or two people feel threatened or jealous of a coworker, and begin harassing and scheming against the other person. The dangerous part of this is that others are easily pulled into the “gang” and it can spread to the point that most of the staff is involved. The victims sometimes suffer very serious psychological and physical effects. This happened to me at the beginning of my career and lasted about 7 years until I was able to leave the environment for another with much better leadership. It was there that I gained my confidence as a teacher and self worth as a person. I was treated with respect and dignity. I was praised for a job well-done and was given constructive advice when I could improve something.

    Google “workplace mobbing”. There is a website dedicated to it, and it is also described in Wikipedia. If you see it happening at your site, first, offer support to the victim. Then take a copy of the article to your administrator and describe your concerns. If it happens to you, contact your site’s association representative.

  • Aviele

    I agree with Bonnie. In Indiana, the biggest bullies are our current governor, our Education Secretary, and the Majority legislators.

    We as teachers have been so vilified that it is like a disease that is spreading down, into the administrations, the schools, the families, and the students. I the past 4 or 5 years I have seen an incredible increase in disrespect in the classroom. I’ve had students say to me that they could get me fired because of the new laws.

    Three years ago I had a principal who put a target on my back, and the backs of the other “older” teachers. He did everything he could to make our lives miserable. Evaluations were some of the most creative works of fiction I have ever read. Fortunately, we stuck together and none of us lost our positions. I did, however, transfer to a different building where I’ve had no problems…kind of like it was before that principal came on board. My current principal respects me.

    That said, I know that he takes an awful beating (bullying) from the upper administration in order to protect his teachers. And I truly respect him for that. He has not caved to the pressure, rather he brings to us the proposals being made (mandates typically) and asks how we, as a faculty, can make them work.

    And students don’t mess with us as much either. He’s not afraid to show them the door, in spite of pressure from the state and supt. He believes we are here to teach, and students are here to learn, and disrespect and hostile working conditions interfere with that.

    I’ve survived a bullying principal, but I’m not so sure we are going to survive bullying politicians.

  • montgomery county maryland teacher

    There are various groups/organizations working on a healthy workplace bill so that it becomes law that you may not bully in the workplace, and if a person chooses to bully in the work place, there will be a legal remedy for those who are being bullied.
    David Yamada has a blog “minding the workplace” and he is working hard to establish a healthy workplace bill, state by state. It might be very helpful to read his blog to connect with others.
    There is a wonderful organization, “The Workplace Bullying Institute” and their website is extremely helpful. There is a lot of information regarding what to do, and you can conference with members of their organization, and they will do their best to help you.
    I hope this is helpful.
    On a different note, I am grateful to NEA for running this article, but, what NOW does NEA plan to do to help their members? The bullying described in this article and in the many comments shared shows that this unhealthy behavior has been occurring for some time. How will NEA address the pervasive bullying? Are you going to help your members?

  • Aviele

    To Brad Mauro

    Great advice, keeping records. I kept a journal when my principal-from-hell was on his rampage.

    When my particular case went before the corporation attorney (with my president and uniserv director), my notes were legal documentation. His evaluations were not. As he sputtered and tried to defend his lies, the corporation attorney finally told him just to shut up.

    I love my union membership.

  • carmen

    how about teacher who treat teacher assistant like maid and then principals are backing them up.

  • Deidre

    When reading this article, I was surprised that there wasn’t an angle on how students bully teachers. I found this particularly true when entering the high school after teaching exclusively at the middle school level for four years. Against my will, I was transferred from a 7th grade, mixed ability, world history setting to an 11th grade, advanced placement, U.S. history setting. I was woefully unprepared. I had tirades posted on Facebook about me, had photos of my now-husband posted on Facebook (and the kids were nice enough to comment on the photos), and had my reputation trashed as being a “witch” (the best comeback when all else fails). Through it all, my supervisor and administration did not punish the children for their FB comments (no policy existed in the code of conduct to guide what their punishment should be), and told me to just make the class easier to survive the year. I went to my union rep who said that I could fill out a HIB form, but it was unlikely to bear any fruit that wouldn’t make the situation worse. Isn’t this precisely the reason that we have HIB? To give the bullied the chance to report and feel like action will be taken? I’d like to see some research into the area of teachers who feel harassed by students.

  • Marie

    I am not surprised by this one bit. I have been an inclass support teacher for the past 17 years. Most teachers are wonderful and we work well together. However, some feel as though I am in their class to spy or judge their teaching rather than help the students reach their goals. This year was extremely abusive. One of the teachers that I worked with did not want my special needs students or myself in her classroom. She abused them verbally on a daily basis! She raised her voice, roll her eyes, made several cry and at times make fun of the behaviors of my students. Other teachers have come to me to expressed their concerns on how she treated me and the students. Parents came in droves to complain to admin. but nothing was done. Almost seemed like the admin were scared that she would bullying them. She will be starting back in Sept. with a whole new group of children to abuse…such a travistry!

  • Greg

    Responding to our I pad friend.Good going! Also never ceases toamaze me the arrogance of teacher teachers that bully other teachers. Length of service. Does not equal supervisory authority. Everyone. In theory is a lateral employee including lead teachers. Would never guess that is reality from. My experience. In education. Admin needs to address those beliefs and has not in my experience. The power trips and bullying. Continue.

  • Nicole Buckle

    I think the school bullying epidemic is indicative of a increase in bullying within society. Look at much of the political rhetoric we see on TV. Sarah Palin urges American’s to “reload” in order to “take back America”? A Congressman yells “Liar” at our President during his State of the Union speech? I’m sure you could think of other examples, both subtle and downright blatant.

  • I want evey bullied school employee to check out their districts’ bullying and harassment policies. Unlike the private sector where bullying leadership is a free-for-all..and there are no protections, most districts in their bullying and harassment policies “protect” employees as well as students. I know that’s little comfort for those of us being harassed, bullied and abused by principals. I know we bullied targets are just crying out for someone in our districts–some tippy-top leader somewhere–to do the right thing and keep us, their employees safe. They mostly do not. They mostly keep each other safe with stellar evaluations and blind eye turning. That feels crazy. It seems absurd to expect bullying prevention efforts for children to be successful if employees are not, first, safe from bullying administrators.

    I invite you to check out my website: http://www.apiecefullworld.com. I cut from A Piece Full World the information below. I’d taken a leave of absence from my abusive workplace and probably like many of you, I’d researched workplace violence and abuse. I discovered The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI). I attended that amazing organization’s training this past January. The information below is from WBI. It’s in my words. I sincerely hope it helps.

    Targets, you must:

    1. Externalize the bullying. 
    It is not your fault.
    2. Name it. 
    Call it whatever you want.  Call it psychological assault, bullying, harassment or abuse. 
    3. Own it. 
    It’s yours.You get to call the abuse you are experiencing by your boss whatever you want. His/her abuse of you is your experience. No one can take the truth of that away.  No one, even if your reported case, like mine, is found to be “unfounded”, can take away the truth.  That knowledge was liberating for me. 
    4.Talk about it.
    Once you’ve named it, go ahead and talk about it with people.  If you are doing what I did when I was targeted, you may be keeping it quiet. You may be guiltily moving about your day. 
    Let me tell you again; IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!  YOU DID NOTHING TO DESERVE THIS ABUSE!  Because that’s what it is pure and simple: ABUSE.
    By naming the abuse and talking about it, you take it from inside your suffering self and place it outside your suffering self.  The “What did I do to deserve this”?” question becomes a “Hey, how come s/he’s doing this to me?” conversation. 
    Next we will look at some sad statistics.  Abusive leaders rarely suffer consequences. More often than not they get promoted.

    Targets, (you too district leaders), be informed:

    Bullies have support systems.  43% have executive and senior management support.  33% have peer support.  14% have HR support.  That’s a lot of support.

    Bullies bully with impunity.  54% have no consequences.  28% are rewarded with promotions and stellar evaluations.  14% are investigated.  Only 4% are punished or terminated.  

    The statistics, as you might imagine, are starkly different for targets.  That’s next up.

    02/21/12: What stops the workplace abuse and bullying? (Targets: you will not be happy to read this). 

    36% of targeted men and 41% of targeted women must quit; 13% of targeted men and 25% of targeted women are terminated. 14% of targeted men and 8% of targeted women are transferred.

    That’s 63% of targeted men and 74% of targeted women who GIVE UP THEIR JOBS! This, after the hell of workplace bullying. 
    Compare that to the 82% of workplace bullying leaders who either get promoted or suffer no consequence.  Let me write that again: they get promoted (!!) or just continue on their “merry bullying way…..”

    Targets, remember this: You did nothing wrong.  You are excellent employees. Your excellence is a big reason you are targeted now.  Once you are targeted, it doesn’t matter how many extra hours you put in; how many bulletin boards you decorate or how many parental support letters you have. Doesn’t matter.  You must accept that.  You can do nothing to “win over” your bully.

     What matters is that your boss has targeted you.  Reasons vary.  The issue is that HER/HIS bosses have created a culture where bullying and abuse are accepted. Ultimately, responsibility for the torturous work evironment in which you now suffer lies with upper management. 


    Workplace abuse is a life threatening event.  You must get out.







  • montgomery county maryland teacher

    Kim, I agree with everything you posted in your blog.
    Again, I would encourage everyone reading these comments to read the information on the Workplace Bullying Institute website as Kim suggested. There are excellent videos on the website as well.
    As far as what to do…….I agree with Kim 100%. Do as much as you can to leave your job and find work elsewhere. Sadly, nothing much is done to the bully. In school districts, principals are like emperors. They have no accountability, and it appears that the superiors (friends) of bully principals are not willing to do what is right for all concerned. In fact, they go out of their way to cover for the bully.
    If you are finding this hard to believe, just look at what happened at Penn State. Not one person in that organization was willing to do the “right” thing, NOT even to save a child from sexual abuse.
    I was put on medical leave by my doctor for being extremely bullied by my principal. I was depressed and filled with anxiety at the thought of walking into the building. What I have learned, from that experience, is that once you are targeted by your principal, there is no turning back. The bully will be relentless in making your life miserable. Once they get rid of you, they pick another target and begin all over again.
    It is important to note, targets are typically the most accomplished and ethical members in their school setting, and that, in fact, is why the principal bullies his/her target. The bully, in his/her mind is threatened by the target. Bullies do not consider honesty and integrity to be virtues. Rather they view a person with these virtues as a potential problem.
    This is such a shame, because we want teachers who are honest and who have integrity as role models for our children.
    Lastly, where is our representation by our union in all of this? I would like more information with regard to what NEA is planning to do about the pervasive bullying.

  • Cindy

    I was bullied so bad at one school, that I left and had a heart attack. I feel I am being bullied where I currently teach. When will something be done? I want to teach, I love to teach, but should I continue and risk another heart attack?

  • Wow, I have heard a lot of stories just like these at a middle school in Pueblo Colorado (Pitts Middle School) Two principals on a major power trip. Out of Control.

  • Mark

    Everyone seems to discuss poor teachers. How about poor administrators? No one seems to be “bullying” them into leaving. Power can go to people’s heads

  • JC

    I have been a victim of bullying for the last four years in my job as a teacher in a rural school. My personality and my teaching style is not conservative, but it is one that embraces new research and new methods of reaching every student. I have lived in my town – off and on – for 40 years. Our district is a consolidation of many small towns so that the town in which I teach is not the town in which I grew up and now live. My principal for some reason targeted me. She began four years ago and, thankfully, she used the position only to pad her retirement which was at the end of this last year. But the bullying did not start there. When I first came to this school under different leadership, that principal was open to and encouraged new ways of teaching/learning. She loved the innovative projects I brought with me. However, my cohorts were not equally thrilled. Even though this principal backed me, the twisted grapevine of the community was poisoned until my own roots in education withered and died. I feel like I have died inside. Everything I do in my classroom is scrutinized by…someone – I am pretty sure I know who it is. But without direct evidence, I do not wish to point an exacting finger at any one person. I do know that this individual has a complete hold in the community – one of power and control. She also has power and control in the school. Together, those two areas have not allowed me to remain a competent and excellent teacher. Everything I did in my classroom was immediately reported to any parent that would listen. Parents would write letters indicating they did not want their student reading certain texts. Worse yet, students would indicate what I was doing wrong in the classroom. Comments such as, “You’re not supposed to do that.” When asked what I was not supposed to do, the student would explicitly state to me – USING TERMINOLOGY DIRECTLY FROM THE TEACHER EVALUATION INSTRUMENT OR, AT THE TIME OF STATE TESTING, SOME INSIGNIFICANT MINOR DISCREPANCY IN A RULE THAT ONLY A TEACHER WOULD KNOW! I was aghast at the daily ‘picking on’ me that made each class period excruciatingly painful. I am cautiously optimistic this year because we have a new principal. However, she asked me to meet with her this week which I did – and it seemed that every statement I made ended up with words put into my mouth. I did end up reflecting on our meeting and sent a positively worded email summing up our meeting and clarifying anything I said with additional positve notes. I am learning to CYA through technology and this year, I will be video recording many of my lessons – since the new teacher evaluation instrument will require us to do so – and since so many students are absent.

  • OK targets–and you will not want to hear this–you are pretty much on your own. Here’s what I did . I took a medical leave. I knew I had to get out. I turned my principal in for bullying. I used my district’s generic reporting form; the form students use to report other students. My district, per its own policy, then had to start an investigation. It’s no surprise and in spite of documented evidence of lies and falsehoods using my name, the report was, in the end, “unfounded.”

    So, I recommend–if your life is unbearable at your school–that you consider doing the same. It’s better to take action first and not wait until the inevitable documentation against you. Then you will perceived as reactionary.

    I am grateful we are all communicating on this issue! Sometimes when we are in the midst of the horror we feel alone. We are not.


    • Sheila Yee

      The Internet has truly helped to connect people/targets with similar stories, and is a most powerful tool when used to advance knowledge and ultimately, power. These posts have inspired and encouraged me as the anxiety has been overtaking my thoughts, and it is heartening to know that I am not alone.

  • Jon

    The problem with administrative abuse of authority/power has drawn a great deal of attention in the Patrick County Public Schools of late. In June of this year the County’s Board of Supervisors announced that they have launched an investigation into this matter; as it pertains to widespread attempts by administrators to intimidate teachers to change student grades.

  • Roberta Laguna

    What about student mistreatment of teachers? Referrals often don’t seem to merit attention that leads to behavior change.

  • Can’t give you my name

    I wish I felt safe enough to put my name on this comment, but I’ve been bullied so severely this past school year that I too suffered health problems, required medications and therapy. My principal is not a “pal”. He’s a mirco-manager, control freak who seems to thrive on creating stress and drama. I was teaching intervention math classes at a middle school in a ‘good-ole-boys’ district. He started bullying me with unrealistic expectations for my students. I was supposed to magically turn all my students into benchmark, well behaved students by winter break. Only 9 of my 120 students had ever passed the MSP and all of them struggled with math. Many students had 504s and IEPs, had trouble with reading, attendance issues, and behavior problems. The concentration of these issues made my job extremely difficult from the beginning. He was critical at every turn. He said I needed to enlist help from my team and from him, but when I asked for help, he used it against me. He yelled at me because I had spoke up at a math team meeting about my frustrations, he wasn’t even at the meeting.
    I have great experiences from other school districts and other fellow teachers. My parents appreciate me and my students’ scores show tremendous growth at the end of the year. No one else has ever complained about me before.

    Despite my excellent history, this man nearly broke me. He informed me that I would be on an “informal plan of improvement” the following year (no due process). I was unable to sleep at night, worried all the time that he would pop into my classroom and pick me apart, I had chest pains and panic attacks, my blood pressure went up by 30% during the school year. I used up all my sick leave due to medical issues. I was afraid to go to school. My doctor finally ordered me to rest at home for a full week and I started emotional therapy and anti-depression meds.

    I had support from my union, but it didn’t really seem like they had any real power. This man had a history of bullying teachers and was sued the previous year by a teacher who ended up with a heart condition. Everything was hushed and they settled out of court. Every year the staff rate our administration poorly and the superintendent says he is on an improvement plan, but he still gets away with it.

    With the economy the way it is, we can’t always change schools. Jobs are very hard to come by. I was fortunate to find a better school, with a terrific principal. But the scars are still there. I still get ill when I think about my 2 year under this horrible bully.

    Why is it so hard to get rid of bad principals?

  • Ciara

    I have been bullied for three of the four years I have been teaching. I was targeted by the principal my second year because she did not want me at that school. I was under a 2 year contract and had to stay another year. I left that school but all of the negative evaluations and feedback followed me, as principals talk to one another. The third year the Principal was trying to get me to resign all year. I was assaulted by a student and I was made to feel like I was in the wrong. He told me I was an awful teacher and selfish for not resigning when I expressed some concerns. I started having panic attacks and the principal said it was unsafe for me to be in the classroom because when I had a panic attack I was not mentally present. I eventually had a nervous breakdown and went on medical leave for 5 months. When I came back he spent the entire time I was gone trying to build a case to get me fired. He had a bunch of letters from students, parents, etc. (solicited I’m sure). He tried to say I said I was suicidal and all sorts of stuff. I will be at a different school next year but my confidence and self esteem are so low that I feel hopeless for being able to have a successful teaching career. I have been looking to change careers but in the current economy have not been successful. I feel like I am stuck. A bad principal, especially early on in your teaching career can ruin your entire life.

  • I can not give my name…

    I find it disturbing, yet encouraging that there is over 150+ replies to this bullying concern, and that it is listed as one of the “most popular.” Has anyone heard of a law under; Defamation, Libel and Slander Law?
    Isn’t there bullying in the workplace policies in other institutions?

  • I, too, cannot use my name

    I am constantly tormented by teachers who have labeled me as a “threat” to their classroom if I co-teach with them because I “have too many resources and am too knowledgeable” and they believe I will “take over their classroom.” They said these things to my superiors who moved me 7 times until they found a fit for me. Those 7 years were horrid – including the time they paid a male substitute to dress up like me (I am female) and imitate me in front of my students. The next day, when I came back, my students cried and begged me to never leave again. All I know is – when it starts- you have to hold your head up, take a deep breath, keep to yourself, and give your all to your students while praying you survive.

  • I feel as if I am re-reading my story several times. My ex-principal is definitely a bully. Her motto – fake it till you make it. She may think this works but when she screams and yells at teachers and students and then tries to act nice – no one trusts her. She truly feels that she can tell a new reading teacher that if this teacher doesn’t do well on the state tests, it will reflect poorly on the principal. That is all she really cares about – herself. Due to a horrendous last year where I was working towards completion of a masters degree, a student passed away, a relative came down with incurable cancer, etc., I also had panic attacks and eventually ended up in the ER. I used my sick leave to do outpatient therapy and was advised by the therapists that this definitely was under the umbrella of the Family Medical Leave Act. What triggered this was a team meeting regarding RTI. Our school does not have a correct process for this and just threw something together this last year. I felt that anything I suggested was ignored (not for the first time) and she couldn’t understand why the team was taking too long to talk about this and why two of the IEP students would go to other teachers at this time because they were higher functioning and the rest were at much lower ability levels. I was so tired of the lack of support from her (i.e one aide for 30 minutes a day until I complained and then I got another aide for another 30 minutes while the other special educators had aides throughout the day)What really upset me was when I had to take the week before the state test because my father (who was a day’s drive away) was dying she told me that it was “poor timing”! Then to kick me while I’m down, the night of the March Board meeting after school, she told me I was not going to be re-hired for the next year because I had been having “issues”. I have applied for many positions and felt good vibes during the interview only to not get the job. I can’t help but feel that when they contact my former school that they are told that I am not subject for re-hire. I did ask my principal “What do you want from me?” and she wouldn’t respond. She is so busy proving she can make it and be better than the two male principals in our system (she really puts on of these principals down)that she has lost all empathy or sympathy for others. I am not sure she has ever been empathetic towards others. So, here I am – unemployed with a black mark against me – all because I cared too much about how my students were getting the shaft in this district.

  • Can’t give my name 3

    I too know a teacher that is terrified to give her name. I have been under the thumb of an abusive principal for 2 years. She has been written up for making faces, calling names, sighing, and many others just as ridiculous and unfounded. It is to the point that she is being treated for PTSD. Why can’t we just be there for the best for our students? Why can’t we put the most important resource America has first …. our students not our ego. Believe me she is a good teacher, her students learn …. her principal bullies.

  • Jennifer

    I too was a victim of school bullying by a co-worker at first. She would call me out in front of my students because I wasn’t doing things her way. I then confronted my admin. about it and they encouraged me to talk to her. They also told me that this particular teacher was difficult to get along with, and that they would support me. I confronted her and told her that I felt she was being unprofessional, she agreed and promised she wouldn’t do it again. When I asked her why she treated me so poorly she flat out told me that she just didnt like me. I told her I was sorry to hear that but I agreed to be civil and professional to her. From that point on, she never said anything to my face but would trash talk me to parents during conferences , other teachers, and even the admin. She would tell everyone that I didn’t know what I was doing and that I wasn’t teaching the standards and that my students wouldn’t pass their state tests. I had a few teachers in the school that felt sorry for me and would give me a heads up about what she was saying or what they overheard. One even informed me about a specific parent that this teacher bully convinced that I was a bad teacher. Sure enough this parent sent me an email the next day demanding a conference, even though her child was doing great and lovedy class. At the conference she kept askinge why I didn’t teach like the other teacher and I’ve always learned that the one shoe fits all approach doesn’t work and that’s why my methods vary. I could tell she left disappointed bc she had nothing to really throw against me and was obviously misinformed. Then my principal out if the blue cane in almost everyday at different times if day to observe me which he didn’t do to any of the other new to the school teachers. He started demanding lesson plans as well and would nitpick everything I did. It was getting to be too much I started to believe my bullies lies that maybe I was doing something wrong. I stated to get very depressed as well and had suicidal thoughts. I ended up going on medical leave due to the mental duress and transferred to a whole new county the next year. I found out later that this teacher bully had driven out 3 other teachers before me and it makes me sick that the admin. did nothing about it. Many parents sent me letters and gifts begging me to stay and said I was their child’s favorite teacher, not to mention all of my students passed their state tests. I’m happy to say that now, while I make less money as I’m in a smaller less affluent county , I’m in a county in which I feel valued and appreciated. What a difference a great administration can make.

  • DTeacher

    I had a terrible principal who not only forced me out of a job but also did it to many other people over the 5 or so years she has been there. This nonsense is still taking place to my understanding. Every year at least 20 teachers either leave or are force out. This is happening in Montgomery County Maryland which is SUPPOSED to be such a great district with and exceptional image. Her name is Virginia De Los Santos and she is the one that needs to be fired or forced out of her position. Mont. Co. knows full well that she is a true bully but no one seems to be able to do anything. This women is ignorant and cannot even speak properly. She once admitted, while attempting in vain to read a prepared speech, that she really wasn’t good at reading things aloud! We must figure out how to get rid of these people with so much power that can ruin or at least jeopardize your career. Take care everyone!

    • Frank

      I am a parent of a child at WOMS and have had some on-going problems with Ms. de los Santos and other staff and have decided to report her activities to the MCPS Compliance Officer, Office of the Chief Academic Officer today after an incident that occurred yesterday. I would like to be able to discuss if you are aware of any other complaints being filed against her and the outcomes, if known please.

  • name witheld due to settlement

    Bullies sometimes become so agressive they forget that in addition to the support unions still provide us we all have some protection under regulations enforced by the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the various state commissions that enforce the laws and regulations.

    When the bullies abrogate your rights under FMLA, begin harassing you due to age, race, gender, and other aspects, etc. you should be aware of your rights and report the bullying supervisors to the proper agencies.

    I speak from experience when I say that I would have preferred never to have been bullied, but that once bullied it was worth fighting back.

  • j leonard

    I had a nervous breakdown and had to leave my HS math teaching job after my peers lied to the administration and the administration came down hard on me. It is really sad. During parent teacher conferences, many of the parents said “finally, a good teacher and they will make sure you leave soon.” Even the parents knew how it worked. A good teacher comes in making the seasoned teachers look bad and the staff bullies the new teacher until he/she is forced to leave. I feel bad for the students!

  • Roger Moore

    I also have experienced this in Broward County, I wonder how many others. The big districts just try to sweep everything under the rug and there is little to no oversight of the Principals unless there is a complaint. Take into consideration that most of these people got their jobs because of who hey know, not what they know. How can there be so many incompetent principals? The private sector would never allow this nonsense. The low-performing principals want to blame everything on the teachers, when the leadership is the real problem. If we lose a war overseas, we don’t blame the soldiers do we?

  • Mike Nicholson

    This article and the comments related to it mirror my experience during the last three years of my teaching career. I was attacked and bullied by a new Principal and Vice-Principal after an administrtive change,parents upset with their childrens grades in a few of my AP classes, and, sadly, by the chair of my department who called me fascist, f/@’ing fascist, or f/@’ing fascist Christian. It became a hostile work environment that I dreaded to walk into. And, unfortunately, it was a situation that my local and state union had little power or desire to challenge. I suspect my story, and the others in this column that I’ve read, are far more common than any of us would like to acknowledge.

  • Janis

    Three years ago I got a non-re- elect due to being bullied. The bullying still continues by this adminstrator to this day. He has contacted other school districts to advise them not to hire me. He has told lies about me to the school board and other districts. I have lost my job, my career, my retirement. I will never be able to fully retire as I was unable to build up my retirement to a liveable level. I am now 62.

  • In one way it is nice to know I am not alone, but it is incredibly sad to think educators are being targeted. It is not enough we don’t make great amounts of money considering we are educating our future. I too went out on medical leave this past Spring. I am still uncertain as to my plans for the fall. I am afraid to quit, but more afraid to return. It was hell.

  • Catherine

    I can’t believe someone finally had the nerve to actually write about this topic. It is very true. I have seen it happen. It is so cruel. You think it’s bad in the public schools, look into the charter schools. They can do anything they want. They can fire you for no reason at all. I had a twelve year career in the field and questioned a couple of things that I knew were going on in the school that were both against the law and unethical. I was hoping to help make the changes for the sake of the kids. The “principal” wasn’t even a certified principal and I was! They promised me the moon and instead stabbed me in the back after I did a ton of clean up work for them. They did not offer me a contract, told me “It just wasn’t a good fir.” Really? I don’t think so. Dirty politics, very dirty. After being denied a contract, I was not able to even get an interview anywhere else to get another job; my career in the field was stolen from me. I have an attorney and am going to do all I can. Interesting how the principals can regularly evaluate the teachers, but the teachers can’t regularly evaluate the principals. Hmm. If they could, it sure would weed out those terrible principals who are nothing but power hungry bullies. We are not chess pawns in a game, we are educated people with families! If anyone wants to talk to me, I will be glad to talk to you. My career may have been stolen from me, but there are countless teachers out there who I don’t want to go through what I went through. I would like to support them.

  • Catherine

    “I wasn’t a good fit,” not fir, excuse me. I was a bit angry while typing about the subject…

  • withheld for my safety

    Several teachers in our building are under constant bullying and harrassment from our “new” principal. He has been here 1 year since the last principal was non-renewed by our bullying superintendant. His only job requirement is to drive off all of the supporters of the last principal. Last year during the school year he got rid of a teacher, an assistant principal and our only school counselor. If you want out you are required to leave the district as he has poisoned the water here.

  • jakeus l

    Parents are expecting teachers to raise their kids. Admin is expecting teachers to discipline students. Both expect us to make kids want to learn.

    Parents, raise your own kids.
    Admin, let me teach but actually punishing jerk kids.
    Both of you… I love the material, spreading knowledge, and the joy that knowledge brings. That joy rubs off on others, but I refuse to beg a plead with a kid who doesn’t care about their own future.

    I will teach, and I will do it damn well, but if your kid comes into my room thinking I’m going to do all the work. Ha. Buckle up and learn kid, or GTFO of my classroom.

  • I am two years retired, so I can speak my mind and include my name. From my 30 years experience I will just say this: I have had administrators–from assistant principal to superintendent, all in the same district–who probably were total sociopaths; the bottom line is that although “we are all in education together,” some administrators are arrogant, condescending career-climbers, who will unscrupulously step on teachers for their own personal gain–and sadly they have the position/power to do it; they lie through their teeth and they all stick together; then at teacher contract negotiations they play “hide the money” to subsequently reward themselves, while the public decries “those greedy teachers!” To all my professional colleagues who are still out there working with students and toward retirement: PLEASE BEWARE!

  • Catherine

    “Rather not say,” don’t you think it is wrong that you have to hide your first name. TRUST me, don’t go back, it will only get worse. Resign to stay home a while to be with your new baby. No one on earth can fault you for that. Then, once you are ready to return, you may be blessed enough to get into a school with a wonderful principal! Think about this too. The biggest bullies seem to be in some of the worst schools. They are under pressure from the top to increase test scores or bust. They have to report why they think test scores went down or did not improve enough. Therefore, they need a target, a whipping boy. By having a couple targets, they buy time for themselves and miss the bullet headed toward them. It’s all about money. Point the finger to someone else to keep your job, your money in your pocket. I get it, but the people at the top don’t. They seem to think that once you are a principal, you are God, your word is the law, you know best, you are the expert. But, in reality, those bad principals many times only had political favor, they weren’t the best or the most qualified for the job. Hold your head up. Use that golden ticket you are holding, and don’t go back. Once you are gone, they will find someone else to blame things on when the test scores don’t change.

  • Deborah

    I taught for 30 years in Alabama, and I only worked for 1 principal who did not bully me and the other educator. I have an Ed.S. in Instructional Leadership, and I know this type of behavior is not being taught in institutions of higher learning. Learning communities, reducing teacher isolation, and other strategies are taught; however, none of these will have an impact on education until administrators stop bullying teachers. The last principal I worked for was wonderful for the first two years; because, she had just come from the classroom. However, the longer she was an administrator the worse she became. The last year she was there she allowed the secretary and another teacher to slander me to all the other employees. This principal knew what they were doing and allowed it; she was even part of it. Thankfully, I had my time in and I could retire. Schools are not learning communities, they are dictatorships for the most part.

  • MM

    I am a School Psychologist who has been bullied for the past 4+ years in a NYC public school. The bullying began after I reported a problem with the services that special education children in my school were receiving. Then, two years later, the principal released a confidential report with my name on it, effectively putting my safety at risk. When that was reported, he stepped up his bullying and enlisted the Assistant Principal and a teacher to assist with his retaliation. I received an unprecedented six letters to my file in one year. I have been unable to transfer to another school because he gave me unsatisfactory performance ratings for two years in a row (this, after I had maintained satisfactory work performance for eighteen years prior to his tenure at the school). This year it became clear that he was going to try to have me terminated. The situation became so bad that my mental and physical health suffered and I had to take a medical leave. Now, I am dreading the possibility of returning to that school in September.

    The principal has accused me of noncompliance, lying, poor relationships with my peers, and refusal to follow his arbitrary protocols, while also saying that he had no problem with my work as a psychologist. I have been micromanaged, my work hours were extended, and my office was moved to a closet in the corner of the building’s third floor and away from my family assistant. My union has filed a harassment complaint, as well as appeals regarding my performance ratings, but there has been no resolution. I feel so frustrated. I have even tried to get legal assistance on my own, but several attorneys have told me that there is nothing they can do until all of the efforts of the union are exhausted. The problem is that the city slows the process to a crawl and in the meantime, I have to continue working in a hostile environment.

    I was so happy to see this article because I decided that since I am not able to receive adequate help from others, I have to do something to help myself. I intend to let as many people as I can know about this hidden menace in the educational system throughout the country. We hear so much about bullying and its effects on children. But no one is willing to speak up about what happens to adults in the workplace when they are bullied and have no legal recourse. We need to stand together to fight this epidemic.

  • OlanaDL

    Interesting to find this article on the NEA website. The Massachusetts Teachers Association has been complicit with anti-teacher groups (such as Stand for Children) in crafting a change in the teacher evaluation standards. In essence, this change renders useless the seniority language found in most contracts and further facilitates the abuse of power by building and district administrators who will view this change as a manifesto to bully with impunity.

  • Deborah

    I want to add an addendum, bullying will not get better until some teacher sues the school district and wins. However, federal investigations will have to be done also. As long as the current atmosphere remains there will be no change.
    Let me offer a strategy. I had one principal who talked so ugly to me and the other teachers. When I called for a meeting with the superintendent, he said that I was not telling the truth. The superintendent believed him of course. After that, I began carrying a small personal tape recorder with me. Every time he came up to speak to me I turned it on. It is legal in Alabama to record a conversation, as long as you are part of it, without the other person’s consent. He never talked ugly to me again!! LOL
    I hate that I had to retire, finally, this is the first fall in 30 years that I will not be going back to school. It makes me so sad, but I will find something else to do. My will to teach in K-12 is gone, beaten out of me by bullying administrators.

  • Mia

    Every single day in our jobs, administrators completely abuse their authority. They have their favorites and will do whatever it takes to get rid of those that they do not like. It is a pathetic display of narcissism, particularly when we have to listen to people that have not ever done our jobs or don’t understand our jobs and the demands today. If you want a perfect example of nepotist, just visit any public school district and you will see husbands, wives, friends getting the job. Not the best choices for the children, but then again, does anyone know of an administrator that will put children first? If you do, please let me know.

  • MLR

    I thought I was part of a small minority. As a former special educator from Salem Va, I know too well the environment a micro-managing and incompetent administrator can cause. I was told that because the schedule she devised for me did not allow a lunch break that I would be able to lose a lot of weight that year. This was the 2nd day of school. When I called her on that comment she began pulling my assistants and speaking with them. She interrupted my classroom and would attempt to take over. I was teaching students with Autism that did not react well to changes. She put my one of my nonverbal students into silent lunch. His peers thought that was funny. She did that again with another student. The next year she gave me many improvement goals and had very little positive to say. Outsiders would come in and tell admin (including her) how impressed they were. That did not do any good. The parents were very upset when I resigned after she threatened my job in March of this year. I resigned so I would be able to get another position. Oddly, some in the division were very helpful in helping me obtain another teaching position. I was one of several complaining about being bullied by this administrator. She has many years in the division and lives in Salem. This apparently gives her permission to run her building into the ground. It is unfortunate that Virginia is a right to work state and the union has very little power. Most of this bullying is verbal and it ends up our words against theirs. You would think there would be power in numbers. When several people complain, some action should be taken.

  • name witheld due to settlement

    To Deborah 5:01 pm–
    Suing the school is sometimes a good idea, but it will not stop general bullying, only that one instance. But remember that schools are not profitable corporations… there is no Erin Brockovich pot of gold at the end of a toxic rainbow here.

    Filing a complaint with EEOC or the Department of Labor about matters not covered in the contract under which you are employed will set in motion (very slow motion) an attempt by state or federal investigators to assess your complaint then perhaps begin an investigation. This is a good thing to do to let your administrator know you are serious about fighting back. When you file this, the school districts lawyers will swing into action and start costing the district money.

    Eventually under this process the agency will ask you to provide evidence and if the evidence is credible and meaningful then to mediate your complaint. The district’s lawyers will challenge your evidence and use whatever paper trail the administrators have gathered or fabricated to challenge you.

    Lawyers will file suits when a complaint has substance and good evidence IF YOU PAY THEM or on a contingency basis IF they see money in your case. For there to be money in a lawsuit, one must suffer monetary damages (losing your job) or documented emotional/physical distress (medical bills).

    If successful the end result for most cases that have merit and been argued well will most likely be a settlement that cannot be disclosed that has been paid by the insurance company from which most school districts purchase policies protecting themselves.

    Lawsuits are not won–generally speaking–in the public eye. Forget about public vindication.

  • MoBOE

    As a school board member I am so frustrated when I hear these stories. Our district had a similar issue with a principal which was compounded by the fact she was “good” friends with the superintendent. Teachers were terrified to speak of the issues because of the retaliation that occured. Other board members looked at me as a troublemaker when I sided with teachers and parents in this issue. When I encouraged teachers to fill out their anonymous surveys with the stories of these problems, the results were kept from the board. Several board members finally began to listen and put pressure on our superintendent to make changes. He showed his true colors and took the first job he could find. A year later our next super finally stood up and made the changes needed.
    I truly feel so sorry for those in this position. While boards and administration may deny it, this type of bullying can be a major problem and does occur. For those who may be suffering from this I hope you can find an administrator or board member you can confide in. Sometimes you have to forget about the “chain of command”. Educating children today is difficult enough without worrying about needless pressure from your boss. I wish those of you suffering through this the best of luck.

  • Lou4You

    I definitely agree and feel for the other teachers that have responded here. In my first year, my dept. chair took it upon herself to make my life a living hell in the second semester. I had asked her “What do I need to do to get re-hired?” She said I needed to follow what she was doing “lock-step”. While I did some things that sabotauged me, I still have to say that she was overzealous in her duties. She upstaged me at one point in a fourth period class, made me meet with her on a daily basis to go over my lesson plans, and had me take away my vocab. tests. These were actually helping kids learn the Spanish vocabulary in each chapter!! Her teaching methods were drastically different from mine, so in essence, it was hard to do what she was doing on a regular basis. Finally I got up the nerve to talk to a VP. I thought he was going to be supportive.
    In some ways he was, but even in mediation, she kept telling him “the kids are not going to be ready for next year” if I kept doing what I was doing. Meanwhile she was fielding parent complaints, documenting everything, and getting ready to influence the interim principal to not re-hire me. She indeed was successful in doing this, unfortunately. I did talk to my Union Rep., but by then it was too late. I was told at the end of the year that I was being forced to resign, and that my issues went before the board. Very heartless and rude Dept. Chair. And as it turned out, she had a big hand in the non-rehiring of many other teachers, alongside with her friend in the dept.. She did almost all she could to sabotage me, and she succeeded. I was very resentful for quite some time towards her after that year. The following year I got hired in a different county and area. That year did not work out, as my teach. career also did not work out. But then, at least I could see that I had given up on teaching full-time. This gave me some PTSD and major anxiety and depression issues.
    This is all to say that bullying does not just stop because you’re not in school anymore. People do sabotage other people intentionally, and sometimes it is merely due to a petty feeling or something you say wrong that makes them dislike you. At a time when we need new and great teachers, the incumbents and sometimes admins. are very resistant to change. It is no wonder then that many people stay out of the field, or leave within the first three years. So if you’re new: WATCH OUT! And be careful of what you say. You can be fired or non-rehired very easily, w/out tenure on your side.

  • M

    The real problem is that principals alone are given evaluative power over teachers, and new teachers do not even have recourse to the union (although they pay dues) because they are still without tenure and can be let go for whatever whim occurs to the principal.

    I have been let go because the principal’s wife, who was employed in the building, did not like me for jealously or whatever reason. Also, I professionally and courteously disciplined their son who was bullying others in my classroom. I have been treated harshly and unjustly by principals, who relished the chance to “get back” at me, because I was smarter, or healthier, or more content, or a combination of these.

    Principals spend basically zero time in our classrooms, but are given the right to decide our fates. Their decisions haunt us as we must continue to use them as professional references. How many good, creative, fun, intelligent teachers have been overthrown and discouraged out of teaching by an egotistical principal?

    We need to rethink the design of evaluation in schools, and student and parents should have at least as much say as a principal who looks in once or twice a year.

    I am not the type of person who complains about my coworkers, but principals listen to the complaints of those who love to complain and make decisions based on that. They keep teachers who cozy up to the complainers. They discard the honorable, hard working professionals who care. I have seen this in Washington State, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Idaho.

    By the way, I believe there is a mistake in the first paragraph of the article, as 25 percent is less than one third.

  • Anonymous

    I was bullied on the job by administrators, a woman old enough to be my GRANDMA and her clique of queen bees who were MY AGE! It was traumatizing. I couldn’t trust any adult because they were buddies with either the administrator, queen bee, the granny colleague or other people who just seemed to be out to get me. The kids made my days worthwhile– they were the ONLY ones (apart from the parents) who gave me positive feedback, according to the kids I was a great teacher– they told me out of the goodness of their pure hearts often through giving me cards and notes and smiles of gratitude and they even told me how they love learning. But the administrators never saw this and if they did they refused to acknoledge it. In the boss’s book, I could no NOTHING RIGHT, NOTHING! She HATED me and I never found out why she did and if she hated me so much (which she did) why didn’t she just FIRE me– a nice clean cut from work instead of fabricating lies to give me the most disgraceful kick out of the door of education ever? As you can see, I’m still upset about this but I’m getting over it. I know what it’s like to be driven out of the education career field. Luckily, I have other career options. Thank God!

  • Ann Morgan

    I have been bullied by both my principal ans superintendent. I work for the Broward County Schools. I have been placed in a warehouse and have to undergo depositions and go before an administrative law judge for no valid reason. I was removed from my classroom in April 2012. I filed a bulying complaint with the EEO and they did nothing about it. What do they do, promote my principal and give him an executive position.

  • T.D. Gutierrez

    Although there is no definite way to prove it, I, too, have felt as though intimidation has come into play by at least two of the principals I have worked under and one assistant principal. My first year to teach, my principal, who was black, accused me of being racist! But when I asked him what his reasons were, his only comment to me was that he had heard it from some of my students, but yet would give me no specifics. I called his bluff when I informed him that it would be very difficult for me to be racist since both of my grandsons are black. This seemed to shut him up for a while; but on my yearly evaluation, he told me I was weak and needed some extra guidance, which I never received. When I used a PG13 rated movie to tie perception into the curriculum I wrote, he accused me of using an R-rated movie because he heard the word “shit” in the movie. My retort to him was if that is the worse my students heard while walking across campus, we were doing good. My new principal, who is respected by some but not all, became irritated with me because I hold my students accountable for their actions, or inactions as the case may be, and failed a senior with a grade of 62. I was “encouraged” to change the grade to passing but refused to do so. All of a sudden, I am no longer teaching what I have taught for six years but a new and challenging course! I love teaching, but the games that administration plays with the teachers is taking its toll on not only those of us who love our profession, but the students as well.

  • Phoenix

    I am so relieved to see that i wasn’t the only one that has suffered bullying by administrators. I lost a career, 12 years of sacrifice and work to get a teaching credential by the efforts of ONE vindictive adminstrater who chose to believe all the lies that jealous co-workers spread. I was basically set up to fail.. given all the districts major behaviour problems in a severely handicapped class, then not allowed to have consistent aides,, which i was required to have two, I was lucky to have one. My second evaluation was engineered to have me fail.
    As a result i got a non-elect which made me ineligible to be rehired in that district and being a small town most likely in the other two. I was dropped out of the last year of a 3 year credential program TWO months to graduation, a program I had a 3.5 plus out of 4 gpa and perfect practicum scores until that last year when all of a sudden I FAILED practicum? All started when i refused to go to a different grade level and school?

    I moved out of state as a result,, now im trying to muster up the courage to go back in the classroom as a sub assistant, I lost my teaching career, have NO desire to go back to that even though I miss the kids. I had NO idea professionals could be so mean and vindictive. Lucky for me I got Unemployment and a small retirement but I wasn’t the only one this woman bullied. The staff was considering a class action suit. I had no real legal recourse as I was an intern teacher which had NO tenure and could be laid off for looking at the principal wrong.

    The set up situation I was a victum of required more then one person participating in it.

    I am now dealing with PTSD from a hostile work situation,, looking at a career change in the mid 50s in a horrible economy and dealing with self esteem issue because of someone vindictive ness. Thank you for this article.

  • Kate

    Twelve years ago, many of us were bullied by a principal at a middle school in Long Beach, CA. We were yelled at in front of our classes, we were told to change grades, some teachers had their computer confiscated if they didn’t change the grades, we had to submit lesson plans every week with an outrageous number of details, we were regularly reprimanded at our staff meeting… Teachers walked out on their contracts and half the teachers quit at the end of the year. Anyone who spoke up during the year was given a poor recommendation. My career was almost destroyed. Thankfully, there was a principal in a different district that gave me a “second chance”, so to speak. The last 11 years have been great. I work at an amazing school in an amazing district. However, I still see the effects that the bulling had on me…each time we get a new principal, I go into a panic. It takes me forever to start trusting the new person and I hate feeling that way.

  • montgomery county maryland teacher

    TO MM:
    There are many teachers out there who have been targeted for trying to follow the law with regard to students IEP minutes or Spec. Ed services. Apparently, the principals in this country are above the law. I know of no principal who has been fired for disregarding laws with respect to their students’ IEP minutes. Their friends, up the chain, cover for them.
    Meanwhile, the Department of Education and the media claim that our entire education system will become the best in the world if we just get rid of the bad teachers.
    I don’t want ineffective teachers in the classroom! BUT, really, there are far deeper issues that negatively impact our educational system, and it feels like those issues are completely being ignored by politicians, superintendents, media, etc.
    In my humble opinion, it is the ineffective and bullying principals that need to be removed from our schools. Principal accountability must be addressed if schools are to improve. Specifically, if you have a competent and professional principal, many issues will be resolved. For example, it has been my experience that competent principals don’t allow incompetent teachers to remain in their buildings, but they don’t resort to bullying either.
    There is NO excuse to bully any person. It is cruel and completely unacceptable behavior.
    I have been teaching for over 20 years (mostly in Title I Schools). I have worked for a few principals. The principals that I worked for who were competent, professional, kind, caring toward students, and appreciative of staff had great success in their schools. The staff was upbeat, hard working, happy, and caring, and the results, academically, were wonderful. Conversely, in the couple of schools where the principal was a bully, staff turnover was high, the environment was anxious and sad, teachers were often out on sick leave or extended medical leave while a steady stream of substitute teachers paraded through the school. AND, guess what? All of the negative and sad behavior and inconsistent behaviors by fearful adults in the building trickled down to the students. Severe issues with student bullying increased under the bully principal. The academic scores with the bully principal were not good.
    I hope that the people who are reading this will take a minute to check out the “Workplace Bullying Institute” website. The Namie’s, who founded this organization are nationally known and they are working to create a healthy workplace bill. They are a phenomenal resource for anyone who is being bullied.
    I have always loved being a teacher, but after experiencing my recent bully principal and the lack of care from our union and the bully’s superiors, I would not recommend a young person to go into this profession as it is now. I love my students, and they are the reason that I am staying in this profession. However, what I see day-to-day are a lot of exhausted, sad teachers. At least half of the young teachers that come into our profession leave within the first five years. No wonder. Who wants to go into a battle everyday and then have a pile of disrespect and anger plopped on your head from the politicians and Dept of Ed.? This is what it feels like when you work for a bully.
    I hope things improve. Teaching was a wonderful profession to be in, but now, I’m just doing my best to enjoy and instruct my students so that they will succeed, and I will hopefully get out of this profession in one piece when time to retire.
    I can’t even believe what I just wrote. Sad.

  • Prefer not to say for fear of repercussions

    Bullying, harassment in the workplace, mobbing whatever you want to call it happens because I/we continue to allow it. Until we stand up for ourselves and say, “No more!”, it will continue to be a huge problem.

    I had a principal who made me the target of mistreatment because I had submitted a grievance against him for sexual misconduct. He then did an evaluation that was unsatisfactory. I was not aware of my rights to refute his allegations. What he put in my personnel cannot be expunged even though he was demoted and soon after forced to resign his position. It’s not fair, but it happened!

  • vivi

    I worked for 16 years in the same high school. Last year we had a new principal who told us during pre-planning that he was going to rule with fear. It was a horrible year and I decided after the first month that it would be my last one. I am the wife of 100% disabled OEF vet. I resigned my teaching position to take care of my husband and to try to get rid of some stress as it was unbearable.
    For a month I was very sick with a cold and instead of staying in the doorway of my portable between classes, one day I stepped inside to get a Kleenex. A student came to me to ask me a question and since I was not on my porch, my principal came into my room and screamed at me in front of my students. That day, he took all away my respect and my credibility. I was humiliated and so embarrassed. I tried to stay in my little corner the entire year. In the morning when I left my husband and I would tell him I was going to HELL and that I hoped I’d make it through the year.
    In all the years I have taught, I never had any problems before that bully. I am not the only one who was upset. The school lost more than 20 teachers due to retirement, transfers or resigning.
    At the end of the school year, we also found out that he had affairs and promoted female teachers who slept with him. How can a man like this be allowed to work in a school system? Teachers and administrators are role models for our future generations.
    Needless to say that I do not know if I will ever want to work for someone again. I am also very concerned for my friends and my students that I left behind. It all came down to a question of survival. I have to stay fit and healthy to take care of my husband.

  • Can’t Say

    My story is similar to those here, and I too, thought I was alone. I have/had been in the teaching field for 7 years. After teaching in a district for 2 years, there was a new school opening up with a wealth of new opportunities. I was very excited to start in a pre-K through first grade building!! My principal was brand new, in her first principal-ship, and I made the mistake of asking one too many questions before school started. Apparently, this principal had the details worked out, and when I asked about a “different” way to do something, she felt like I was stepping on her toes. That was 2 school years ago. She made sure I was isolated from my colleagues, forced to workinsuring the entire school day without lunch or planning, sent questionable emails and texts to my colleagues, and pitted parents against me at every turn. I was ignored in the hallway, when talking with parents or students, and in any meetings we attended together. I felt picked on & very isolated. My stress from the school caused an 80-pound weight loss over the 2 years she “allowed” me to stay (mainly due to not getting my lunchtime because I was gently encouraged to see students during lunch hour), anxiety, depression, memory & concentratation problems, not to mention the ruining of my professional career. I was asked to resign or face non-renewal at the conclusion of the school year. I went to the union without success–I was basically told her story sounded better and I looked like I was reacting to her complaints. Because of her ties in the community, I was forced to relocate, change states, and get out of the teaching field. The parents of my students,as well as my students, we’re devastated when I told them I had to leave. They were always supportive of me and my abilities, even after the principal attempted to tarnish my reputation with them.

  • Can’t Say

    Anyone sucessfully sued a principal or school district and have any tips on lawsuits?

  • montgomery county maryland teacher

    To Can’t Say says:
    I think you should contact David Yamada, a nationally known attorney who has been working tirelessly to pass a healthy workplace bill. He is an expert in workplace abuse. He just spoke at a convention in front of education lawyers and Ed. Union officials about adult bullying in education. Perhaps, his presentation had something to do with this article. I don’t exactly know. He also has a blog “Minding the Workplace” that you should read.
    David Yamada’s email is david_yamada@yahoo.com

  • Dan

    While I agree with the sentiment of this story, the first three lines disturb me as it shakes our credibility. We are educators. When you say 1/3 of American workers are bullied and it’s even worse among educators, 25% report being bullied. That’s 1/4. Last time I looked, 1/4 is less than 1/3. We get so worried about getting the point across, we forget to proofread and become easy fodder for our critics. Please be careful…..They ARE out to get us!

  • Mary

    I was also a victim of workplace bullying by a former principal. I had been bumped from my school to her school because of some restructuring of the classes in our district. She had not interviewed me and even though I came with glowing recommendations and reviews she was still resentful of my presence in her school. She came into my room several times to do surprise formal observations and filled them with blatant lies, such as one that I did not have a centers board in my classroom, when I clearly had a large bulletin board devoted to daily centers assignments and centers directions. I went to my union, and because my contract said that we cannot have unannounced formal observations we were able to have the observations removed from my file. The devastating part was that if she had announced her observations she could had written all the lies she wanted and we could do nothing. We cannot grieve the content of an observation whether their is a shred of truth in it or not – talk about bullying. Even though she had her hand slapped for what she did – I live in terror of the day she announces she’s coming and fills the observation with enough lies to cost me my job.

  • afraid to give name

    I’ve worked for over 30 years in the same school district. We have an female administrator and her little cliche that bully those teachers that are not of their crowd. She has teachers spy on other teachers and keep notes on what they are doing. If you send an e-mail to any one of her group they immediately forward it on to her. Every letter, every form, every possible comment that you make will be used against you. She allows the favored ones to go to expensive workshops that are out of state, while the entire time claiming that the school could not afford inservice that the school did not provide.. It is a nasty situation. We have lost several fantastice educators because of this treatment. Unfortunately, I don’t think that she would know a good teacher if one bit her on the ass.

  • arkanonymous

    Can’t say – My school in a larger school district in Arkansas currently has a law suit pending. One of the side issues that surfaced was administrative bullying of female teachers. True or not, I know some that believe and insist that they’re being bullied. Based on my 19 years of teaching, I can say for sure that the correct procedures for helping teachers to improve their weaknesses is hardly ever done according to policy. It seems that administrators would rather use intimidation and deceit to control or drive a teacher away. We are hired because we are supposedly intelligent and are dedicated to our profession, but we are often treated very unprofessionally.

  • Debby

    I am a recently retired teacher, 43 years experience. I have witnessed others being bullied. Principals expect everyone to obey their every rule, whether or not the rules makes sense or fit their program. My most recent experience was the principal demanding that teachers of kids who are fed through their stomachs, cannot read or write, attend every single inservice for regular ed teachers in a comprehensive high school. Kids well below kindergarten level. When the principal was presented a proposal that a parallel inservice be done that fit the needs of our kids, we were dismissed. He said something about ” you need to be exposed.” (for example, how to improve writing skills; how to encourage kids to apply for AP… Mind you we were already attending many inservices specific to our kids via outside sources. Evidently we needed to be exposed to what regular HS kids did; but regular ed teachers in the school didn’t need exposure to what we did The most hypocritical thing about this……the principal had NEVER set foot in one of our classrooms in 8 years…. so the “exposure” thing was nonsense. And for those who dare to skip a meeting, a completely irrelevant meeting, hell has no fury like a principal scorned. The same principal made no effort to visit the classrooms of this esoteric program under his leadership. If he had, he would have seen how many inservices the dept was doing on a regular basis. Only after about 8 years did he even think to have an inservice about this special program to “EXPOSE” the reg ed staff.

    Back to “hell hath no fury like a principal scorned” teachers who skipped a couple of irrelevant meetings, were being pushed around and not told where their next assignment would be. Leaving school for the summer with no clear assignment for the next year, is an untenable situation, and a cheap bullying tactic. I am thrilled they had the last word….they moved on to another school.

  • Sykes Hoffman

    It is really the fault of the school district administration in our local area schools, the Local board is trying to curtail expenditures by getting rid of the older,more experienced educators. They hire new teachers, run them through the mill, get rid of them before they have a shot at tenure, it has become a form of racket, racketeering school administrators, abusing the teachers, and using the new hires. California schools are in an awful mess, I am going to pull up stakes, and head East, at least the states back east are not sinking under pending economic ruin, like California is. It used to be such a wonderful place to live, now it is a shadow of its former self, heaven help all new teachers, they can expect conditions to only get worse.

  • TexasTeachernMom

    My first year teaching my daughter was assaulted and I was told if I got a lawyer for her I’d lose my job. Five years later I am faced with my daughter making an outcry and stating things I knew nothing about. I taught for one more year, but the worst part in knowing she suffered in silence all those years and I didn’t know the extent of it because it wasn’t shared with me as a parent. The best part is when I was told the put a dollar sign to the consequences a few weeks ago I told them my daughter wasn’t for sale. Standing up for what’s right and to the “bully” is the only way to make it stop. I resigned at great personal cost from a profession I love but I have decided to standup to the bully in this case and try to make sure it does not happen again to others. The emotional stress and physical strain on both myself and my daughter was no longer worth it…get legal advice and standup to the bully–go make informational only reports with the police department everytime it happens, this helps proves your case.

  • LD

    It goes on all the time and is usually directed at bright, proactive educators. Oversight could stop this, but districts generally allow bullying to censor those individuals who are motivated more by the rule of law and less by cosmology and campaigning for corrupt schools. People balk at this, but that’s the 75% that promote it. Think, and they WILL surround you with conflagration. Morality and ethics just aren’t programmed into education, albeit people assume this to be a high priority for districts. Not so.
    in fact, districts generally practice an atramental professional dynamic that is the exact opposite of what you would expect. Teacher aren;t allowed to think. Those who do are bullied out of the system. Student’s aren’t allowed to think. Those that do are bullied out of the system. Don’t confused being a belligerent opinionated jerk with reason. Generally, the former is a district darling and the latter, one who reasons, unemployed. Get it? Not true? Don’t know? Diffident and undecided? Pathetically and pathologically normal.

  • LD

    @texasteachermom email me at coastx at yahoo dot com for discussion about same. We can compare notes.

  • Annonymous

    I find it sad that I can relate to this story, as well as the other teacher’s accounts. It is sad when the school administration will turn it’s back on a teacher and try to force them out, just because they are different. I work in a predominately African American school district, and was told by an Instructional Assistant that I was unfit to teach in that particular district because of a number of “reasons” including I wasn’t married, didn’t live in the district, wasn’t a mother, and was white. When I went to my administrator the issue was swept under the table. That is until I received 3 non-renewal notices. I have to say Thank God for the NEA and my membership in this organization. It was because of the fact that I documented EVERYTHING and stayed in constant communication with my representative, that I was able to meet with our District’s HR Director, and was able to keep my position. What I have found is that in districts that are fundamentally set in their ways, young teachers are often put in the firing line, because we come with new ideas, and new approaches. Most times it is our fresh ideas that “rock the boat”. However I believe that if you don’t rock the boat then you are not being true to yourself as an educator. Do what you think is best, if that means teaching in a different way – do it. We do what we do not for ourselves, but for the children; and they are the only thing that SHOULD matter. Giving them the best education so that they can succeed and become contributing members of society that have an open mind and open perspective of the world in which they live in.

    I find that it is so important for ALL teachers to belong to their local district’s EA and speak up when something is wrong. It is a tough road to fight, but I have found that documentation was key in me becoming victorious. For those of you who have lost your fight, and have had your passion squashed my heart goes out to you. I know that I am lucky in how my situation ended up and that for so many it does not end on a positive note. However, please don’t give up. Our children depend on it.

  • Washington Educator

    This problem needs to be addressed on a national level . To make my story short and sweet I was bullied by a secretary and principal – with the superintendent amusingly watching on. I had been informed quietly that I was the “chosen one” that year. It was so bad my doctor pulled me out of work and put me on medical leave for severe depression and anxiety. Being the positive person I use to be, I tried to go back the next school year since there was a new principal. But, their job wasn’t finished till they pulled me out the middle of that year with their bulling , harassment and intimidation techniques , they went to lengths I neverdreamed possible. I would have committed suicide without my family and daughter. Today I am still in education and I thank God I was hired by a different district ( a job no one else wanted due to the severity of the handicapping conditions of the students). I have moved up and done well ( as the 20 years I had done Before the HIB in the one district) I. My evaluations are all good/superior now. As I see new people coming into the field I think ” GET OUT!!!!” this profession has nothing but heartache and low pay and constant criticism. Take your talents somewhere where they are appreciated”. But, I say nothing because I trust NO ONE and I am completely politically correct. I back up all my files and I make sure all my I’s are dotted, T’s are crossed and I do my best.

  • I was bullied unmercifully by my assistant principal, then by my principal. The principal apparently made the decision to side with his assistant principal rather than tell the guy to stop being so nasty. It was easier for the principal to join in the bullying rather than deal with his assistant principal. There was nothing I could do about it, because the HR director was a buddy of the assistant principal, so going to him would have been a waste of time. Their object was to embarrass and humiliate me every day, and they were very good at it. I stayed until I was old enough to retire, then got out of there. People are under the impression that in schools, it’s only the kids who are bullying each other. Not true at all… those in power are just as bad.

  • Paul

    Reading these comments brings back a lot of very painful memories of my 40 years as a teacher (grades 7 – 14). Yes, community colleges also have their share of idiot administrators, and I will also argue that poor administrators are one of the root causes of our failing school systems.

    Thank God, I am retired now. When people ask me how I like retirement, I say, “Great. It’s been x years since I was last denounced!” I once described the inner workings of the “system” as being more like those of Stalinist Russia than of Democratic America. “You are guilty just because someone said so. No proof required!”

    And then people wonder why American education is in such a sorry state, and of course, administrators have the answer: an endless supply of bad teachers!

  • JC

    Thanks to everyone who responded. A special thanks go to those who successfully used technology to stop the bullying – at least for the time being. I plan to get an ipad with a recorder. And I am down-right serious about tape recording my classes. Oh – and to the person who reported they were cited for rolling their eyes – the same happened to me…a parent told me that her son had come home and told her I rolled my eyes at him. However, I did not roll my eyes at him. In addition, I have had students pulled out of my classroom and questioned about something I said in class – mind you, about a vocabulary lesson I was teaching. I was then called to the office and a secretary came to my room and said she was to watch my classroom while I went to the office – this is a person who is not certified to supervise students. I was told a parent was angry because the resource I used for teaching how to find context clues was one used at the high school – and that I had told the students that. I told the principal that one of the other students in the class had raised his hand and said that the lesson we had was from a book his brother was using in high school. My principal kept insisting that I said it. I kept insisting that I did not. I told her that it says in our teacher duties that we are to use the text issued as well as “other resources.” She demanded that I STOP USING IT. Therefore the need for technology to record our teaching and our conversations IS A MUST. Also, use the suggestion of one teacher on this site: journal every day – every time you talk to another teacher, student, parent, administrator – or any time they talk to you. It is imperative! Do not back down.

  • Sarah Selech

    Our school secretary, who was the principal’s personal friend, harassed and literally extorted teachers in our small elementary school. We had a teacher turn-over rate of 25% annually. When the secretary behaved in that manner towards me, I addressed it professionally, with documentation and a complaint to the principal and her supervisors. After that, despite years of positive evaluations, the principal began sending negative complaints to the district about me so that my complaint about the secretary would not be taken seriously.

    I left that dreadful school and unhelpful district to work in a wonderful district nearby. I have noticed the test scores for my former school dropping dramatically over the years since I have gone. I have heard very similar stories from other teachers in our non-union state. I am glad I work in a good district, that supports teachers. But, many women and men in our state face are treated very badly by their districts. I believe the economic situation currently emboldens districts to completely exploit teachers.

  • lorena

    Totally bullied as a paraprofessional and also some time back when I used to be a tutor. I resigned voluntarily at the end of each of these school years–better than dealing with bitter, power-hungry “professionals.” Life gets so much better! Bullying in the workplace needs to be addressed big time.

    God bless you all.

  • Dave

    I taught (or tried to) at a small school in east central Illinois for a couple of years. Everything that was mentioned above happened to me. I would ask teachers questions for example and instead of answering me, they would say very loudly “check your email” and walk away from me.

    The principal had me detailed lesson plans and never answered me when I asked why other teachers weren’t required to. He gave me poor evaluations that basically forced me to resign, which I did because I was tired of the treatment from other teachers. The last straw was the last day when all teachers were to have a end of year dinner, receive their checks, and leave for the summer. I asked the principal if I could just get my check and go and was told no. No one spoke to me during the dinner and I finally left and returned to my room to wait. I do not miss that school.

  • Former California Teacher

    I thought I had been the only one. I was an experienced teacher who moved to a new school district to be close to home. I also experienced bullying at the hands of a principal in the form of unannounced evaluation on day of a site visit, behavior modification plan with lesson plans submitted 1 week in advance, and pulling students out to ask about things that I had said in class. I received a nonrenewal notice. This was also under cover of “economic uncertainty.” The encouragement of teachers to “resign” in lieu of having to acknowledge being nonreelected is a form of bullying. Five teachers in the school experienced similar bullying situations that year. I did seek help from the union reps, but union was relatively weak in that district.

    This school had a very high turnover rate and large class sizes. This small central valley district had a top heavy administration.

  • rhonda

    Bullying goes on throughout our district. Parents, teachers, support staff has gone to the superintendent about principals bullying staff and nothing is done.One teacher was told by a coworker that she was told not to talk to her, or they would be in trouble by the administration It is so bad that the people no longer reports it, and yet this principal still has a job and still continues with the bullying.This past year some of our younger experienced teachers began to bully a 30+ year veteran and nothing was done.Parents were told to get their child out of this teacher’s room and fast.It seems these teachers that are bullying co workers seem to think they know more than the more experienced teacher. What has happened to our education system that allows this. School districts have a Zero tolerance for bullying with students, should this not also include the educators?

  • Don’t Dare Say

    Sadly, this issue hits home for me as well. About 8 years or so ago, a new Superintendent came to my school and my life was turned upside down. I was accused of screaming at my students (I was using a microphone due to a hearing impaired child and was right around the corner from the Supt.’s office.) Then, when I asked for help with my SPED students (who in the years before and after my class had MORE services) I was told that I would be taking the help away from the other teachers and they would be mad at me. So, I barely made it through that year with my sanity. Then I was transferred to a different grade level after only 2 years at my grade, partly to “help me refresh myself” but mostly to deny me an important computer based special grant program. The Principal, who had been so supportive before this new Superintendent, all of a sudden would not back me and started to question everything I did. Then, the following year I was told that the Supt. kept hanging out by my door where I couldn’t see her. I also kept “losing” things in my classroom that would mysteriously appear a few days later – I could never prove anything there, but I am 99% positive that someone was doing that on purpose. Also, another teacher in the district who was very well loved by everyone but refused to “bow down” to the new Supt. was also harassed in the same way. She finally ended up getting cancer and dying – and I know that stress wasn’t helping there.

    Luckily for me, I have moved on to another district where things have been better, although the climate is changing there too and I am starting to worry that I need to be really careful and cover my you-know-what. By the way, it’s not just me that is getting these feelings, so you can’t say it’s because of my teaching!

  • Dr. Michael W. Schaffer

    I was a teacher for over 33 years. The above named principal and her administrators have conducted themselves as mentioned above since they arrived. The previous administrator tried to warn us of what type of person was coming in ans strongly sujjested we might want to try and leave White Oak. She and her administrators did the bullying routine on me continually the four years that I remained at the school. In the last year, because I received no help from the deputy superintendent and the union rep, I brought my own attorney in. Teaching is a team job where administrators and teachers need to feel that they belong and are apart of the team. All of the large number of teachers who have left and continue to leave should be a wakeup call. We need to be there for our students and not have to worry or feel afraid to come into a job we love.

  • Valinda Jockinsen

    Been here before. It’s very frustrating and just like any abuse people don’t feel that others will believe them or understand. I have been looking for a job after 20 years of being in the same field but only to be turned down because I can’t get a letter from my past administrator. It’s real depressing.

  • Carolyn

    This article hits home with me big-time. Much of what has been described by other teachers happened to me this past school year. I have documented a lot of what went on and had also used a tape recorder in my pocket when having any conversation with anyone. I was forced to either retire, quit or be terminated. I choose to retire. Now I am trying to find another position in another district in another State. It’s not easy.

    I have talked to a couple of attorneys who have told me, I have a case but their case load is too heavy to take the case. My pastor told me that was their way of telling me the case would be long and complicated.

    What can we do as a group of teachers nation-wide to put a stop to the bullying, harassment and the creating of hostile work environments in the school by administration of the school and those in District Offices who condone these types of situations occurring in the schools. The children are the ones who ultimately suffer.

    I am willing to stand up and be counted along with others to whom this has happened to. How do we begin? I believe that together we can fight the bullying, etc…. A group united will win. When administrators instruct other teachers and staff not to talk with us, or else, you know what happens to that person’s teaching and what happens to the morale at the school of the staff. It happened to me, only one teacher at the end of the school year came and wished me well and that teacher made sure no one else was around when he did so…. I taught at another school, everything was fine at that school but they couldn’t keep me they said because District said they couldn’t.
    HELP! let’s join together and put an end to bullying, etc…

  • Our organization, NAPTA, National Association for the Prevention of Teacher Abuse, has been trying to expose this covert practice of harassing and disposing of dedicated teachers for over a decade since it is the primary reason our schools are failing. It is one of the tools EducRAT$ use to maintain their agenda of ravaging our schools in pursuit of money and power. I wrote a book, White Chalk Crime: The REAL Reason Schools Fail, where this game of organized crime is detailed. Making sure teachers who care about children are left powerless is one of their primary objectives since dedicated teachers will always report anyone who might harm children. We hope you will come to our website and join us as we need numbers to force the media to report the hands that feed them.

  • Carolyn and others find this organization at EndTeacherAbuse.org and more information at WhiteChalkCrime.com.

  • J. Dahlen

    I’m glad I decided to check out the link on bullying that came in my email. I have experienced this via administrators, and, more hurtfully, fellow staffers. I ask all regular classroom teachers to contemplate the isolation experienced by your specialists. We don’t have grade level teams as work mates. We often don’t share lunch or recess breaks with you, especially if, to accomodate your needs, we work half time. During staff meetings our contributions can be met with a cold silence (for taking up time I presume) and in staff development meetings we can be marginalized. How many times have you welcomed your music teacher to discussions assigned by workshop leaders? How many times have you turned a distincly cold shoulder and focused your discussion intently on “real” teachers from your team? How many times have you turned up your nose at a friendly hello in the hallway? I do my damnedest to extend myself and model how it COULD be if everyone behaved like the cream of the crop we’re all supposed to be. Please take time to reflect on these comments and see if they ring a bell with you. If you’re one of those who are respectful and supportive of ALL your colleagues, the next step might be to speak up if you hear others speaking disrespectfully about people they really haven’t troubled to get to know. It’ll be good for everyone. We can’t model empathetic behavior for our kids if don’t practice it ourselves.

  • Greg

    This is so distrusting to hear. I once ha an admin tell me that no one owns. up to anythin anymore. So don,t try to get students to take responsibility for their actions. He of course bullied many employee into leaving. Go figure.

  • Ann Clark

    I retired from teaching (2010) and I was fortunate to work in a district where this would NOT have been tolerated. Avenues for reporting incidents anonymously were also available.
    I have talked with teachers from other districts where bullying frequently occurred. Who will teach our children when teachers quit and go to Walmart? We could very well see the demise of Public Education if this action is continued.
    Ann Clark

  • Shaylynn

    Never let the B——S get you down…..just escape them.
    And never, ever, ever “sign” anything at all – you don’t have to – you’re under “duress.” It’s really OK to walk away – and just leave.
    Everyone can save their money – and take a break.

    Like any abusive marriage, you CAN break your contract!
    It’s more important to survive – and take care of yourself.
    You can’t help anyone else if you’re broken – much less children – children much less powerful than you. Report everything.

    Call the abuse hotline, anonymously, of course – about any abusive principal – or person – period. So many teachers refuse to REPORT.
    Force child protective services to investigate – everything……schools are being run just like K-marts these days. So much bragging – amid so little accomplishment! Rather funny.

    You didn’t sign up to be physically abused, harassed, or interrogated.
    Learning is not “military” training…..walk away. Don’t play this game in the manner “they” expect. You have the power to walk away – and to sue them. That’s one way “change happens” – in America.

    Or, you can try to do something positive – and populist….you’ll truly need a lot of support.

    It’s dog eat dog.

    Write about everything and then – publish it – online!

    Utah is one of the most abusive states for teachers – it’s a virtual revolving-door environment for so many. It’s also a REPUBLICAN state….

    (They’re so paranoid that Mexicans will take over every job – one can’t get a driver’s license without a USA birth certificate. Mine had to be ordered online – from out of state – and sent through the U.S. Mail – oh so slowly…….It arrived past the expiration date…. I was forced to be, briefly, a lawbreaker. How very stupid to deliberately make American citizens “criminals”…..or prevent them – and their talents – from being USED to improve one’s own state! Who cares what race or color actually DOES this?)

    Let NO ONE – and nothing – “bully” or intimidate you – period…..let’s work smarter – not “harder” – and relax. If someone physically – or administratively – bothers you at all – you should know what all your options are – ahead of time. Then use them.

  • Shaylynn

    Write your own administrative letter!

  • I left an earlier message–at 4:48 on July 26; I just had to return with another comment after reading all of these incredible statements–and in this context I use “incredible” not as “lacking credence” but rather “hard to believe but I know it’s true!” Think about the fact that all of these very similar stories are coming from teachers all across the nation! To all of you who are early-to-mid-career: I worked in a mid-size urban district just west of Philadelphia, PA for almost 30 years; every single year we were in crisis-mode because our leadership could not come up with the “magic pill” to make all students succeed–at least not to “standards”; once we were placed on the state’s “endangered species list” and threatened with outside takeover, the crisis got even hairier, and the district became a target for every administrative “magic medicine show” going; the result was that these bunko artists conned the district dry of funds and then quickly departed for virgin territory–we even had a superintendent go to federal prison for fraud–I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP; YOU CAN LOOK IT UP! I made it to retirement–how I do not know; I like to think of myself as “the last teacher standing.” But anyway, I would suggest an attitude of “this too shall pass”–just hang in there and things should get better, if for no other reason than they can’t hardly get any worse! Been there, done that!

  • After many years of teaching at a large school in my district, I was moved to a small, community school with about 7 teachers. It was the most horrific experience of my life! The 2 teachers who had been there “forever” made constant complaints about me- my bulletin boards, my grading/portfolio system (they actually threw my portfolios away), that I needed heat in my classroom, I rang the bus bell one minute early… yada, yada.
    The principal told me she didn’t like me and thought that the teachers who came from my original school were the worst she’s seen. She refused to tell me who was complaining but it was obvious. Not one parent or child ever complained. My co-teacher (complainer) asked me to switch some students with her because she didn’t get along with the parents. It took me a long time to figure out she gave me almost all of the Sp. Ed. kids, so now she’s considered a God because her test scores were higher than mine. (I enjoy the Sp. Ed. kids.) She would yell and scream at me, but only when she had an audience. Within a few months of being there I began to wake up feeling sick to my stomach. My doctor put me on anxiety meds just to walk out my door. I shook all the way to school. I’d cry all the way home. I couldn’t eat or sleep. To them I was always doing something wrong, like parking too far over… In the middle of the winter I needed the heat turned on as my room got no sun. The complainers’ rooms were sunny and warm so they wouldn’t allow the custodian to turn the heat on. It became such an issue that it actually went to the supt. to solve. We got heat.
    The last day I vividly remember is the Friday before Halloween. I was taking pictures of the Halloween Parade to put on our website when that teacher screamed at me! She sent my students in, then came in to scream at me in front of the kids and the parents. When the kids went out for recess she came into the staff room to scream at me again. She thought I should have been walking in the parade.
    I got so sick that I couldn’t think and at the end of it, I was unable to talk. I could feel the words stuck in my head, but couldn’t get them out. As a PTSD survivor I knew I had to leave. My doc gave me the rest of the year off (over 6 months paid). The complainers went into my room and wiped it out. There was nothing left on any surface and all the desks were moved around. The only things left were personal books I bought for teaching. I decided to take them home. When the principal saw that I took my belongings, she called and told me “not to bother to come back, that she had the locks changed”.
    It took me a long, long time to heal. I did everything my doc told me to, but it was a struggle to even want to get up every day.
    After I left, the same 2 teachers started in on one of the other new teachers. Unfortunately, she broke down also. We both got out. As of next year we will be at other schools and we’re both very grateful. The thing is… I loved the kids and the families there. I’ll miss them.
    These teachers’ behavior is completely unacceptable. These are professional adults. I’ve never seen anything like them in my life. I wish I had known how to make it stop.

  • J. Dahlen

    PS: More food for thought. Please bear in mind that your specialists, including part timers, pay union dues. And there is no hardship allowance for part timers. When it comes to negotiations, will you stand behind your very minority part timers a full dues payers worth?

  • This “discussion” is more like a “reality show.” I was hoping for intelligent debate, sharing experiences and ideas. What this has turned out to be is a whine session.
    I’m really disappointed in the lack of substanstial dialogue.
    Grow up, teachers.

  • Try bullying by a custodian! I’ve taught in various schools and school districts since 1971, but I had a new experience teaching summer school this summer. A head custodian who accused me of “helping myself to whatever I want” and insisted that I should not drive my car around to a door closer to my classroom to load my personal items to take back to my home school. Never before have I had problems with custodial staff. This was a new and very unpleasant experience!

  • Bettye

    I was threatened by a student at the high school where I taught after being forced from my regular assignment to take over the classes of another teacher who had to leave unexpectedly. It was determined by the principal that when the student made the statement he was not speaking directly to me so his statement could not be considered a threat! I was horrified!! I am a veteran teacher with no lack of understanding of the meaning of the word “threat” whether direct or indirect. The student said, “If I get an “F”, she’ll be sorry! I’m sorry but that to me is a threat!! The principal upheld the student and I resigned from the profession after speaking with the superintendent. Though the superintendent launched a rather brief investigation, the student went unpunished and graduated the following May. Good teachers are leaving the profession due to the fact that disrespect for authority is rampant on many high school campuses. I will never forget that day. I would never have guessed when I entered the profession that my career would end on such a note as this. Seems like this incident nullifies my worth as a teacher of forty plus years. I am the author of “Requiem for a Rough Ride”. Pity how great enthusiasm can be tarnished by a single incident! Pity how teachers have no rights in some school districts!

  • J. Dahlen

    Dear Done With… I do believe we ARE DISCUSSING REALITY. Please, feel free to develop the discussion, preferably without marginalizing people who are reporting the prevalence of bullying. What have you observed in your work environment? What steps have you or your union, or administrators taken to recognize and improve the work environment in your school?

  • Teachergirl

    I was bullied my first two years of teaching by my ESL director. I was in 3 schools a day,where 2 of the 3 principals disliked me, until February of that first year. After that, I went to one school a day. My new principal liked me and treated me well. My director however was a totally different story. I ended up getting an unsatisfactory evaluation so that she could get rid of me. This made my depression very bad and perhaps resulted in me not being as good as I could be. I was quite glad that I received my nonrenewal notice. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find another position as of yet. I keep hoping to see something. I worked part-time this past year, and I was treated very well in that district, and they liked my work. Just praying for a resolution. So I think it sometimes it is best to just leave. For I know in the district I was in, the superintendent had a worse reputation than the ESL director.

  • J. Dahlen

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! Why was Done With Discussions comment deleted? I posed a response that afforded that individual an opportunity to develop the discussion further, and I’d like to have the opportunity to read a response. How are we supposed to have a discussion if you delete dissenting remarks? Are we only going to preach to the choir, or are we, in fact, going to have a discussion?

  • Amy Lafferty

    Now that we have recognized the problem, what are we going to do about it? Whistle-blowers in many other occupations have no protections. The American public continues to support many businesses which REFUSE to allow unions to form to protect the workers. CTA has steps in place to address bullying in the workplace. Teachers need to begin using them. One of the steps is a written form which is processed through the representation of a member of the teachers’ association. Unlawful practices need to stop. Just as we trained children not to stand by and watch another child being bullied we need to step up and help our co-workers.

    • lordblazer

      maybe it’s time to move to a much nicer country then. that’s what I’m doing. I was gonna take a teaching job in Taiwan but decided to go the route of an entrepreneur and give it a go in canada and singapore.

  • Out but not Down

    This unfortunately is an issue I still wrestle with after being forced into early retirement 3 years ago. Our principal arrived at our school with her own agenda….bringing her current staff with her which in our system was against the rules, you kept the staff you have at the new school. A secretary of 22 years was forced out…she was put in the position of retire or get fired. She had to retire and of course, guess who was hired…her previous secretary. The two of them took over the office even though I was Principal’s Secretary and made changes without including me. I talked about it with her but it was useless. I was then treated like a leper and the staff was told not to come to me for anything. I contacted the union but they were useless. Finally, it got so bad, my doctor told me either I had to leave or I would have a stroke from the stress. I ended up retiring but had to go out on medical leave first. This principal not only harrassed me once she got her other secretary there, but also fanagled the teaching staff…moving people around to different levels after teaching a grade level for years (this was to force several older teachers into retirement thinking they would rather retire than drop down several grade levels. I am happy to say they called her bluff and took the positions. But then retired at the end of the year) She would discuss with me who she wanted out and how she was going to do it. I have worked for seven principals and have never met anyone so devious as this. She abused her position and power to destroy careers. She knew teacher’s weaknesses and worked that to her advantage. When I finally had to leave, a secretary, cafeteria manager, and several older teachers were bullied into leaving also. I still have days I wish I could have been stronger to stand up to her but there is always that thing about having to do “duties as assigned” which is a phrase that protects the bullies. I still feel bad about the staff I knew was on the “hit” list but could do nothing about it. She brought in her staff that she wanted by underhandedly getting rid of people. There are administrators who know how to manage and there are others who manipulate….and deceive…and how do you ever get peace from being on the “out” side when you loved your job and did a good job for over 23 years? I ger some peace by the old adage…what goes around comes around and sooner or later she will meet her match!

  • Tamaril Means

    Done with Discussion:

    “…a whine session.” “…substanstial dialogue.”
    “Grow up, teachers.”

    Hmmmm…let’s marginalize the voices of the victims, shall we? Why don’t we isolate them and discourage their sharing indvidual ordeals so that they never realize that they are not alone? Let’s tell them to put on their big boy drawers/big girl panties and simply suck it up!

    Mrs. Means

    Madame/Sir your words are deliberately daggered. Perhaps you truly believe that “intelligent debate” can soften the hearts of those hell bent on snuffing out any light that doesn’t shine in just the way theirs does. May you NEVER experience the horror of what these writers expose. May your loved ones in the field be spared the same. Still, may you fully understand…

  • J. Dahlen

    I must say, I worked for a private catholic school for 10 years and endured the whims, politics and petulance of assorted itinerant priests ( they usually stay about 5 years) Talk about your bullies. The unfortunate thing is the human condition exist in every environment. Bullies will be bullies, cliques will be cliques, ageism will be ageism, classism will be classism between certified/classified,(both ways) classroom and specialist, young and old, (got mommy issues?),full time and part time, administration and teachers. The only way to work this out it to shed light on it and remain strong. Communicating about these issues, and developing more awareness as union members in solidarity. No marginalizing. Own it and do something about it.

  • Timtam

    The state of Washington has a great sight with info and ideas about workplace bullying. It helped just to read it, to pull my head together so that I could get my job done. I don’t associate with the bullies unless my job requires it. I do agree that poor leadership opens the door to this behavior, is even sanctioned. It is a rather easy form of social control because those that do it serve the purpose of the one looking away. They get power and he has control. It is an effective way for an ineffective administrator to operate. It is unhealthy to work in a hostile environment. It is hard to do what we do without a supportive workplace.

  • Ms. Band Teacher

    I was bullied and threatened by my superintendent. When I brought in my union rep to meet with him, he blew up and said “he wasn’t willing to cooperate and didn’t have to” and scared the union rep. When they are not willing, it was a tough job to come to an agreement. When they target you…Look out! I stayed calm and held strong because I did nothing wrong. After the superintendent spent the better part of the summer trying to find “something” I could of done wrong, including going through my computer, my records, my desk, speak with parents, etc. the union advised me not to go back as he could make my life miserable. So, I received a pay out. Fortunately, the guy had more “breakdowns” and was let go the following year. Do you want to know his name? What he did to me was cruel and unforgivable.

  • J.

    Hmm….I teach young kids, but the last time I checked, one third was bigger than one fourth. The article says one third of people in the workplace are bullied, but that it’s more prevalent in education–25%…this is presumably an article by an educator….this is what gives teachers a bad name……I just couldn’t
    get past that right in the first paragraph. Let’s hope the author was a bit more careful with the rest of the article.

  • jessica svhultz

    I was so happy to read this article. I worked at a small district in Idaho for three years. In those three years I saw the administration bully teachers and the ones that stood up for what was right where run off by the same administation. I have not been able to get a job in education this past year because of how I stood up to the administration and told them they could not bully me. I could not believe that such a behavior could happen in the field of education but it was worse then anything i had ever experienced in my life. I would love to be back in the classroom but i know that until the administration is change they will prevent me and others from ever stepping into a classroom. Whisle blowers in education are not looked upon very nicly in Idaho and administrators have a way of getting rid of them.

  • Hobo1957

    David @ 7:36, what steps did you take to get the help from the NEA state representative?

    MM, I also work in special education and have experienced many of the same things as you have in addition to being “mobbed” by many members of the staff. I advocated for these students, assisted parents, reported co-workers/administrators who physically and verbally treated students with special needs poorly and illegally and so on. Thank you for renewing my faith in school psychologists (at least one). Our psychologists are groomed to highly “influence” us sped teachers and check their ethics at the door in order to survive.

  • John

    I will agree with all above about bullying. The bottom line is most co-workers are jelous or afraid that someone will take their job. In
    many professional organizations that provide classes and certifications require an Ethics class. But ethics and simple courtesy are out the window in education as well as the other professions. As part of a school district in Dallas and my dealings with the local school district my family members
    have been bullied by more adminstrators and teachers than students.
    The schools top dogs (mostly with Peds) are the worst. They have lost focus with their responsibilities and are out of touch with the meeting the Goals and Objects of our public education. This will never be corrected until voters/parents/tax payers voice their opinions at the ballot box by voting for the new comers instead of the status quo.

  • I have been teaching middle school since 1995. I’ve been bullied as well. My principal believed a student with 7 years of poor behavior over me. Here is my story. Have you ever heard of a principal removing a student from your class with 9 days left of school? This happened to me. To top it off, I was friends with this student’s mom for over 7 years.In fact she personally requested me to be his teacher. Did I also mention the student was removed from my class without the principal ever talking to me? I requested several parent/admin/teacher conferences. Guess what?? That never happened either. My principal also pulled out 20 students and interviewed them asking, “Do you like your teacher?” ” I heard you are her favorite student, I’m not here to get her fired. I’m just asking you questions so we can help your teacher be a better teacher.” One of my students even told the principal that the “Removed” student was trying to get me fired. Still the principal without parent consent cont’ intervewing students for information to use againt me. I am the only teacher that has to have the cell phone turned off during the day with the exception of lunch and my conference period. I am single out. When summer came I received crank calls on my personal cell phone. I contacted my principal and I got no support. Guess who the crank caller was? The student who was removed from my classroom. He stole my cell phone number from his mom’s cell phone. With the lack of support from my principal I went to the police department. It’s a crime what the student did to me. Do you think my principal will side with me now or the misbehaved student? I received “Proficient” on all of my formal evaluations and when I asked my principal to write me a letter of recommendation so I can continue my education and receive my Masters Degree. He denied me and said he “didn’t feel comfortable” in doing so. What happened to promoting life long learners? The school year ended with my principal giving me a book to read, wants me to change my seating arrangments in my classroom, he already changed my conference period and took away my enrichment class-Public Speaking to give me math intervention, and every email I write to parents has to be proof read by the prinicpal. I could write a book about this incident. So much to write, but little space. Boy I can’t wait to start a new school year. NOT!!!

  • ADH

    Wow! I did not know I was not alone. All of the above and more…ditto. I was told point blank, “I want you fired.” That administration complained I could not teach (18 year veteran). I was moved to another building in the district, no classroom, moving nine times a day to other classrooms with special needs students, no resources, living on a cart, three levels of steps, teaching differentiated instruction in self-contained, six different subjects, no support from other teachers (not because they did not sympathize with my plight, but that they were fearful to lose their jobs if they supported me), hooking in and out of technology devices in each classroom in a building that was not wired fully, even to the accusation that it was my fault a troubled student tried to commit suicide. This administration complained I was a great teacher but had no positive relationship skills even though my colleagues said I was outstanding. Students’ lies were believed that I hit them, etc. Yet, I am slated to go back this fall with a “last chance” “Plan of Assistance”. The last one was more of a plan of bullying to get me fired. Yuck. But do not know what else to do. Cannot seem to get another job (I have a Master’s degree.).

  • Sam

    I know exactly what this is all about. I have been bullied by two separate principals from different districts. The first principal really wanted to get rid of me so she could hire her friend to take my place. The second principal wanted to make herself look good when parents asked what “she” was doing to help children improve their education. The second principal contacted the first to ask what could be done about me. The first principal basically said “I was easy”. They say they want to help teachers, but they know they aren’t. I have been on two separate teacher improvement plans in two different districts in Arizona. It really gets you down especially when you’re trying to support a family on a teacher’s salary. I complained to the EEOC and I had a really good case to sue the principal, but I chickened out. I should have followed through with it, because now, I can’ even get a teaching position as long as I have to submit my last principal’s email to be used for a new teacher questionaire by a new district. Arizona principals also use teacher bonuses for themselves. But this is another subject altogether.

  • L. Allen

    Yes, bullying is a big problem. The sad thing is that administrators and teachers are sometimes as bad or worse than the kids! I transfered schools n the district to get away from a new principal. I and many other contacted NEA – that had never happen in the numbers it did that year. Over half the teachers left the building and more wanted to but were not allowed. “They” needed some teachers with experience in the building. After three years, the principal was asked to resign with a reccomendation or have his contract not renewed. So just pass on the sexist and racist bully to someone else. I’ve taught for many years but I will be glad when I can retire and work with kids without have to deal with a beauocracy (sP) that promotes and igonores significant problems. This does not even touch on the issue of students bullying teachers and nothing is done.

  • E

    I agree with everyone that bullying has gotten worse and the public and administrators are holding students accountable for their actions. The admin would rather pacify the parents and hurt the feelings of the student, what are we teaching our future, that mommie and daddie will be there to help you the rest of your life!!!! We are charged with developing the future of this country and yet we are not to have strict guidelines because it may hurt someone feelings. I know of a school district that allows students to turn in homework for full credit up to the end of the semester and if a parent complains the admin can not back the teacher….we are setting up our students for failure. Why is it the teacher is always accused of doing the harm? When will parents hold their son/daughter accountable as they hold the teachers? Where is the blamed going to go when you don’t have intelligent teachers teaching ??? We are going back to the 50 and 60’s in education where the non privileged will be receiving education from under fun dded and unsupported programs and the elite and rich go off to private, voucher and charter schools for their education!!!!

    We can not set up the students for failure nor can we not hold them accountable as teachers are held accountable. It is hard to put students first without teachers!!!!

  • CJ

    and short of hiring a lawyer, what is one supposed to do if the one doing the bullying is the union itself?

  • Let’s all expose the bullying of schools’ administrations to our school boards. Sign up to speak in the public forum at board meetings. Board members deserve to know! 🙂 We would do it en masse… it would be like “the wave” at a football game…We just need a little organization.. Those of you in Maryland, Arizona, Pennslyvania, Ohio, Florida, Utah–it doesn’t matter where we are from!; the issue is the same tiresome issue: school boards and school districts protecting abusive principals. There! I said it! 🙂
    I am willing. I haven’t thought it all through yet, but I am EXCITED by the possibility of how powerful a statement that would be to the NATION! Please email me at kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com to discuss.

    In the end–how will we ever keep children safe from bullying if we are not safe from the same?

  • I am also an educator in Augusta and I feel that I have been bullied, threatened, and harrassed. I filed a grievance. I requested legal representation from GAE and learned that you can only be represented by a UD or LAP which is no one but a previous teacher. I requested to stay but the superintendant thought it was in my best interest to move me. I was moved to the school that I started teaching at. It is one of the most difficult schools to teach at. Even though I know I did not do any thing wrong I felt the move was punitive. There are custodians and paraprofessionals that talk to people and make threats and get away with it. When joining GAE the perk was to have local representation. This is erroneous. As soon as school resumes and this grievance is over I will change to PAGE.

  • Byron Garner

    I too have been bullied recently. As a Master’s Degree AA certified Spanish teacher of 8 years I did not know bullying from an administrator was this easy. “I’m on salary”, I thought. “I’m an NEA/MAE member”, I said. “I have due process”, I ensured myself. But…..one newly elected Superintendent Murray “Ray” Carlock of Franklin County in Meadville, MS showed me otherwise. Unlike the woman in the posted story, I expose bullies and their behavior because I grew up with kids just like them. Because I was a preacher and African-American, he used his resources to fire me as soon as he was elected. I had already resigned for the following year, but he fired with one month to go in school, with no reprimands, and denied me employment. Then he fired me for the very thing that I had preached against all of my professional career, which is sexual solicitaion of a student by way of Code of Ethics Standard 4. Not only do I want to proclaim my innocence, but the attack that he has done jeopardizes not only my job but my teaching license in the state and my ability to get another job. Because of the lies, I have received threats from parents and everything. This bullying has forced me out of the state of Mississippi as a teacher. I did not know this could happen without proof. Mississippi needs more protection for its employees.

  • EBD

    I have not been a witness to bullying by administration. In fact, I have been lucky enough to always have a supportive and positive administration in the schools I have worked in.

    However, I have sadly observed several incidents of bullying by parents. Two of my colleagues have been bullyed, harassed and intimidated by parents who refuse to hold their own children accountable. They have made unjust accusations and complaints against teachers who have done nothing more than correct inappropriate and disruptive behavior in the classrooms.

    Until parents are held accountable for their children’s behavior and achievement, teacher’s hands will be tied to improve education for all students. Parents who bully teachers are hindering everyone’s education.

  • Kathy

    I was treated to a very hostile work environment at Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. The union (MCEA)a, as I had been warned by other employees, was pro-management. I was treated as if I had committed a heinous crime just because the Principal did not like me. There . . . I said it . . . HE JUST DIDN’T LIKE ME!!! The bullies survive. I was threatened by the Principal and the Union Rep and the Head of HR, etc. that if I took my appeal higher than the first level that my career would be ruined forever and that I would never teach again . . . “The gloves will come off and you will never survive — no one ever has!” I decided to resign. It is pure evil (call it what you like but evil is evil). Unfortunately, the Superintendent refused to accept phone calls, meet, or accept emails directly. He live in a ivory tower with many layers of sub-superintendents below him. I spoke with an attorney that advised be that fighting the evil empire was impossible and that no lawyer had ever had a successful outcome with MCPS. It was ugly to say the least. My fellow coworkers feared him and all decided that the Emperor was wearing clothes … we all knew he was not. What is the so out? Someone with guts to go out on a limb for the purpose of doing the right thing, and take on school system superintendents, and on down, or pray alot. This is really Supreme Court material. I survive and thrive because God loves me.

  • LH

    And what happens when your union does nothing to help you? My money was wasted on our union. I was only one target of this principal. Each year after me, almost half the staff would transfer out of that school. My mistake was that I requested a transfer BEFORE the time when she had to decide about who she would non-renew. When she knew I wanted outta there, that clinched her decision. I still have not been able to get a job in the public school system in my town because of what my past principal may be saying about me when people call. (I have been working in a private school for half of the pay since.) I believe it was budget cuts that cost me my job. Older teacher (more years of experience) with a master’s requires more of the budget pie than a new graduate. And that’s what I was replaced with.

  • Debra J

    In my case, the board was the bully and Luna laws in Idaho helped support that. They bullied my principal as well and he had to toe their line in fear for his job.

  • Susan Gutierrez

    I have been bullied for 5+ years now. I have gone home crying, hurt and very scared at times. I have contacted the Administration, and school board members and nothing has been done.. They say, oh yes we know and this is against the law… then nothing again.. It became worse for me when I started reporting the situations. I have had to stay quiet and take it over and over and over again. Other teachers on our campus are encourage making fun of me and the administrator laughs and enjoys it. Other teachers have been told to not be around me or the principal would take it out on them. I am not the only one that this is happening to which is sad. I had one teacher come up to me and say.. “How do you take it over and over again” I said I ask for God’s help each and every day. He has a plan for me.” You may ask why I don’t leave. I am committed to my families and children in the community, and also I have years of experience and schools don’t want to hire experience, they want the cheapest teacher. 🙁 I have called for legal help, and I have been told that nothing can be done unless I am physically touched. It is hard to prove bullying and other areas of concern. It is so sad, because I have been blessed with a very special gift to teach. I love to teach from the bottom of my heart. I have a long waiting list of students for my classroom each year. I am loved and supported by the parents. I believe in working with each family throughout their child’s education. I ensure in my classroom that no child is bullied and I put a stop to it right away.. They make a big issue that this is NO BULLY ZONE at our school and district.. haha on paper only. Nothing is done for the students at all unless the parents fight for it. So when I see a NO BULLY ZONE sign posted in our district. I want to cry. Thank you so much for this article. I felt so alone for so long, this helped me to realize I am not alone. (One day I went to lunch and a teacher told the person going with me that “they would get the mange if they ate lunch with me”. I felt like I needed to pass out flea collars for anyone that wanted to eat lunch with me. I have forgiven that person, but you know words cannot be forgotten. So becareful what you say to someone or do to someone. Thank you again for the article. . If this got out that I wrote this.. OH MY goodness..

  • retired

    My ordeal with administration bullying began with a co-department head and principal. Several grievances and years later it ended when these people were demoted and the superintendent retired. The Connecticut Education Association was a huge help but it went on far too long. At the forefront was the Ledyard Education Association rep. The bullying consisted of a list of unsubstantiated charges that tried to portray me as being violent. The fact that I am a Vietnam veteran was also used to aid in this. It recommended that I be removed. Teachers need due process as we are fair game to political bullying as well. Governor Malloy wanted legislation that would give principals the mandate to be able fire any teacher for whatever reason at any time. Those of us that have seen these people come and go, sometimes after only a year, know what trauma that would have caused.

  • another one

    Well, after reading other comments postings I also wanted to add to the conversation. To the one that got hidden. I imagine yours was hidden because you might be the one that is doing the bullying and you can not face what was read. Or you have never been bullyed or have seen it done.

    I knew a teacher that was called into the principal’s office and was told, “You better find a different school to work in, because next year I am not goiing to renew your contract.” Talk about stress. She did find another job in another district, but that principal played favorites, and if you were not on her favorite list one didn’t get anywhere.

    I keep asking myself if these “educators” treat fellow coworks in such an ugly way…. do they treat their students in this same matter?

    In a small school district talking to the school board does not help…most are related or are drinking buddies to the people that are doing the bullying.

  • Catherine

    I was bullied terribly by my fellow teachers and administrators. It got so bad that I couldn’t sleep at night. Then I began to have anxiety attacks. I would go to school everyday terrified and sick to my stomach. Things continued to progress, I wouldn’t get the extra help I was promised. The principals seemed to take joy in my misery. My blood pressure shot up to 180/140, my thyroid stopped working. I was in a constant state of panic. I suddenly went from being a happy go lucky teacher to isolating myself. I was on edge constantly, and would cry all the time. I finally had to take FMLA, because I even thought about ending my life. It was awful and hurtful. The saddest part is that we are teaching our children everyday to be better people and to not bully and yet teachers and administrators, not all, but some are terrible mean bullies. It is not fair to the children, because it takes away a teacher’s abilities to focus on what is important, the kids. After reading this article, I don’t feel so alone. I have quit the teaching field now, because 6 years of being tormented was enough for me to say, I love the kids, but I also have to love myself and my health is failing. More people need to take a stand and I am seeing this more now.

  • Catherine

    Oh, I read a few comments. When I have spoken with NEA they basically asked me why I was calling to just vent. They said that nothing could be done. I even had a teacher going around calling me a lesbian. When I told my principals, they said that I must be harboring anger issues toward this woman, because she would never have said that to be mean. Then they told me that I was to never talk about this ever again. I called NEA about this as well and they said that there was nothing they could do. My only saving grace was that I actually went into therapy in November of last year because of all the emotional stress. My doctors saw the dramatic effect that the school was having on my health and that helped me take the FMLA and not return to work, resign and still keep my license. I had to get very strong and tough with my HR, because they would have loved to have thrown me out. Even during my FMLA, they took down everything in my room, sent out letters saying I was not returning. I do believe that NEA may need to even step up and look into this more closely, because there does need to be changes and people who bully should be held accountable. Bullying is wrong no matter how old you are.

  • Admin in VA

    Bullying is pervasive in some LEA’s and it starts at the top. In Caroline County, VA, Superintendent Killough leads the way as the most feared schoolyard bully in the district. He regularly and openly threatens administrators with termination at monthly meetings, talks down to his administrators, micro-manages schools, and even gets into conflicts with students when doing site visits. I have personally seen him get in students faces and ask, “Do you know who I am?” and then tell students he could have them expelled because he is the superintendent.

    He demands that his school administrators follow his lead and wants teachers at each school to be bullied and fearful of termination, of improvement plans, and above all the “letter in your file.” He has no vision of professional development other than to say, “do better or else.”

    Administrators are forced to be heavy handed with teachers and to follow his example or risk termination themselves. When he hired me several years ago as an assistant principal, he told me directly, “I want the teachers to hate you by October.” At the end of the school year he chastised me for not being punitive enough with teachers, though my principal and I were very strong leaders and worked wonderfully together. Superintendent Killough pulled me aside to threateningly remind me that as the assistant principal, I don’t work for the principal, I work for him. He then told me not to tell anyone of our conversations. He is the classic bully and abuser, threatening others not to tell what he says and/or does or they’ll get in more trouble.

    I’ve since left Caroline County, VA and no longer fear his threats of termination and his abusive tactics and I’ve been happier ever since. For the staff and students I left behind in that district I feel for….but I’ve moved on and can breathe easy again.

    Bullying is real and it starts at the top of an LEA!

  • THANK YOU, a million. I saw this happening systematically year after year. There were usually 2 teachers every year that were targeted and then gone. It took me a while to see the pattern, a teacher with a tattoo, black leather jacket, or asks too many questions. After 8 years, it was my turn. 4 – 8 page long letters about everything from, how I parked my car, to toe nail polish color, shoes, blouses, what I said dissected to unrecognizable detail. My first 2 years at home, I stayed in bed, now I found volunteer work as CASA-GAL, and finishing up masters degree on line with 3.8 average, and hope to never teach again. Teachers are haters, and I don’t know why.

  • untenured teacher

    I am now a tenured teacher in Oakland, but I had a very difficult time attaining tenure because I was unprotected from bullying supervisors. My first experience was in Cupertino when I was released at the end of my second year, for unexplained reasons. The parents went to the superintendent and wrote letters in support of me but it made no difference because I wasn’t tenured. A few years later I heard they had to escort the principal out the school after she was dismissed. Then I went to Foster City and was hired by a retiring principal. Unfortunately, the brand-new principal who took over was an ignorant, power-control freak who didn’t want any other males on the staff. I was given bad reviews, he even came to my house to harass me after I had been dismissed! Parents supported me, even had t-shirts made with my face on it. I was even given an award by the rest of the staff for being an exceptional teacher and starting a basketball league at lunch. He resigned after being driven out by the parents and staff. Bullies are jealous and want the attention and applause that you have earned. But my point is this: How can new teachers stay in this profession when they are harassed and unprotected by unions? I am a lucky one, I didn’t quit looking even after my 4th district and finally found my true calling in Oakland. What about all the other teachers who don’t have that tough of skin? These type of people take advantage of unprotected employees and drive young, dedicated teachers away from our profession. Now that I am protected, I promise to protect my colleagues who are harrassed because they don’t have permanent status.

  • Mary

    OMG–Glad to see I wasn’t the only one being bullied/harrassed! I had worked 25 years in one district. We got a new ELA Coordinator who oversaw the reading dept. He had his doctorate but no clue as to how schools ran. I would ask questions to which he didn’t know the answer, and he felt threatened by this. So, he began harrassing me in a variety of ways–leaving my name off of memos/e-mails to teachers, intimidating me in front of colleagues (who didn’t come to my support, since they, themselves, couldn’t believe he could be so condescending). I, too, had to suffer over and over throughout the year. But I didn’t keep this to myself. I consulted with my principal who was very supportive. I kept a daily log. Just writing the entries and reading them back at night made me cry. How could someone be so mean? Anyhow, when HE was told that he better get his act together since the district knew me but not him, he decided to harass another teacher. She also shared her abuse with the administration and…guess what…HE is not employed by that district anymore!! YIPPEE!! I think he actually got off on harrassing people. I have never seen anything like this guy and his tactics. The kicker is…when he knew he should get his act together, he came to me and asked me if we could be friends!!! Can you believe it?? I loved saying–“Forget it! When you started harrassing me, I considered you to never be on my friend list.” And I walked away!! It felt so good to say this to his face!

  • druzak@aol

    Erie, PA school district is notorious for this! Beware! Nothing is done and turnover is great! I resigned after the same treatment by administrators who NEVER ARE ADDRESSED!

  • RDB

    Our district is singling out mostly teachers with 15 years or more
    experience. Pensions and salaries are causing HR departments to employ desperate tactics to oust older, over payed teachers.

    Unfortunately, the 2009 precedent by the Supreme Court has made it nearly
    impossible to win a case based on age discrimination. After speaking with
    a lawyer, my best hope is to be forced into resignation after 21 years and at the age of 56.

  • NoName

    Listen to RDB! This is happening in schools everywhere. Administrators and school boards know that if they get rid of you, they can hire two ‘newbies’ in your place. Or they can hire one newbie and use the rest of the money to pad the admin’s salaries. Or they can buy some piece of new technology that sits there without being used. Or they can hire ‘experts’ to come to our school and do a presentation to show us how to do our jobs. All of this is laughable, as you know. PS – In my school, the principals were put in place to bully teacher into quitting. Then the school board brought in a new super. to force all of the principals into retiring. He got the job done and moved on to greener pastures. I am watching now as our district tries to get by this year with all new admin. Back to technology – any of you out there who teach lower to mid level elementary know how important it is to have students manipulate items. It is important to learn how to pick up a pencil and write and to add and subtract, multiply and divide using a pencil, paper, and brain. In our school, the K-4 grade received smart boards to show students their lessons. The junior high, who is supposed to be preparing students for the reality of high school have no technolgy except for an overhead projector in their room. No computers. No smart boards. Two ELMO presenters that are supposed to be shared – but the teachers who have them in their rooms, don’t want to share them. One said to me: I use it every day, but you can use it if you want to. There is an unstated message there. In addition, this is one of the favored teachers – she does RTI and teaches only 2 other content area classes per day. She isn’t even in the room for 7 periods! I am going to request the technology for my room this year and hope for the best.

  • laTeacher

    Thank you for talking about the value of a nurturing teacher.This is something I never hear about.How valuable loving and accepting students is.It seems as though the more a community respects you and students want to work with you, the more you become a target.Last year some principle bullies interfered with my ability to help kids.And they were sorry later when vocal community parents came personally to school and went up the chain of command until they were
    respected as parents and their children got the services of a nurturing caring ,experienced teacher.I would not be in the classroom were it not for these advocate community members, most of whom had a high school diploma at most, and are that urban Latino and African American group of parents who many claim falsely do not care about their children’s education. I urge educators to build relationships of care and respect and mutual aid with families.The bullies have a boss.They work for our parents.And parents have the power to protect teachers and their own children if we all stand together.

  • Pamela

    Several years ago I worked in a very small school (K-8, 125 students). My youngest son attended school there during my employment because there was no other choice available for a 7th grader. In my class I had the son of the principal’s best friend, also a teacher at the school. When Douglas did not achieve the highest marks in reading, the parent threatened to fail my own son who was in her social studies and English classes. The principal backed her up and wanted me to change the grades on Douglas’s permanent file. I had to send my son to a private school, which put us in the poorhouse, to protect him from these vengeful people. I did not change the grades and my next 2 years at that school were VERY unpleasant. I transferred out after those 2 years thinking that I just couldn’t stand working for that principal. Wouldn’t you know it, she got a promotion at that same time and went to a larger school!

  • J. Dahlen

    Attn: Band Teacher I notice you had only one like, and I guess it was mine since I tried to like it today and couldn’t. I’m a music specialist. I get it. Hang in there. Are there no other music specialists in your district? I work in a very small rural district. The only other music spec. is the MS/HS band/choir teacher. The unfortunate result of a pecking order community is that there is a cultural attitude about elementary colleague among upper levels. My emails to him have gone unanswered. On rare occasions when I’ve encountered arts specs from the HS, I have noted a strong sense of deep frustration and anger. Unfortunately my the pecking order trumps the fellowship of the arts. Whatachagonna do? Bullying cycles sometimes keep those who need each other apart.

  • Mobbing is a group form of bullying. Usually a target is a high producing, well liked, intelligent, individual who in no way deserves the negative treatment by peers and superiors. It is a top-down phoenomina that is either overtly or covertly supported by administrators. The sole purpose of mobbing, is destruction of the target. Mobbing is legal unless it violates the civil rights identified in the above article. Much of the literature about mobbing comes out of the UK and Canada. As a target, I learned to keep my professional achievements out of the arena where the mobbers could destroy my work. They then started a campaign to get students to evaluate me and my class negatively. They tried to get students to say I had violated my contract. They met privately with the Dean to discuss my alleged short comings, and brain-stormed (yes, they actually used that term!) ways to get rid of me. They met in one another’s offices, and shut the door quickly when I came by. They had pre-arranged “votes” in faculty meetings. I was the only unpaid faculty member forced to attend curriculum revision meetings, where my input was ridiculed or ignored. Emails substantiated all of this. I was very distressed for a while, but eventually realized they had cut me out of a group I really didn’t want to associate with any more than absolutely required. It freed me to find friends and colleagues with other professionals who truely behaved professionally. My students are my focus and joy in my work.

    • skthompson

      I can understand the “mobbing”. I am a new special ed teacher of only 6 weeks in my school and I have already been confronted by a panel of teachers and my principal twice. They told me I was doing too much and to back off and then they tell me I am not doing enough. They also told me that I need to share personal information with them and go on “social outings” to fit in the culture. My response is that I am a private person and don’t feel comfortable with that. My mentor teacher and special services director have nothing but good to things to say about me. I had no idea education was this way. Maybe I made a mistake becoming a teacher.

      • petunia

        Finish the year and transfer. You are entitled to your private life. You don’t owe them anything but doing your job. Some schools are just sick emotionally.

      • lordblazer

        yea, was mobbed once. and will say, I wasn’t caring because the principal always took my side of things no matter what.. And I was too busy outside of work to care. pretty much the best way to survive workplace bullying is to ignore it and have a better personal life. I don’t share my personal life even when teachers inquiry. It’s weird. They are noisy motherfuckers.

      • lostfaith

        I sympathize with your plight. In my experience, it is the people who are wounded themselves who do the most harm to others.

  • Debbie

    I was bullied for over a year by a coworker in a developmentally delayed program and she played “bunco” with our director and many other “administrators”. When I finally turned in 32 pages of documentation showing she was also physically harming the children, they moved her to the 6th grade with other children. The stress finally caught up with me and I quit. Owasso, OK. Sick

  • Bonnie Koch

    Oh My Gosh! In our district it seems the target is with older more experienced teachers. Why? Well, think about it, money is tight and you can get two for one. I had only 1 1/2 yrs left to full retirement. I felt humiliated, degraded and now I am having a difficult time even finding a job…I’m too expensive! Yikes! Where will this end? Tucson, AZ.

  • Kerry

    What do you do if you are being bullied by the principal and you have yet to receive tenure? My issue was with an older man (mid 60s) and I’m a late 30s female. I believe he felt threatened because I spoke up when I thought something wasn’t fair. I asked three times for help with an extremely difficult class, in one department meeting in front of 4 other people. He would not answer me, nor did he visit the class to see what I was up against. He also targeted three other females in the school. When it was finally brought to the attention of the superintendent, a mediator was brought in, talked to the teachers as a group, and that’s when it became very obvious he had an issue with intelligent, logical, women. The sad thing was, without knowing it, the rest of the school basically said we were lying *by supporting the man) because they couldn’t believe this man would do the things we were saying. It really gave me a sour taste towards teaching. I tried to avoid him at all costs yet he would still find me. Right before our Christmas luncheon, he called me in the office – I was smart enough to bring a witness. I have no idea how long I was in there, I let him YELL and SWEAR at me for what felt like an hour, never saying a word, hoping it would all be over soon so I could get away from him. I was so furious with him and all I could do was let tears run down my face. My “witness” did nothing to support me or prevent him from continuing his rampage. Somewhere in his ranting, he said ironically “respect is earned, not given.” School started in August and by October I had lost any respect I gave him. He also went as far as saying to me, in front of my students entering my room for a class “Me principal, you teacher.” I was waiting for him to grab me by my hair and drag me off to his cave or something.

  • Bonnie Koch

    Arizona did away with tenure about 4 years ago….

  • Susan Gutierrez

    I have been reading so many reponses.. This is serious across our country.. It does not matter if your district is small or large.. It is allowed with no end. HOW DO WE stop it?

  • Terry Brennan

    I just retired from a high school after 35 years of teaching. Every school has anti-bullying programs for students, yet the comments I heard in my school was that it must be ok to bully teachers. Teachers, who dedicate their lives to the future generations of leaders, should not feel bullied by their own administration. Teachers already have politicians and the public to deal with, should they feel attacked in their own buildings?

  • Jonathan K.

    Three years ago I filed a grievance against a coordinator. A short time after I was given my “Non-Renew” notice. Later I was pulled from my class and given an ultimatum: “Remove your grievances & complaints and the Superintendent will put you on paid administrative leave for the remainder of the year and give you a letter of recommendation. If you do not accept this deal, you will be put on administrative leave and a full investigation done on you. The Superintendent has written complaints about you from other teachers…” This came after 9 months of bullying/mobbing. I was miserable, but I did my job under incredible duress. I did not accept the Superintendent’s Ultimatum. No written complaints were ever produced and I believe they never existed. By the end of the year I was so stressed that my heart condition was so bad my Doctor put me on medical leave. The union reps were so afraid of the Superintendent they did nothing to help. The regional rep was in the Super’s hip pocket & I was forced to fight for myself during the grievance process. I finally found a Lawyer who has taken the case on contingency. For the first three years after I was let go I was unable to get even an interview. This year I interviewed at three schools and impressed the heck out of all of them. I believe I am a very effective teacher. On one job I was all but told my starting salary, but that Super said she had to make two calls… After that I saw the job re-listed. When I called the Principal for an explanation she was less than truthful. A fellow teacher who was let go the same time as me has had similar problems. He was told by one of his former co-teachers that he would never teach again- These Superintendents have way too much power to abuse. If they have a lame school committee, one that was hand picked, they can literally get away with career murder! My teaching career has been put on hold, possibly ended, but I have vowed to sacrifice myself for the good of the future of all teachers. I am intent on proving the Superintendent’s abuse of power, defamation of character, and extortion. I believe an ultimatum is “white collar extortion” as it threatens an individuals ability to earn a living. My family & I have been hurt financially and emotionally through all this, but I will “fight the good fight” especially knowing I will probably never teach again…

  • Joanne Oden

    I am awaiting the Teachers Credentialing ruling as to whether or not I will keep my credential and had a complaint sent to the Board of Nursing after a settlement.
    This required me to terminate.

  • sharon jackson


    I have been working for the Board of Education in Elizabeth for 8yrs. 4 yrs. at School 26, as a kindergarten classroom assistant, the children are from 5 yrs. to 6 yrs. old.

    I have always been a model employee never written-up or warned, I received 1.000 last yr. for perfect attendance, my attendance was never a problem I always had very good evaluations, I had the respect of the parents (the parents were always praising me for my performance with their child and saying how they wished I was going to 1st grade with their child, the children loved me) and the children as well as my co-workers, (the teachers would tell me that they could not do it without me, and when they don’t see me they get nervous) this year for some reason one parent just did not like me, and had it in for me, and the child knew this,( at your earliest convenience will you be so kind as to look into this matter?)

    The mother would never speak or talk to me, and the child was always telling the mother something about me that was not true, there were 27 children in the class, and the other children didn’t bother with her, only 1 child would bother with her and she really didn’t want to but, it was clear to see the parents were pushing them together, I saw the child and the mother one Sunday afternoon in Shop rite neither one spoke to me and I not to them, the mother comes to school that Tuesday and tells the teacher and principal that I saw them and didn’t speak to them and that the child kept speaking to me and I would not speak back, (neither one spoke to me) and that she was very upset by it, and told the child to ask me on Monday why I would not speak to her and the child said I said cause you don’t speak to me when you are with your mother, that is not true I heard the child tell the teacher she saw me in Shop rite.

    I was warned by other teachers never allow myself to be alone, with the child or the parent so I began to document daily in my books, I always made it a point never to be alone with this child in fact the other teachers felt the same way and also made it a point of never saying anything unless someone else was around to hear what was said. They the teachers said never say anything to the child or parent unless someone is around to repeat what is said, the principal wanted me to sit down with the parent and I called my union rep (Ms Barbara Mc Murry) and she advised me not to sit down with such nonsense cause she should not have brought this into the school, something that was suppose to have happened on Sunday, and if she was that upset she should have said something on Sunday in the store, the principal tells me let the mother and the husband say some things to me and if they are satisfied maybe all this would go away, I then reminded Mr. Teitelbaum that before he became principal, he and I sat at the same lunch table and had lunch everyday, (he had only been principal for 4months when this problem occurred, he was a teacher) and that he and I ate lunch together, and that he knew I am nothing like what this parent is saying, (my question is why is it only this one parent and child making a false complaints against me when everyone else had no problems, I know for a fact the other children in the class were brought to Mr. Teitelbaum’s office and were questioned about me, and none of them had any bad things to say except this one child.

    On the day of the moving up ceremony for the kindergartens, Mr. Teitelbaum comes over with a guilty look and said how are you Ms Jackson, (I had gotten so stressed over this I had to go to the doctor and was told that I was having systems of a stroke about to happen) during the ceremony Ms Vella came in and took out her cell phone and took all the pictures she wanted but I was written-up over this, mean while, Mr. Teitelbaum was standing right next to her and said nothing to her.

    As my rep advised me I did not sit down with the parent, and as a result, I received 4 made-up, write-ups, with dates that are not true, I received the write-up days apart, I have no job because of the lies this parent told, any help or advise you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
    I received a contract (the contract goes from year-to year) on June 10th, I signed it and returned it to Human Resources. I applied for a transfer June 17, I never got a response, I received a letter 2wks before school opens (this school year starts in August) to report to work. I reported to work and was told by Mr. Teitelbaum that I was not on their list and to go to Human Resources and there Ms Barbara Murry told me my contract was not renewed, due to poor work ethics, but the letter they gave me says, due to work reduction, but as I was leaving the building at school 26 a Spanish woman was coming in to fill my position, she said to me the Board finally hired me, my question: if this position was terminated, why was someone hired with no experience to full this position? Everyone knows that Pre-K and kindergarten must have a teacher and assistant at all times (if my contract was resented because of work reduction why was someone, that was new to the board with no experience hired for that position?) I told them I received a contract, Ms Barbara Murry told me I didn’t I told them I can bring them my copy and then I was told by, Ms Barbara Murry, (I waited from 8:20 am to 9:50 am to receive this information) that I was given a letter and one was mailed to my house, I told them I didn’t get a letter like that, nor did I receive one to my home, she(Ms Barbara Murry) then said maybe I moved.

    I told her that I have been at my address since 1962 and my mailman has been on this route for 9 yrs plus. According to the contract if an employee leaves the company they are given 90 days medical coverage. My medical coverage stopped on Aug. 31st from Aug 8th till Aug 31st is not 90 days, and if the contract is not going to be renewed the employee receives 2wks. Notice I received nothing on either As of today I am still sitting at home with no job or answers and no medical coverage. Ms Keshishian I wrote you, I received your letter dated December 14 th 2011, you stated that Ms Zella Felzenberg would respond to me that never happened and when I called your office and spoke with your assistant, she stated that she was instucted to refer me to the union office in Cranford (Rose( Jack Spear) which I feel I am getting the run- around, could you please tell me why I have paid union dues for eight years and when I need the union I am getting nothing. In my opion this issue should have been relsolved by now, one way or another.


    Sharon E Jackson

  • Leo

    Ms. Sharon Jackson,
    I do have some very strong advice for you: NEVER put your full name, birthday, phone numbner, and address ANYWHERE public on the internet. Do you understand how dangerous that is? Do you know what people can do with that information?
    Please, protect yourself and never do that again. If there’s any way for you to remove that information from this post, or to ask the site admins to remove your post, I strongly suggest that you do so.

  • Joan Kaltreider

    Another emotionally abused Montgomery County MD teacher:

    Many of the comments implicate not only principals but teachers as well who are also bullies or abusers of their coworkers. This is hard to hear of those in our own profession, but it is a common occurence within abusive leadership. The book Breaking the Silence helps me to understand that these teachers are also victims, which doesn’t excuse their behavior, but helps to explain the pathetic motivation behind it.

    From all the comments it is obvious that what Joseph and Jo Blase report in their book, Breaking the Silence, Overcoming the Problem of Principal Mistreatment of Teachers is not only accurate but an insidious disease of the educational system in this country. The study in their book is a qualitative research protocal that is very theraputic for those who have either been a victim of abuse or a bully of other teachers. Coworkers who bully are examples of cruel manipulation by principals of insecure teachers that so fear being on the receiving end of principal abuse that they compromise their own dignity to spy and report on their coworkers. Once these teachers have been brought into the principal’s inner circle by following the principal’s lead they are then obligated to carry out his/her many requests for additional planning, training of other teachers, after school programs and paperwork. These teachers who bully their coworkers loose their own freedom to choose and become enslaved by the principal as well, knowing all too well the consequences of refusing any of his/her requests and failing out of grace.

    The authors a husband/wife team who are also professors of educational leadership and administration propose that this issue “has the potential to devstate an entire school, even an entire school system by relentlessly and unconscionably crushing its spirit and destroying educator’s morale, commitment, trust, caring, hope, and basic human rights.”

    As for how we got to this pathetic state, in my opinion, some where along the way we lost our voice through our unions. In Montgomery County MD, a system which prides itself on cutting edge excellence, over the last 15 years I have watched our union go from a strong voice for many thousands of teachers to one that prides its self in collaboration. This has certainly been a national trend for unions and in many political and business relations is an invaluable skill. As for the union in our county, it has translated to collaborating away their power, and becoming a spokesperson for the administration. I truly believe in the value of collaboration, but I don’t value their version of it. For an organization that we as teachers pay to represent and bargain for us the best possible working conditions and salary, I don’t need to pay roughly $1,000 a year to agree with the administration. I can do that for free!

    On top of that when myself and others in my school needed help from an inappropriate, unprofessional, abusive principal, we had to first prove to our union that we were competent, before receiving the only meager, useless advice they could offer. Which was essentially there is no use fighting, you are not going to win. We have tens of thousands of teachers in our union, the strenght of that many voices and dollars 15 years ago was impressive.

    Back then when I told a principal I was going to call the union, one of mine got so nervous she knocked over a plant, smashing it on the floor. Now when I say I’m going to call the union, the principal says, “Let me get my tea set.”

    Because our unions are powerless, we as teachers now need legislation to protect us from workplace abuse, which is rampant in all places of work, but especially in the teaching profession. Teachers need to promote and push for a workplace abuse law that will award damages for intentional infliction of emotional abuse and if teachers vigilantly document, it is surprisingly easy to show evidence of such abuse. Principals and administrations need to be put on alert that we have more than our unions to fall back on.

    Professor and attorney David Yamada has introduced legislation in several states to do just that. Most work place abuse does not fall under the federal sexual harrassment and discrimination law, that currently exists.
    Check out David Yamad’s website as to what states it has been introduced in and how to support it.

  • Sheila Harthi

    I am so thankful to read other’s stories of workplace bullying in the education field. I too am a victim of such a situation and am working on my thesis on this very topic. When I was being bullied I did not realize how common bullying of teachers really was. I did not have many resources to turn to. To be honest, my union had no clue what to do with the situation either. I felt very alone in this situation.

    There are so many out there who are bullied and the aggressor is protected by the school board. In many many cases the damage inflicted by the aggressor god further than just the work environment. The victim becomes damaged in the process effecting family and social life. I remember feeling so beaten down that I became reclusive after I had left the position. I was rendered helpless in this situation at work and at home.

    Now, I had to forgo therapy so I could return to the world of living. The effects were massive. I was a very strong individual in the school district until the new administrator came int her “power”. I was reduced to her ways in no time. I had a major struggle recovering from the damage she had done. Two years later, I feel confident enough to return to a working situation and finish my thesis.

    As Joan Koltreider had posted above, David Yamada and his studies on workplace bullying is making gain in many states to give rights back to the individual in the workplace. As anyone in any workplace has a right to a healthy workplace. Bullying is not healthy to many in the workplace. As we hear on the news, kids are killing themselves over bullying, so are the adults who are on the constant attack of a cruel administrator. The Workplace Bullying Institute has many resources that one can use to engage in conversation with this topic. Also, this site gives updates on the progress each state is making in initiation of workplace bullying laws.

  • Targets-

    Here’s what you must do. You will not want to hear this. You must get out. There is nothing you can do, once you are targeted, about the abuse. I took a medical leave. If you do the same, make certain your diagnosis is one that reflects the abuse you are experiencing. A diagnosis of “anxiety” or of “depression” is too general. Remember–and this too will not ring true–you are FINE. Now that really sounds like I am “off my rocker” doesn’t it? You ARE fine! It’s absolutely normal to be a suffering mess–an “I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me-and-nobody-is-helping” FINE.

    Next-whether you stay or you get out on a medical leave–especially if you are “protected” from bullying under your districts’ policies; submit your district’s generic bullying report. Turn your principal in before he begins his documentation against you. Submit it to his boss.

    Bullying reports–student and employee reports–should be handled in the same way. Targets should be protected. Targets should not be requested to meet with their bullies.

    I link to many great websites from my site including WBI and NAPTA. Check out http://www.apiecefullworld.com


  • Jonathan K.

    Bullying, Mobbing, even wrongful dismissal- I can take a punch! But when the Superintendent starts to defame you and you cannot get another job in education there’s a problem having a “good chin” can’t minimize. In my case I was offered a written positive recommendation in exchange for the removal of all grievances and complaints. When I refused the Superintendent’s ultimatum (as described in my prior post) I did not get a written recommendation. Now, does anyone using “common sense law” believe I would get a verbal one? Of course not! My “wrongful dismissal was only a small part of the crimes committed against me. Had I been able to get another job teaching it would have all just been a bad experience. Instead I have been black-balled by the Superintendent, as many others at the same same school have, and even after being selected as a finalist for a position, and being told I was a shoe in pending a couple of phone calls, I was not contacted and the job was re-listed… There’s the real crime- Defamation of character! Try deposing a Principal from a school who made a call to your last employer, the one who bullied you and has a law suite filed against them, and asking her/him what was said– You think cops have a “Code of Silence”? Fellow Superintendents and Principals have an unwritten code too! Their lack of backbone stems from the same fear they use to run a school system. They become afraid of other people who are just like them. Sorry, but I look at school administrators as rabid animals on the prowl. They are very dangerous creatures and if they stalk you, then bite you, you’re done in the field of education. They know this and even the Department of Education wants no part of a scandal like that. They turn the other way afraid they will somehow be accountable for the problems that occurred while on their watch. The hierarchy of education is not too unlike the mob. They’re a bunch of thugs (no kidding!) and my advice to anyone is to attempt to fly under the radar and when you can’t, be prepared–

  • worddoct

    Teachers, if your principal is ignoring this, go to your superintendent. If your superintendent ignores it, go to the school board. If the school board ignores it, call the police and file charges. Speaking up works. Yes, it is hard to sit in a magistrate’s office and explain what the student has done, but in the end, when the magistrate fines the youth and he/she is put on probation and must do community service hours, it is worth the speaking up to stop the bullying.

    A former teacher, certified principal and now school board member who was once bullied by a student and no one listened until I spoke up for myself.

  • sad

    To Worddoct: That has been done by going through ALL the right steps for help.. .. but when the one that is bulling is protected by the police also… then what?

  • Cindi

    I was bullied for two years by a principal. My first year she had coaches come into my classroom 4 days out of the 5 days a week and literally take over teaching. Not once did either of them work with me to develop a plan to “better” my teaching. I did contact my union rep. and asked about it. Long story short, I was told that she wasn’t doing any thing wrong but I could file a “Harassment” with HR upon her. I decided not to because I was afraid that would only make matters worse. I and only one other teacher in the school dealt with this all year long. So I kept my complaints to myself.

    My second I was put on a formal improvement plan. The principal came into my room several times to make “unofficial observations”, which she is allowed to do. The second year, almost ALL teachers were put onto an improvement plan. To my knowledge, I’m the only one that will continue on phase II of the improvement plan for next school year.

    This same principal retired as of last school year. Next school year begins with a new principal. I have great hopes of a better school year to come and to be removed from the improvement plan.

  • EM

    I know the bullying story. I have written about it, protested on the street, had my picture in the paper. One Pricipal who has been at the same school for years with the biggest teacher turnover rate, said at a faculty meeting that she was an avenging angel sent by God to clean up that school. I got out after she cancelled my Advabnced Educator plan on trumped up charges that she could not prove. I was told by another Principal that I was making too many enemies. He lied, tried to force me to sign IEPs that I was not present at, etc. I could go on and on. The saddest thing is that the Union says (and likes to advertise) that they help us, but our school reps (fellow teachers) and the Paid Union employee reps don’t even know what they are doing. Most recently, (and for years) I have had concerns about lesson plans being required for two weeks every other Monday morning for two weeks. The contract spells out that they are for “the ensuing week”, (to me this means ONE week) but MANY/MOST principals require two weeks any way. Well, I turned them in for one week, I was called in, my plan book was scrawled all over that obviously I do not read instructions or follow them. When I called the Union, I was told that the Principal was right. I did not believe this, but this was coming from MY Union REP. I questioned her, (went over her head), and was emailed later contacted by a different REP, and told that they ARE only to be for one week. But I am still going to do it for two weeks, AS I do not want to be ” Progressively DISCIPLINED”. I have been told by friends and family that I am wrong to go against the Principals, and Administrators, and I HAVE been bullied for years. YEARS… I have the paperwork to prove it. I have been lied to, transferred, ratted on, called “NEEDY”. My technique for this next year is going to be… to not trust anyone, as the pressure to perform just keeps getting more and more intense. As the kids do worse on tests, we get more blame. Our performance will be reflected in our pay, and our “observations”. I will have any Tom Dick and Harry coming in my ESE rooom to “observe” me, and then accusing me of not doing my job when I have 8 kids in a group, who have to be pulled from PE, art, music to go with me, be given “intensive” services while I struggle to read them the rules, have them do a dog and pony show, get thier bribes, get back to art, music or pe, and grab the next group from line in the halls. It is a FARCE. I just wish we could get Union reps who really knew how to interpret the contract, and who would back us up. Whenever I call the Union, I get told that I should be willing to file a grievance. I have done that before, and that is opening the door to further retaliation, whether you”WIN” the grievance or not. The solution? I don’t know. When I complain, or talk about it too much, I am told I am wrong for “worrying about it so much”.

  • EM

    I had to write again. This is in response to Kim Werner who says- (above) “make certain your diagnosis is one that reflects the abuse you are experiencing. A diagnosis of “anxiety” or of “depression” is too general”.
    My question – What diagnosis would that be? Is there a daignosis called: bullying victim – specified and verified? I do not understand how a “diagnosis” can reflect that we are experiencing. What kind of Doctor do you go to? What form do we fill out to get the medical leave? What specifically is the needed information? Is there a diagnostic code? I want this diagnosis, so I can go out on medical leave. Is it covered by our health insurance that is provided by the school district? Is the diagnosis curable, or does it recur once your medical leave expires? Seriously.

  • Jonathan K.

    And for all their wrong-doings, bullying, organized mobbing, check out the salaries of some of these Superintendents and Principals- They’re living large and it’s no wonder their heads swell and they become Prima Donnas! They believe they are untouchable- Well, based on the response here, we, the teachers, MUST organize and do something to reel them in. They’re are out of control and ruining education for the children who are the future of our country!

  • J. Dahlen

    What is mobbing? And isn’t it interesting that behaviors are so prevalent there are such definitions?! I’m eligible to retire at the end of next year but hope to keep working as long as I can in order to pay down debt and because, aside from issues such as we’re discussing, I love my job. I really appreciate the understanding and support I have found on this forum. As it’s linked from a WEA site, are the leaders of the union reading this and comprehending the need to cultivate solidarity within the unions?

  • J. Dahlen

    To the lady who posted all of her info. I second the advise re:caution, HOWEVER, I get it. Like the mouse on the T-shirt, flipping the bird to the looming bald eagle, you feel you have nothing to lose and it’s high damned time the world knew what was going on. My supportive best to you. Since this is an NEA sponsored discussion, I’d like to know what the NEA is going to do about this pervasive situation.

  • S Smith

    I, too, faced the shock of being targeted by administrative bullies after teaching for the same county 18 years in a tenured position. I took every lousy position to which I was transferred when educators were fired or quit at the last minute. I never complained, put in thousands of extra hours in the classroom, chaparoning events, sponsoring clubs, helping at sports events and concerts. Never got one minute of comp time, while others were getting time during the day to leave campus for Starbucks runs, etc. My horror tale culminated in me suing my county for wrongful dismissal after the assistant principal, priincipal, and assistant superintendent phonied up charges that the school board bought hook, line, and sinker, even though I personally knew three members of the board and had written college recommendation letters for the son of one board member. I was dismissed from my tenured job and given no opportunity to speak with the superintendent before the board action. Had to hire an attorney, was unemployed for six months of blacklisting and denial of unemployment benefits based on lies written by the assistant superintendant to the employment commission (had to hire another attorney for that, too). When I finally got my employment back, it wasn’t at the school where I’d taught for a decade and which I loved, but at a school much farther away where I was placed on a trumped up improvement plan and given no key to my room (filthy and full of stored furniture) until teachers returned from holiday break. I was given no textbooks, no curriculum guides, no files from the previous teacher, no money for supplies, no interest from the principal in helping me acclimate. I was tainted by the ruthless and unwarranted actions taken against me by my previous administrators in their scheme to help out a crony who lost her job at another school. My advice to everyone: keep accurate records of every dincident in which you perceive that something is not quite right about the way you’re being treated vs. your peers, don’t expect other teachers who know what’s being done to you will stand up for you (they’ll be fearful of retaliation), be sure to keep your dues paid up in your teachers’ union, and document and save every shred of praise from parents, students, coworkers, and the school system to refute the things the bullies will say about you to justify their hateful actions. Hire the toughest bulldog attorney you can find and be very organized with your documents. You’ll have to fight hard, but if you love teaching, as I have for 19 years, you’ll prevail, and the thugs will get what they have coming to them for abusing and misusing their power and positions of leadership.

  • Meg

    Oh my goodness…when I first saw this article about teacher’s being bullied …I thought…here is an article I need to read…I bet we are few and far between…I am shocked at the comments above. I have too experienced bullying from my principal and have had to seek counseling for the stress. I am an excellent teacher with a great reputation …yet she portrayed me as a failure and threatened to not renew my contract.. not once..but 3 times. I can take early retirement in 2 years…and I am going to actively pursue a discrimination/defamation suit against her. She seeks out 1 or 2 teacher’s a year and bullies them. I have taught over 25 years and never felt I needed to join NEA until this year.

  • montgomery county maryland abuse victim

    There are many schools in MONTGOMERY COUNTY MARYLAND with abusive principals. One teacher that I know of actually videotaped her bully principal in the act, and she is now working with a lawyer. This has continued for many years because teachers have had no way to connect with each other. Now, we do! Please contact Kim Werner in the earlier post so that teachers can connect. kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com
    VERY IMPORTANT: It could be useful if you identity the district and state where you are being abused. It is important for NEA and others to see where the abuse is happening.
    To the person asking about medical leave. Find a psychiatrist – your psych will complete the school forms for medical leave. As Kim stated, have your psychiatrist write a short accompanying letter specifically stating that you are unable to return to your job as long as you are bullied by your principal (or whoever). Prolonged bullying causes severe anxiety, depression and even PTSD. A teacher recently killed herself due to the pervasive bullying at her school. You can read about it on “David Yamada’s, Minding the Workplace” blog. When you are continuously bullied you become less able to work, concentrate, etc. When you become rattled, that’s when the bully really goes after you. SO, before you fall apart, go right to your doctor and explain the situation. Do not stay in the bullying environment! You must get out. Bullies do not retreat.
    NEW TEACHERS in Maryland, You should stay away from Montgomery County until the Board sorts this out. I know a brand new teacher that was extremely bullied by her principal and when she finally left the school due to the bullying she had a very difficult time finding a new job. On top of that, she is emotionally harmed by her first teaching experience. This difficult experience with the bully principal has really shaken her.

  • This is in answer to EM’s question. I was diagnosed with Acute Specific Stress Disorder. That diagnosis places the onus of my taking a medical leave on the environment in which I worked–not on me.

    Hope this helps!


  • sherry kerley

    I am a victim of bullying by a principal. My building had 19 greivances against her last year through Nea and nothing was done that we know of. She is mean and vindictive and stayed on my butt until I had 2 strokes and a heart attack during the school year. I have been in recovery for 8 months and will try to go back this fall. Please don’t tell us to notify our union reps. they do NOTHING!!!! In fact I am changing my union because of this. This woman almost killed me!!!! But I am coming back with vengence for everyone in my building. My principal is a disease who gets by with anything she likes!!!!And everyone knows this!

    • Lisa L

      Sherry- that number 19 is familiar. Do you, by any chance, work in Norwich, New York? We have that administrator now, and she is a nightmare. Please contact me if it is the same administrator.

  • Montgomery County, MD Public Schools

    Bullying of staff, parents and students happens across this county. Some of it comes from the top (school system attorneys) and some occurs at the local level by school administrators. In some areas it is condoned by central office staff.

    Go to the PC blog to read the real deal in MCPS.


  • Sarah

    When I first encountered bullying by school personnel, I talked about it with personnel because I surely thought this couldn’t be tolerated. I learned the hard way to keep quiet. As is evident from all of the comments, this is a real cancer in our schools that is hurting the educators and students. The unions haven’t helped. This needs to be exposed in order to be dealt with, as it should be. I suggest that all educators that have been affected by this to send a link to this article to their local newspapers to expose it. I appreciate the NEA writing this article, but more needs to be done. I urge the NEA to deal directly with this issue. For very good reasons, bullying of students is being dealt with on many levels. How can bullying be stopped when the people being entrusted to stop it are the biggest bullies? This is a first step. Don’t let it be the last.

  • Montgomery County Public Schools, MD

    Principal on child, Principal on staff, and Principal on student bullying. Principal continues to report to work:


    Shame on MCPS.

  • B.Thompson

    Not only is it administrative bullying, there is also a significant amount of bullying being done by parents and students because of texts and emails that only give a small portion of the story. Too many teachers in our building were called in due to parents who complained about the teachers’ harsh words or actions that were relayed electronically by the student during class. There was no conversation between the teacher and the student/parent, so it was never resolved except for in a punitive way.

    • Sheila Yee

      I can attest to this. Parents’ skewed stories, administrator meetings, plan of action, scrutiny and documentation were all part of the grand scheme enabling entitlement of the favored few. Teaching is not for the faint-hearted!

  • Loving my son

    Bullying goes on in way too many school districts. I was also bullied by a superintendent and another person over me because they wanted to hire a neighboring school district’s superintendent’s daughter who was fresh out of college. After I resigned from my position or I would have been forced out, the daughter did get my old position and the other person over me was promoted to be also over the neighboring school district. The school district who I was working for could not afford someone the a Master’s degree and experience. Then after that horrific experience then I went to work for an inner-city school district and had my student not only threaten my life but also the life of my unborn child. Furthermore, the students I worked with were very aggressive and the administration did very little to help because they wanted to make the parents happy. The parents need to make sure that the children are held accountable for their actions at a young age so that when they get older they do not end up in the jail system.

  • Loving my son

    Sorry typo, should state, ” someone that has a Master’s degree”

  • Tom Kinsolving

    This expose is long-overdue and the comments scream the truth. Just as some of the others stated, I was also targeted by an utterly ruthless–psychopathic, I’m almost certain–principal, who was brought in to “clean house”….that is, clean the elementary schoolhouse. I’m writing a book about it, in fact, since I was one of five male classroom teachers targeted by this beast–now there are NONE there at the school. She also has gone after and driven out anyone that does not subscribe to her “pedogogy,” which amounts to a kind of Frankenstein-style approach, e.g., “data-driven” insanity, totalitarian methodology, and a climate of absolute fear & intimidation to keep everyone in line….or shove them out the door. As the “Loving my son says” comment mentioned, much of this is to also meet budget, because the ones driven out by this psycho had tenure–like me–and many with masters degrees, which carries more cost. The superintendent doesn’t care if the experienced teachers go and are replaced by kids fresh out of college, cause they are cheaper and easier to manipulate.
    If anyone has any anecdotes they’d like to share, feel free to email me (if it’s okay with NEA; they have my permission to publish my email.)
    The situation at my school, however, is obviously not unique and is nationwide in this Teacher Witch Hunt Hysteria.
    It is appalling and must be stopped.

  • Tom Kinsolving

    If you’d like to get in contact, my email is: MRTPK@YAHOO.COM

  • Remain Anonymous

    I was a special education teacher in a district in Arizona. I was bullied by the principal and the director of special ed. my last year with the district. I ended up on an anti-depressant because of the toll it was taking on me. It’s been two years and I am just now thinking about getting back into teaching, but I am afraid that district will still hurt me (as far as references go). They went after a friend of mine the year after I left. My union rep did help me. It was the only thing that got me through that year!

  • Dawn

    Wow, this hits close to home. I just resigned from a small school with a huge bully problem with the superintendent and the principal. Parents and school personnel have been bullied, and the school is now on the brink of closure. Between June 2011 and June 2012 18 students were removed from the school, leaving a student count less than 30. There is only one teacher left that has more than two years there, everyone else has either been non-renewed, forced out, or left for a better environment. The daily bullying was intense, and unrelenting. We were walking on eggshells all the time. We also learned the hard way that reaching out and asking for help was not the way to go. We have now been labeled in our town as difficult teachers who cause problems. Not only has it affected my health, my family’s financial situation is at risk. I have just found out that the principal is giving me a bad reference when prospective employers call, even though all of my evaluations from this man are excellent. The bullying continues even though I have left the school.

  • Landofoz224

    I’ve been a union member 29 years and am so disgusted with the handling of teacher bullying by KNEA. Perhaps it’s poor local leadership, but turning a blind eye to teachers bullied by other teachers must stop. I attemped, as a union rep to improve things, only to be shut down. I will no longer be an active member, but will retain my membership to protect myself against district administration. Last year, we hired several new teachers. The only two worth their salt stayed only one year…due to being bullied by their grade level teachers.

  • About Kids

    I’m glad this is being discussed. My evaluation in my second contract year reflected none of my strengths, but petty grievances were included to justify pushing me out of my job. Although I applied all over the state, I worked as a sub for a year because my district withheld a letter of recommendation during that time. Everyone has areas to work on, and I’m happy to make improvements.

    The constant threat distracted me from my teaching. “Document, Document, Document” means I shift my attention from my students and onto my coworkers. This is not what I went to college to do. I look to them to our government to make education a priority. Instead, they construct obstacles like this. They make far more than I do, but they either use no common sense or don’t bother to hide a desire to take money out of the education system. I feel ashamed for them.

  • After 30 years of teaching, I retired. I still do alot of tutoring. I was a very well respected teacher, by many students and parents. I was often called “a gem”, due to my hard work, caring, and dedication to my students. I would have continued to teach because it has always been my passion! Bullying, by administrators, teachers, students, and parents, forced me to make the only decision that I could,and that was to retire as soon as possible.

  • SJ Bradbury

    Very timely article. After 25 years of teaching I left my classroom in tears as 3 female students bullied me. I had spent months talking to my principal and assistant principal about the power of the 3 girls together and had asked them to be separated. If I sent them to the office, nothing happened. If I called home, I was told I was rude to parents. If I could retire I would, I feel extremely stressed and have difficulty sleeping. I am dreading the beginning of the school year. Teacher also get PTSD!

  • Dear Fellow Targets,

    I wrote the following in support of someone who was targeted and asked for my help. I’d thought I was done with it all because after my report, I was placed at a different school. I was just beginning to take deep breaths again–I like my current school and my current assistant principal, who happens to be the individual to whom I directly report, very much–when I received a phone call from another target from the school I had left. At that point I could have said, “none of my business, I’m good now…..” I chose not to do that. I chose–and choose now–to stand with that person. I choose also now to stand with all of you. We are organizing. I feel it.

    Your bully bosses climb into their king size beds; beds with nice firm mattresses stuffed with documents against you. They pull blankets of lies right up to their chins. There are lots of “lie blankets” from which to choose. If by chance they are tired of the blankets in their bedrooms’ closets; if they are bored with the standard lie blanket, they can make a trip to the district’s warehouse and choose a different one there.

    They are tucked in each night by school district leadership.

    “Don’t you fret about that latest report,”district leadership will whisper in our bullies’ ears as they stroke our bullies’ foreheads. “Never you mind. Just you go to sleep now. We’ll take care of those bad, bad girls and boys who have made our darlings mad.

    Never you mind now. Just go on to sleep.”

    You, dear target, are watching from your dark corner of truth telling. You have no mattress of documentation. You have no soft blanket. You have only your thin sheath of truth telling. You may reach out as the leaders leave, for they are your leaders too. You may cry out: “HELP ME!”

    Most of your school district leaders will ignore your cries. Some will be annoyed. One may kick you as he passes by.

    Another may ask if you too wish to be covered with a soft warm “lie blanket.” There are many. She too may kick you if you refuse.

    Refuse anyway.

    Still. There is one district leader who may turn. One who may look back. One whose heart may hurt. He knows you are a truth teller.

    He may then look at the lying person in the lying bed covered with the blanket of lies. He may say to himself, “Enough.”

    He will hesitate. He will turn to the others. He will look back at the bed.

    He will need your help, dear truth teller.

    Stand up! Stand up now! Walk to the district leader. Take him by the hand; to the bed.

    Each of you, grab corners of the blanket! Rip it from the sleeping abuser! Expose him.

    See. You are not alone. See. Others are joining you. See. They stand up from their own dark corners of truth. They are now pulling wads of “lie documents” from the bullies’ mattresses. Some of the documents are 20 years old.

    See. Sadly. The other district leaders skulking away. They are off to the district’s warehouse of lies. Will they destroy the blankets? Will they launder them? Will they themselves, just maybe, begin to manufacture new blankets: blankets of truth?

    Ah. Dear truth telling target: Your bully is waking up.


  • bullied

    I was the victim of intimidation and bullying by an administrator and her allies a few years ago. Much of the staff was outraged and the reps I contacted did nothing to help. I left after only one year. I spoke with the super at the time who refused to allow an administrative survey or review because it would’ve hurt her feelings…

    Many other teachers have left because of her and I recently heard that she’s finally gone, but has been moved up in the organization. It’s a wonderful district but has a tumor which I hope will be removed before it spreads too far.

  • Bob Knecht, Jr.

    I was a victim of intimidation and not treated fairly at Eastland Career Center in Groveport, Ohio. I was discriminated against and the bottom line was the superintendent said there was no future in teaching agriculture in Groveport area. The board and superintendent also said there is no future in agriculture! Can you believe that! I made too much money as well as a few other teachers and I was laid off. I was written up because I employed a few of my students to do some horticultural work after school. She (The Superintendent) directed me to forfeit any profits from this job! I was giving the students a real world work experience. The moral and overall mood of the school has declined greatly since she has took over. It is a shame!

  • DEW

    WOW…I sincerely have to commend everyone who’s shared their compelling stories about being bullied by administrators; for we’re are all definitely kindred spirits trying to keep it real. Though even before I thought of writing about my experience (in brief detail), I figured that this was just happening to me. But obviously I was wrong. And just so everyone knows, I shared my story earlier-as someone who was constantly bullied and harassed by inept and insecure principals who were all about the power. I’m from Seattle and just like everyone else had reported, our union-the Seattle Education Association (or SEA), is a piece of work. They just sit and collect monthly dues-as if they’re all about the “bling-bling”. But like everyone else, I-and several respected Educators up this way, refuse to just sit back and let these unnecessary attacks continue. And as I stated earlier, we’re all well aware that we have to continue keeping it real by fighting the good fight and not backing down.

    Well done, my Respected Colleagues!


  • MCPS, MD, Employee, Relative

    I can attest first hand the horrors both teachers and employees at MCPS, Maryland, go through. It’s really devastating to see your loved one get back from work and cry and cry for hours trying to get out all the humiliation, and aggression she had to go through all day long. Whatever she does, even if she follows orders, nothing seems to please her bus. Principals and Assistant Principals have not mercy at all for teachers or staff. Pretty much everybody is at risk. Teachers and staff who love their jobs and care for our children deserve better.

    Shame on MCPS, Maryland!

  • Tammy tarpinian

    Great piece. Bullying is very prevalent especially prior to professional status. People would think that south hadley public schools learned from their past mistakes but to no avail. Students learn by example and admin and staff should set the stage for proper social conduct. When teachers and specialists do their job and do it well the admin target them because they want to maintain the status quo be a yes man and the admin loves you

  • EM

    Dear Kim, and everyone else,
    Sorry for being the pessimist in the group! Thanks for the info on getting the medical leave forms from the Psychiatrist. My problem is that I do not even trust the Shrinks. So if you get the right label from the shrink, does that prove your case? I doubt if that works everywhere, and I doubt if it would work for me. After all, the doctors are on a contract with the Insurance company that is contracted by the District. If they start diagnosing the PTSD, or anxiety based on bullying, they will start being scrutinized. Money talks. Speaking of money, where do you get the money to pay for the lawyers to go up against the district?
    I SO hope that this is being read by other than we teachers. Now that I am on vacation, I feel somewhat relaxed. I promised myself that I would do all of the paperwork that is in piles on my desk. Instead, I am SO engrossed in this column. It feels good to know that other teachers are going through the same thing, but it is frightening to hear every one saying that the Union does nothing for them, unless you consider saving the job but being transferred to the worst schools as helping… That just sets you up for more failure, as those kids at the worst schools are failing. Failing grades must mean bad teachers, right?
    TIPS learned from years of pain… Keep your mouth shut when you are mad and upset. Those words will be used against you. It will just fuel the fire, and give your bully, bullies more ammo to document their “case”. Don’t vent to your “friends”. Unless you know for a fact that they will have your back when it comes right down to it. Which, sorry to say, they might not out of the fear that they will get in trouble too. I agree that it is necessary (A MUST).. to keep documentation in an organized file or set of files including a running record in a calendar type log, at home, but I think it is illegal to videotape or audiotape someone without their prior knowledge and permission. Especially an administrator. I wonder if we are allowed to video tape ourselves doing a lesson (while being observed or if you have a difficult student or ongoing case or if you just feel like trying to see if what “they” are saying about you is true), for educational purposes. If we tell the administrator that we are doing it to learn about the observation system? If the administrator does not mind?

  • WB

    My husband also has been bullied. 3 years ago he was kicked out of his classroom. The reason was that his class’s state assessment scores were too low when in reality they were the highest in the school! The real reason — the principal’s favorite wanted my husband’s class! He was then made to teach science/math/reading resource until the funding rant out for that. This past Spring he was told that he’d be teaching kindergarten this fall! He has NEVER taught kindergarten and has NO idea what’s required, plus his training and experience are in the upper grades. So now he’s desperately trying to find another classroom somewhere in his district and only 2 weeks until school starts! It’s been a horrible, stressful summer I can tell you! Oh by the way, the principal that did this to him moved to another state this summer!

  • Worried for Education

    Sad to think that this is becoming a more common path in education. I agree that at times the local unions do not do much to help but it is hard when it takes staff members to unit and stand up to the abuse that is happening. Many don’t want to do that for fear of further harassment by administration. Due to a strong administrator, my building didn’t have a Rep because of how difficult it was to try and problem solve with him. That too is wrong! I too have had this experience and have watched other teachers after me go through the wrath of a principal high on power who feels he can treat people like scum because he is the principal. It is almost like a right of passage to remain in the building if you can make it through his wrath. It is interesting to reflect back on the experience, especially because he had no trouble driving teachers into the ground but wouldn’t do it to out of control parents. So in all aspects, teachers were on their own to sink or swim. Fortunately he retired and the building will begin the fall under new leadership. Educators work countless hours for the love of teaching knowing it is a thankless,under paid job, but it is wrong to be treated like second class citizens by those in leadership. I believe local unions, state unions, and NEA need to come up with better ways to support educators who are experiencing this turmoil, otherwise it will on continue and get worse!

  • Most of the victims that I have seen are wonderful teachers but lack a back bone. I hear all the excuses. But when asked, “Did you electronically record your meetings?”, “Did you speak at board meeting?”, “Did you file a complaint with the appropriate levels(internal and external)?”, “Did you call in your site representative?”, “Have you organized the teachers at your site dealing with the same issues i.e. a support group? ect. The level of excuses and passing the buck to somebody else is unbelievable. The greatest excuse used is, “Thats why I pay dues.” Personally union support staff has never had any effect in helping out a local with bullying from incompetent administrators. So to conclude, being a victim is your choice.

  • Maddie

    I am truly disgusted as I read the injustice these teachers have gone through.

    I believe it is time for NEA to be held accountable too.

    NEA, step up and help us teachers being bullied. You collect our dues, now do your job!

  • Susan Nunes

    You pay dues for your union. It is your union’s JOB to tell you of legal alternatives if you are bullied out of your job or even terminated. Unless somebody TELLS you the information, there is NO way to know if you have recourse.

    By the way, David Sanchez, NONE of those suggestions will work. I learned that the hard way. It has nothing to do with passing the buck. The fact is public school districts are organized in such a way that it is impossible to fire principals when they screw up. They are held to NO standards of accountability. You have little recourse as a teacher. Your unions are more often than not in bed with the districts, your administrative hearings are rigged affairs with almost no chance of appeal, and your options in the court system are extremely limited.

    The dirty secret in public education is that you have more rights as a burger flipper at McDonald’s than you do as a teacher.

  • Susan Nunes

    For some reason my story was not posted here, but I can say that I went through the same thing many other posters did. I had a spotless working career of over thirty years in private sector work, public employment, private schools, and public schools. I had a perfect record as a teacher until my fifth year of teaching, when a man who had already been alleged to have committed misconduct as AP in another school was promoted as principal at mine. He was a total sociopath who thought it was okay to approach me to cheat for him regarding special education students. When I refused, he retaliated in a myriad of ways, ultimately writing me up on trumped-up charges. I was never formally disciplined despite the write-up/admonition, but the thing stayed in my file. I demanded to be moved to another school after that year, and I was put in an even WORSE situation, for the last principal was a incompetent who never implemented the admonition, among many violations. Then, when I got seriously ill, HR decided to put a hit on me, facts unknown, and pressured my principal to kick me to the curb. Then, when HR and everybody knew I wasn’t malingering over an FMLA-covered illness, they decided to rig my due process hearing when the principal stupidly decided to “recommend” my “dismissal.” It was all CYA, and let me tell you, districts will move heaven and earth to break the law so that administrators keep their jobs. In my case, these included bribery of witnesses, destruction of documents, perjury, suborning perjury, denying me the right to call witnesses, you name it. Everything that is disallowed in regular legal proceedings are allowed in administrative law.

    Teachers think that “tenure” protects them, but in fact “tenure” protects school districts from more civil suits. The only reason school districts complain about the tenure system is that it costs money for the hearings. Ways they get around that is to try and starve teachers out of paid administrative leave so that they will be forced to settle for peanuts and perhaps cheat themselves out of UI. Don’t ever take a resignation, by the way, because you still would have to disclose it to other school districts.

  • Bullied too

    I have read everyones stories and I too have a long story that is very much the same. I am still working and have not fallen like the other targets, yet. I would like to know if there are any solutions that work? I have tried everything I can think of, including all the ones you all have suggested except contacting the media. Why do these crazy people get hired to manage others when they are truly insane.

  • Vicky

    I am saddened though not surprised to read these posts. I went through my own bullying situation several years ago. It started with a new principal verbally assaulting me for something I didn’t do. She wouldn’t even let me speak, saying things like I shouldn’t think, but rather just do what she said. I was unaware of my rights at that first meeting with her, but was fortunate to have an outstanding union consultant help me out from that time forward. I was the school counselor and was shocked a couple weeks later to learn from a group of students that she was using some of the same bullying tactics with them behind closed doors. I filed a grievance and won at the Level 2 hearing, something that never happened in our district at that time!

    Then, however, the bullying really started. I won’t go into all the details but it was ongoing and nasty. The principal even told a parent that I had been the one to make a report of child abuse against him, a clear violation of ethical standards! The parent threatened me. I tried to address the situation with the assistant superintendent to ensure this wouldn’t happen to other employees. I had been respected and well liked by administrators before this all started with my principal. The superintendent and this assistant had even recently observed me teaching a peace program I had designed and given me kudos. But, they seemed to side with the principal on all accounts and the assistant would not even do an investigation. I ended up writing a letter to our state’s licensing board with the help of the union. Fellow employees told me not to send it because then I “would really be in trouble.” I did anyway . . . and they were right . . . I ended up being fired two weeks later!

    The good news is that I got my job back with full pay and benefits . . . and this case changed the law in my state resulting in better contract status for people in my classification of employment.

    I fully support a healthy workplace bill. It is definitely needed for many reasons. First, as I said, I was blessed to have an outstanding union consultant and attorney on my side. There is no way I could have stood up to the school district alone and won. It sounds like many people who posted here don’t have the full and needed support of their union.

    Second, a bill would hopefully help people feel some security in stepping forward to report and support others. I really like what Kim Werner had to say about uniting and going to the school board. This is a great plan and I hope it works. In my case, it didn’t. I had parents and even some students get together on their own. They went to the school board on my behalf and were not allowed to speak. And my fellow staff began to almost shun me when they knew I was fighting back. They were afraid to be seen with me and were even afraid to make phone calls to the union office from their own homes! I have so many stories of other union members hurting me for fear of ending up in the same boat. The level of fear was shocking to me.

    I think a bill would also give credence to someone like me who simply steps forward because of wrong doing and then is bullied. One of the things that still bothers me at times is that I know there are several fellow staff members in my district who assume I did something wrong because I was fired. I even heard through the grapevine that a teacher who doesn’t know me said I must be a “bad” counselor because why else would a principal fire someone?! I am not one to go around talking behind other people’s backs so I rarely tell my story. But whenever I do, people ask me if the principal was fired. I know it’s not nice, but I do find some small satisfaction in hearing how much this principal is disliked and how many people ask for transfers out of her building.

    Third, I think a bill might make state licensing organizations take more action against administrators. In my state, it appears that if an administrator does something, nothing happens to them. In my case, the state investigator told my attorney and I that he knew the principal was lying and that she had broken ethical guidelines. Nothing ever came of it. If it had been a teacher, I am sure she would have been fired.

    Fourth, it is quite ironic that we place so much emphasis on preventing bullying between students in schools and then, some of the adult staff promoting this, turn around and bully their peers!!! I was actually bullied by two principals because I worked at two schools and, as soon as one went against me, the other did as well. At that second school, I and a group of students had come up with the idea of a “Tease Free Zone,” which had brought district and media attention. The principal was completely behind this idea and yet, there he was, being the classic bully towards me! We have guidelines and laws in our state now about students bullying students. It is time we did the same for the adults.

    One of the biggest reasons I pursued this was because of the students I work with. Bullying has always been one of the top issues I’ve addressed. I remember thinking, “How can I teach and suggest to one more child that he/she should stand up to a bully in some way if I cannot do the same?” I HAVE to walk my talk. Otherwise I might as well leave education. I was also very inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fight against so many bullies. His statement, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” was my own rallying cry and will continue to be. I think we need to keep this in mind, support each other and do everything we can to ensure that there is a healthy workplace bill in every state.

  • EM-

    I totally get the pessimism! It’s really, really hard to be optimistic when you are being abused. And that is what this is: abuse. I had a phone conversation with another one of the growing group of “us-es” communicating here. She and I talked of constantly, throughout our living hells of being targeted (me almost two years: her almost five years) asking ourselves this question: What is the RIGHT thing to do? Right things in these situations feel almost impossible to do. In spite of how difficult it is, I advise you to just do the right thing for yourself. Probably and legitimatly that’s to see a doctor and assure you get the help you need. That help includes rest….

    Listen everybody out there! Our communications here are about the “outside the bell curve” ugly, illegal and escalating nature of bullying. We are discussing here, really, the psychological obliteration of people. It’s really, really hard for those of us who are targeted to understand that that is the goal. It’s hard for us because we are ethical and honest. In fact it is that honesty and enthusisam for our work that “gets us in trouble.” It’s the speaking up-as teachers (male and female) did in Montgomery County Schools in Maryland and saying “Don’t call me doll, I don’t like it” that brings the “documentation ax” down. It’s saying stuff like “You know what? I don’t want to participate in that–sounds fishy to me,” that focuses our bullies’ sights on us….It’s the “I will not” when being screamed at to fradulently complete documents that has fradulent documents commenced against us.

    It’s also the not being heard by our bullies’ bosses…..

    Also this: please check out your states’ model bullying and harassment policies. I got lucky with my state’s (Florida) policy. It states (and this is me paraphrasing) that students and employees are protected from bullying. That was important for me and what allowed me to use my district’s reporting form. I have done a random google search of other states’ model policies. None of them include employees in their policies. That’s a real shame.

    I invite all of you to contact me at kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com any time with ideas as to moving forward with our “school board” wave….! 🙂


    P.S. I want to thank our group member ( and that is how I am viewing us–as a group) who sent to me the standardized form that we will all be able to fill out. I am hoping to get it up electronically on my website so that we can get organized.

  • Bill

    I was harassed and bullied my last year in teaching. I am reitred now and being in chronic pain, under the care of several doctors, with pain so intense it was thought by my doctors that I had nerve damage someone, perhaps someone with access to the school’s surveillance camera, sent videos of me moaning in pain. Suddenly students and staff members were mocking me, mimicking me and deriding me. This lasted for months until I retired. I guess too many of them, including my colleagues and perhaps administrators have no empathy, sympathy, humanity or professional ethics. This concern by the NEA (i.e. bullied teachers) should be a major point of emphasis on behalf of its members, RATHER THAN SO MUCH OF THE NEA’S PETTY, POLITICAL, LEFT WING POLITICS. By the way, if any one reads this and can provide info to me (i.e. evidence) of the videos being from the school’s surveillance camera I would greatly appreciate it!

  • Elizabeth Levy

    At age 57, my principal privately asked me how old I was and if I’d thought of retiring. I said I had not, but I was given classroom observations for three years in a row after that. For 15 years, my observation scores had been perfect, but all of a sudden, they became the lowest scores possible. I was put under Peer Assistance Review, with a young teacher assigned to help me become a better teacher and to address all of the comments which I didn’t meet her standards. And each time, I failed them on nit-picking and irrelevant poor scores. She then closed the parking lot, for no valid reason at all, which was adjacent to my classroom because she knew that I had arthritis in my hip and was experiencing some pain when walking long distances. I called my union rep, my union president, andvthe assistant superintendant, asking that the parking lot be opened again. It had been open for twenty years and since the district wanted to get rid of as many tenured teachers as possible, nobody would hear my plea. Finally, this year, instead of me suing the district for ADA violations, as well as age discrimination, they offered me early retirement. The harrassment was so intense and constant, that I finally agreed. They offered $30,000 early retirement incentive package if 40 teachers would retire. Unfortunately, ,only 28 took the offer and we received $20,000, before taxes. I would have loved to continue teaching for another few years in Special Education, but the bullying, hate, animosity, and vicious school climate was too much for my body and mind to bear. It was a horrific way to end a beautiful career. My experience and dedication can never be replaced by a new “innocent” teacher and the children are the ones who suffer. Nobody could stop the principal because they entire system was of the same mind. Spend less and expect more!! It just doesn’t make any sense. Tragic.

  • Been There, Too

    I, too, was a victim of bullying by two of my co-workers. I went straight to the principal. He was friends with the bully, so he decided it was time for ME to move. I stood up to my boss and co-workers and was lucky enough to be able to get out of the situation. The new building I went to was a TRUE example of professionalism and I felt like it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Sometimes, the grass really is greener on the other side. To those of you who are STILL being bullied, DON’T GIVE UP!!! Stand up for yourself!! You deserve to be treated with respect!

  • Fellow Targets,

    This is from a Montgomery County Maryland employee who is too afraid to post anything here. She wants to make sure that her article can not be traced back to her from anyone in Montgomery County. She asked me to post it. Here it is:

    > Adult bullies who are placed in positions of power will never be
    > reformed. They dance to ugly tunes sung by egos compelling them to
    > “teach”‘ so and so a lesson.
    > >
    > > To be fair, administrators, even of large districts like MCPS, are
    > not equipped to staff principalships, as they are unwilling to change
    > the way they have always worked. They do not have personnel policies
    > nor departments that are sufficient to the task. After all, what do
    > school districts know about the business of staffing, really? They are
    > first and foremost educators, usually of k-12 curriculum. Not business
    > human resources professionals, recruiters nor trainers. Just look what
    > it takes to become a principal. Not much more than an indivdual’s
    > desire to jump through a few more certification hoops – not even a
    > psych screening. 
    > >
    > > In order to successfully direct a building of teachers, who are
    > also ego centric enough at least to be able to didactically direct
    > students, a principal must be willing to stand alone and to serve.
    > Adult bullies are unable to do that. They are always acting for a small
    > cohort of admirers or for the camera, even if is just the one in their
    > imaginations. They do not act for another’s benefit unless they see how
    > it will help them as well.  The great principals, who are in the
    > system, are generally fabulous because of timeless principles learned
    > outside the public institutions which they serve. 
    > >
    > > School districts need to learn that, like Penn State, they will be
    > held accountable for the unconscionable actions of their principals.
    > Then, perhaps, they will invest a little more energy into correcting
    > the ruination of teaching staff who are on the front line of educating
    > and socializing the public.

    • lordblazer

      bullying in MOCO

  • Michelle Boleski

    I am a victim of workplace bullying. I worked at Hartford School District in Vermont in two elementary schools as an art educator. In one of the schools the administrator targeted anyone over fifty. I complained to my union rep and finally after 3 letters of discipline placed in my personal file, my rep agreed to file a grievance.

    By the time I left the district, last year, I had 7 grievances filed against this administrator and 2 against the new administrator in the other school. (She was a new principal and was being mentored by the bully). I was placed on a plan three ( I had been teaching for ten years but needed “improvement”) which I completed and they both refused to meet with me to review my documentation of “improvement”. One administrator never observed me teaching in the classroom and only knew me for two months before writing a letter of discipline against me. She told me I was not a good teacher. principal

    While waiting to get a meeting to get off of plan 3, I was accused of insubordination and placed on probation. At this point I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, depression, high blood pressure and PTSD. I resigned because I could not take the abuse anymore.

    The union did nothing for me. I have filed a complaint with the labor board against the union. The VTNEA has no training in helping their members with workplace bullying. I kept trying to tell my union rep what was happening and he said that bullying was legal in Vermont. He told me not to tell anyone what was happening to me and also told me the office was tired of me calling all the time.

    I have since decided not to teach and did not renew my license. I have complained to the licensing board of the state of Vermont but because other victims have not I do not think my charge was investigated. I hope the NEA takes this seriously and helps create change. It is too late for me and my students but I am finally speaking out about my experience with hope that it will help someone else who is being bullied.

  • montgomery county maryland abuse victim

    As Warren Buffett and Bill Gates recently shared,
    “In evaluating people, you look for three qualities:
    INTEGRITY, INTELLIGENCE and ENERGY. And if you don’t have the first,
    the other two will kill you”.

    I just finished working for a principal who had absolutely no integrity, but plenty of the latter two (intelligence/energy), and our school community (staff, students and parents)have suffered greatly. It’s not just the teachers who are bullied and suffer. The entire school community is hit with the unchecked bully’s cruel behavior and the fall out from the bully’s harmful actions.

    The selection and evaluation of principals in American Public Schools is a big mystery. There are evaluation procedures outlined for every employee in a public school setting. Why not for principals? There appears to be NO accountability for principals!! Arne Duncan and the Dept. of ED. should be concerned that the person in charge of staff and students has no accountability. If a quarter of staff in schools is being bullied, I would think that this is quite a crisis.
    The bottom line:
    INTEGRITY!!?? The principals in our county may do whatever they choose. It’s all about the test scores, and nothing else matters much.

    Over the last decade, with our quest for excellence and the perfect test scores, as set in place by politicians who have spent little, if any, time in a classroom, our focus on integrity, care and compassion has been tossed out the window. Principals are left, completely unchecked, to brutalize their staff, while admin. focuses on the magic bullet to produce perfect test scores for their district. I believe this is precisely why we have an enormous amount of child and adult bullying in our schools.

    I often wonder what it will take…………we have children killing themselves and each other – we have teachers suffering with PTSD and killing themselves, too.

    Politicians and Central Office ADMINISTRATORS place much effort toward showing student intelligence via test scores, and we have many efforts within the schools to energize our children to perform academically.
    But, what about integrity and the core values that we all need to lead healthy, happy and productive lives?
    Sadly, in MCPS it is not a virtue to have integrity if you are a teacher. In fact, if you do have integrity, you will most likely become a target of a bully principal. And, according to recent research by Jo and Jo Blase and a Zogby Poll administered at the request of the Workplace Bullying Institute, this bully phenomenon toward people of integrity is typical.

    We are fortunate, through this article/comments that we can connect with each other. Please see earlier postings for Kim Werner and please contact her so that we may form a united front.
    Hang in there everyone. We will make it through this.

  • When I ran a study in a county the results were astounding; nearly 100% of new teachers lost their jobs within three years. The comments they made were about bullying from mentors administrators and up to superintendents. Half of these were seasoned teachers who moved to this district to fill a need and as soon as a beginner teacher showed up who could check all the boxes, the teachers were harassed until they quit or were let go.
    One seasoned teacher had several hundred parent complaints against him; not one could be verified. The teacher was harassed and bullied until he quit; his cancer returned from the stress. Later it was found this parent had done similar complaint cycles in four other districts in preparation to suing the schoolboard for delayed action.
    In any case that the teacher feels enough pressure to quit, first bring it to the attention of the school board, and ask for relief. The press is always there and will report it in the newspaper. Second, set a timelimit. Perhaps by the next scool board meeting. Unless the issue is totally resolved in your favor, hire a lawyer and bring a legal complaint against the school board. In any event tell the board you will send monthly updates. Within a week plenty of other teachers will contact you and you will have a block to force your issue.


  • Anonymous for fear of bullying or being fired

    We have a new Principal at our school who has been relentless at bullying the newly hired and non-tenured teachers. After the regular staff meetings, everyone is dismissed except for non-tenured. He then tells us over and over that if we do one little thing that he doesn’t like, he will send us packing. We lost 5 of our new hires with several considering leaving if this continues. I have had several teachers come to me to vent. I don’t think I’ve ever in my 25 years of teaching ever heard such negative discussions about mistreatment. There is absolutely nothing any of us can do. He has threatened all the teachers that we are not to talk to anyone about him and if he finds out, he will fire us. We have no one to go to or talk to about this. I agree, the Union is useless in this matter. What I don’t understand is why there are no checks and balances for Administrators. Teachers can’t so much as breathe without being fired, but these lousy Principals can never be fired because there is no one holding them accountable for their actions. I have seen so many great and wonderful teachers be fired because of personality conflicts with Principals it’s just crazy. I don’t know how much longer I will be able to hold out in this profession. I discourage all my students from going into the teaching profession now. There IS bullying going on in the schools by administrators and it is out of control! There is TOO much power being held by school administrators, many of whom should not be in these positions. Being a leader means to lift up and support the teachers in your building, not tear them down just because you have the power. It is terrifying! I am dreading my new school year with our bully Principal.

  • EM

    Thanks to all for your honesty and caring. I hope it is true that we will make it through, and I feel at least now I have some support. We need to keep this going.

  • montgomery county maryland abuse victim

    To EM:
    We will make it through. I am very anxious for follow-up from NEA. I am hoping they will move to help their teachers, but I am not counting on it.
    Unfortunately, we have had no help from our union at the county level. They are very good friends with admin. They are busy pushing PAR, our evaluation system, all over the country. They should not push PAR on other districts until they iron out all of the issues with PAR in Montgomery County.
    If you have not already done so, contact Kim Werner: kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com Kim is helping to organize all of us so that we can connect with each other.
    We must keep this going!

  • LH

    I accidentally hit dislike on your comment. I meant to hit like. Again, I’m sorry.

  • Jonathan K.

    When I was first targeted by a group of teachers and administrators I decided to push on and continue to do my job. Every morning I psyched myself up for another day, vowing to be the best teacher I could be. When the “mob” realized I was tougher than they had imagined they started going after my students. Their plan was to write them up to show a pattern of disciplinary problems in my class… I confronted both of my fellow teachers, the bullies, and I realized they were actually afraid of me. Makes sense. Bullies are cowards. I kept reminding myself of that every morning as I drove to work. They (two teachers, two tech coordinators, a principal, and the Superintendent) tried to force me to resign- Wasn’t going to happen. They tried to get me fired several times for “insubordination”. They couldn’t. In the end I believe they were trying to stress me out so I’d have a heart attack. In my medical history is a heart condition. Towards the end of the year, after I received my non-re-newel , had all my personal curriculum taken from me by the tech coordinator to be copied, and was pulled from my classroom to hear the Superintendent’s ultimatum, I began getting dizzy and having chest pains. I went to my Dr. & had an EKG and a stress test and my Dr. shook his head side-to-side and said “Your EKG is horrible and for a one time competitive cyclist, your stress test is awful. They’re trying to kill you. If you had even a minor heart attack they’d wait ten minutes before they called the paramedics- I’m putting you on medical leave.” That was mid May 2009. I avoided any shrinks not wanting to give administration any ammo, but I was deeply depressed. I through myself into the grievance process and I argued that if my problem is with “them” I can’t get justice under “their” tent. I was told I had to exhaust the grievance process or once it got into the court system the Judge would throw it out. The in-school grievance process was a joke! My first scheduled hearing was with my Tech Coordinator, the one who I filed the grievance against! My Regional Rep moved to have me bumped up to avoid that step, which happened. It wasn’t long before I realized the Union Reps were teachers fearful of losing their jobs just like me and they were useless. Here’s a quote “You’re not the first teacher to be railroaded out of —–, and you won’t be the last!” This came from the Union President. I later realized the Regional Rep had strong ties to administration and he would continually set me up. He was like Tim Donaghy, the crooked NBA official. He’d play it straight for 3 1/2 quarters and then make sure I lost. When I realized what he was doing I confronted him and he made threats to me that were not unlike the stuff the administrators were doing. He was bad- Now I’m entering year 4. My law suit was covered locally and picked up by the AP, but the local paper that introduced the story has not done any follow-up. The documents are public information. It appears to me that local politicians are trying to keep it quiet… “Not on my watch!”

  • another one

    Will this be open throughout the school year, so we will have a place to vent. We must have a place to go where others understand what the victim is going through. Again I am thankful for this article. As others I thought I was the only one I too am not looking forward to the beginning of the school year.

  • another one

    Not sure what happened to my earlier post and will try again. Will this comment area be up throughout the school year? I feel that since there are so many that are being bullyed we will need a place to go and vent. Only those going through the same situation can understand.

  • another one

    Will this be open throughout the school year, so we can come and vent when things get rough? It will be very helpful to have others who understand what we are going through.

  • another one

    So sorry for the repeat.

  • Jonathan K.

    We can’t use this comment forum as just a place to vent- That’s exactly what guilty administrators across the country want. We need an “action plan” to combat and expose this problem along with all the guilty parties. Don’t be satisfied with venting! Lets organize, petition the right government agencies and change the way business is being done in public education! “Ask not what…”
    (you know the rest-)

  • I too, was bullied by Principals. I think It was based on two things, my religion which is Jewish in an all Mormon world called Mesa Arizona, my tenure and Master’s degree + 60 more credit hours to top me out on the pay scale. The district could hire two brand new teachers for what they paid me.

    I have taught for 24 years at the same school under three different Principals. The first two gave me very good evaluations. They were also both male, I don’t know if this has anything to do with that. I was fresh out of college and very attractive back then. Then comes this Horrible woman, and my life is turned upside down. In one fatal swoop, she ruined my career ladder money, and my tennis coaching position. I lost almost $10,000 that year. I broke out in this horrible rash, that has now left scars over the majority of my body. Finally, she suggested that I transfer to a High School where the kids are older and more mature. I eagerly agreed to do that, not knowing that this was a set up. The High School Principal after just one observation wanted me out of teaching due to my “ineffectiveness” as an educator. I was teaching 9th grade Physical Science which I never taught before. I was promised Biology, and at the last moment found out about the Physical science class. I failed physics three times, never took an Astronomy class in my life, and only had 1 year of general chemistry. The students who take this class are very low level. The kids that get the good grades went on to take Biology as Freshmen. I hired an attorney but couldn’t prove that these two Principals had it out for me. The best my attorney could do was to have me sub for the rest of the school year throughout the district. I ended up taking early retirement at the age of 50. I only had 2 1/2 years to go for full retirement. Now, I am looking for cashier jobs at all the local grocery stores. So much for that Master’s Degree and all the other classes I took to become a better educator.

  • Bullied by a Teacher

    Hello, I was saddened to read this article and surprised at all that is going on in an institution where bullying is on almost every teacher’s lesson plans. I was bullied last year by another teacher (and so were at least 4 other teachers) and it’s hard to believe that it really happened. The other teacher would yell in my face, criticize me in front of other staff members, questioned everything I did in my own classroom, looked over my schedule trying to find times when I was free to do other work and then told me I didn’t know what I was doing and had no right in the position I was in; which she shared with everyone. I spoke to several administrators about the situation and nothing was solved until I finally told the girl that I would not speak with her anymore unless an administrator was present for fear of getting into more arguments. Even when I tried to make things right and apologized for anything I may have done to offend or hurt her, she still kept right on doing it. We finally had a face to face meeting with the principal and even though things are not right between us, we both try to stay out of each other’s way. It’s hard to work with people who have so little respect for their colleagues. We are all different and have different strengths, it’s great learning from others and accepting the ways in which we all do things. I love where I work and almost all the people I work with. We have a great school and wonderful students. Although, I am still scared to put my name or school on this for fear of what may happen!

  • Same Situation

    Our entire school staff has been going through the same thing! Our administrator destroys morale. She went after me at the peak of my happiness as a teacher. I, and my students, had just been recognized by the state department of education for “innovative lesson plans.” Right after I received recognition, she came into my room demanding to see all my lesson plans and then criticizing them and many other things that I wasn’t doing right. I kept asking myself, “Why would a principal come after someone who just won two state awards for creative lessons?” The last para of this article is what rang true. She just wanted to steal the joy myself and my students were feeling. We were having such a great year – teachers working together to coordinate cross-curricular lessons, pride way up at our small school because of all the recognition (not just from me but other teachers, who got grants etc. for the students). I made the mistake of telling the administrator how and I others felt – that she did not trust us … She frequently comes in my room, looks through my desk, pulls students out to ask them questions, documents every single word I say (including drinking water), walks up in the middle of my teaching and asks for documentation, etc.
    Things came to a head when we asked to speak to the superintendent and he refused to meet with us without the principal. She even made him look bad by changing the date he was to come and then saying he didn’t show up. So, when we finally met,the super totally backed her!!
    We discussed sending a letter to him but people were afraid to sign their names. “We’ll just be targeted then,” they said. … So, someone found a generic union survey and asked a media specialist to put it on a website so that it could be anonymous. I guess the results were not so good because the administrator had a fit. She told the person who posted the survey (who doesn’t even want to be involved in rocking the boat but was just doing her job as the media person) that she could be fired! Most everyone was terrified. I asked, “Hasn’t anyone heard of the first amendment? She can’t fire her for posting a survey!” She bullied information on who gave the survey and when that teacher admitted he’d given it to her, she threatened him, as well – lesson plans, classroom cleanliness, everything was in play, she basically told the teacher she could nail him!
    Luckily, our union rep did step in and has made demands back as to areas we want addressed. She has told the principal she has no right or authority to threaten to fire a teacher for putting out a survey.
    All of us who have complained about the principal are suddenly the target. Whereas our lesson plans and classroom style was great one day, it is to be ripped to shreds now. I went from loving my job at this school to trying my hardest to get out. Everyday, I look for other jobs. I am highly-qualified and doubt they will be able to find someone else willing to teach that many grades and preps under a relentless boss who wants nothing more than paperwork! This article really spoke to me because my love of teaching has been diminished by this individual – and the majority of the staff feels the same way but we have no support from the superintendent.

    We finally got a new union rep who is helping us fight back, but it is not easy!

  • Thank you Johnathan K. We do need to organize and I believe we can do it around the Kemp Mill ES case from Montgomery County. Here’s the link to an article about the case. The lawsuit links from there.


    Because this case will be heard, it speaks for all of us. I believe if we are organized and send letters to the media in support of that case–and tell our own stories–we all will be heard. That’s where the “let’s-get-organized” piece comes in. I’m not sure yet as to which media organization we’ll send our support. It’s important. though, that we do it comprehensively.

    A member of our group has created a standard form for us to use. I will work at getting it up electronically on line and on my website at http://www.apiecefullworld.com. I may need some help with that. If someone is out there with that kind of technology savvy, please let me know.

    And so, everybody, please read the Kemp Mill ES case. We will get organized and take action from there.


    P.S. Sincere thanks to those of you who have already contacted me.

  • annemarie

    My principal is targeting older teachers. She is basically doing all the things this article described. Now she also has more power since RI won the race for the top money and has implemented the new educator evaluation system. Our principals and vice principals are in charge of evaluating us and this year my principal chose to evaluate all her victims(even after a request was made for the VP to do the evals). She refused to look at all the evidence presented by her victims and gave them a failing score. I worked with one of these teachers to help her set up her evidence in an organized way. I organized my binder the same way with pretty much the same data. My VP gave me an effective rating (3 out of 4) while my co worker received a 1 out of 4 from the principal. The situation in unacceptable but what can we do? It’s scary.

  • I am curious to know what “your comment is awaiting moderation” means. Anyone know?

  • Jonathan K.

    Hey Kim!

    It means you rocked the boat!

  • montgomery county maryland abuse victim

    What did you put in your comment?
    Targets, please contact kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com if you wish to connect with others in a confidential manner regarding this issue.
    We all need to support each other.

  • Jonathan K.

    After you’ve experienced “Wrongful Dismissal”, “Defamation of Character”, and none of your calls or emails get returned you’ll understand the full impact of this horrible phenomena-

    My initial reaction was that I let down my family and failed as a teacher. Fortunately, I had some great friends and a mentor that fixed me up & now I’m ready to take them on!

  • MK

    Annemarie at 5:33–thank you for giving a strong example of the role age discrimination is playing in this mess. What did your union rep have to say about your portfolio getting a higher score than the older teacher’s, in spite of them being the same?? I’m guessing the union was no help. They are standing right with school boards that are cutting the budgets on the backs of the older, experienced, and expensive teachers. I know this is true–I fit the above description and couldn’t get a good evaluation if I had paid for it. I was degraded, insulted, and made to feel like I had absolutely no skills as a teacher any longer. I was nonrenewed and cannot get interviews. I am now jobless 5 years before I can retire. I’m scared to death. NEA, where are you in this??? Why aren’t we hearing from you??? We pay you enough–step up to the plate and give us something in return. These stories of abuse are appalling and should not be happening in a country that claims to respect us and need us.

  • CJ

    This also happened to me. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and had no sense of worth whatsoever, even though my kids had scored a 99% pass rate on the state testing. A young principal terrorized our building targeting older teachers or those who questioned her actions. She falsified information and made false accusations on evaluations,and even tore up letters of protest sent to be placed in my permanent file. I was forced to take on exstra jobs and work long hours without extra pay and was constantly threatened with loss of my position. Our union representation was friendly with her and did not want to be on her bad side, so I did not get support there. I tried to transfer to another school and she blocked it and blackened my name with other principals. She directed me to disregard IEP mandates and do what she told me to and then wrote me up as not following mods when I protested. She made life aboslute hell. She is a protege of the superintendent and was promoted to head the high school. Now they are miserable. She has told people she plans to be the superintendent one day soon. God help us all if she succeeds. I was surprised that even her cronies did not miss her when she left, but it was like a cloud lifted from our building. NEA, teachers need help. We are totally at the mercy of these people. You can say “keep records, yada, yada, but if a principal goes after you there is no end to the damage they can do.

  • Washington Educator

    “Another one”. I accidently touched the dislike button, I am sooooo sorry, o
    I agree with you 100%,

  • Fellow Targets,

    I am perplexed as to why one of my comments is being held for moderation. Is there any one else who has tried to comment here and had your comment held while it awaits moderation? I see a few comments that are not displayed, because apparently those comments have gotten too many “thumbs down”, but we can still view them if we want.

    I have copied my “awaiting moderation” comment on my website as this week’s blog post. Here’s the link:


    I am finding this “awaiting moderation” troubling…..


  • Jonathan K.

    What is NEA doing? Not that I don’t appreciate a forum that allows us to vent, but it’s obvious we need legal help with this matter. These “runaway trains” called Superintendents and Principals are destroying education and the lives of the individuals most invested in it- the TEACHERS!

    We need to organize, hire legal representation, and march to WASHINGTON if need be!

    We have to put an end to the bullying of teachers by administrators who are abusing the power of their public positions.

    I was in a discussion with a Superintendent in her office after returning from a medical leave (broken rib/severely sprained ankle)and she began throwing F-Bombs at me- All I could do was chuckle until she stopped. I said “B—— you wouldn’t be doing this if there were other people in the room-” She kicked open the door, called in her secretary, a kind woman who I had a good relationship with and said “P——, Mr. —— thinks I wouldn’t talking like this if someone else was in the room. Take notes-” I could see P—— was embarrassed and uncomfortable taking part in the Superintendent’s tirade. When she exhausted herself and there was a pause I intervened “B——, did you look in my personnel file to see if there was a Dr.’s note?” She did not. I told her that upon my return the first thing I did was drop off the hospital records and Dr.’s note. She suddenly realized she looked horrible in her dealings with my injury. I rolled up my pants to show her the still swollen ankle that had turned an awful shade of purple and yellow… She then went into damage control and tried to make nice- I looked at the round table, the one I was seated at while she circled and cussed at me and commented on the bowl that was in the middle “B——, when I walked in and saw that the glass bowl in the middle of the table was filled with rocks and not candy, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy!” She laughed and told me the bowl had been a gift to which I responded “I’m sure it was-” Years later when I filed my defamation suit against the another Superintendent, one of her friends, B—— chimed in and reported untruths to the media. I wanted after her in a bad way, but my Lawyer backed down and tried to convince me that that wasn’t our battle… (It most certainly was!) I’m still paying for her comments that appeared in print. She retired this year–

  • another one

    As I sit here daily reading our venting which are really concerns several things have come to mind.

    1. The younger administration that are targeting the older teachers, are actually afraid that the veterans know more than they do, and possible feels the veterans will pick up on their insecurities where the younger teachers won’t. They basically do not know how to relate to older teachers and want the younger teachers who “get them”.

    2. Then administrators who bully the awesome teachers are insecure themselves and must be surrounded by weak teachers to make themselves look good. It’s a power trip to see who they can put on their “I’m going to get you list”

  • EM

    Ik, so we’re being targetted and bullied. We all know it. The war on teachers is backed by the Public. It could not be their own fault the kids are messed up. So I am going to be emailing the NEA and asking them to read this blog. Also, I am going to send a link to the President of our Union wher I live.

  • Cindi

    I was bullied by a principal for the past two years. The first year she felt that I wasn’t doing a good job of teaching and had resource teachers come into my classroom 4 out of 5 days for two hours in the morning and they taught my class. Not once did either of the two teachers work with me on lesson plans, pacing, or classroom management which I supposidly needed to improve. It was suppose to be a coaching cycle that never happened. I kept every hand written note, even the ones on post-its, email, lesson plans that the resource teachers did and even wrote in a calendar planner every time, day, etc. that the principal came into my room. I made an official complaint to my union, but was ultimately told that she was doing nothing wrong. The union even suggested that I file a harassement grievance with my HR, which I didn’t do for fear of making things worse. Myself and only one other teacher dealt with this.

    The second year, the attack was put on paper through an Improvement Plan. This year, basically every teacher was put onto an improvement plan. She made several “unofficial” observations which she is allowed to do. Again, I kept all documentation. I went to my union again only to be told to confront her. Like I’m going to confront her? I don’t think so. She retired at the end of this last school year, but I still have to continue onto Phase II of the Improvement Plan.

  • Elayne.

    I had a principal who thought I was a great teacher. I was a new hire at the bottom of the pay scale and he bullied me and everyone else for fun. He liked watching us squirm. I was told by everyone to just ignore him. One day, after he announced he was leaving, he screamed at me in the hallway for not CCing him on an email I sent out about the next year scheduling. Bullies are everywhere. There wasn’t much I could do because he was leaving and I had excellent reviews. It was still demoralizing and wrong.

  • Elin

    I know about unions. I’m a firm believer in them. I’m also a union representative for my school, but unfortunately, I think many of our unions are beginning to cave, thinking more of themselves, than of the rank and file teachers concerns.

    One example: We, the 21 teachers who had the greatest of seniority for the teaching of Summer School 2011, have not been vindicated…instead I see a union who caved when they allowed the district to tell them who the 4 people among the 21 they thought should have been hired, but “opps! they caught their mistake”. Instead, the union should have said “all for one, and one for all” we will not settle until all 21 have been shown that they too should have been hired.

    About the bullying of teachers, I know this full well. I know it for myself (23 years teaching), and I know it for others too. My grievance with my union is that in each of the last 3 years there have been excuses why a grievance at “this” time was inconvenient. I’ve been told…either “not now, it’s too late in the year”, to last year when I felt my integrity as a teacher had been severely trounced, our new CTA director said to me, “we’ve got greater problems than yours that need our work”, . .”Hey, you passed your review, that’s really all that matters”. Well, no, that’s not all that matters…when one’s integrity is at state, there is a whole lot more that matters for me.

    What I’d like to see is a real effort by our union to use the Conflict Mediation norms, as they have been used successfully with the students, student to student, when dealing with teacher bullying by the principals of the teachers.

    Thank you for publishing this article.

  • EM

    More info on bullying>>> see reference below…” it’s easy to imagine a few other good reasons for a stated intention to quit: First, a workplace where bullying is pervasive is almost certainly a poorly managed workplace, which is by any measure a good enough reason to quit (especially in a profession like nursing, where demand for skilled workers is high; and in a country like Canada, where unemployment is not as high as in the U.S.). Second, its quite likely that people who are watching colleagues get bullied are feeling at least a little guilty about not being able—or, perhaps, not even trying—to stop it. That’s another strong reason to think about looking for a new job. And third, at least some people must be thinking, What if I’m next? Better to get the heck out of Dodge than wait for the bully to turn on you.”

    Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/07/12/workplace-bullying-the-problem-and-its-costs-are-worse-than-we-thought/?iid=biz-main-lede#ixzz22KzZnIpQ

  • Jonathan K.

    In my experience many Superintendents assume the role of Dictators. They begin to believe the school system is theirs. It’s not! They are only temporary hires- I’ve worked at three schools and two of the Superintendents were Dictators. I took some business courses and what I got out of it was unethical behavior starts at the top (top-down). The example given was a triangle. Most unethical Superintendents surround themselves with unethical administrators, weak ones who will do as they say. The disease trickles down through the school system from the top. If you are working at a school that practices unethical behavior and you are an ethical person- they’ll get you out! (especially if they think you’re a whistle-blower) Piss them off and they’ll end your career. It’s a public hanging for the rest of the ranks to learn from. Not a good place to be–

  • Scarlett Wolfe

    Now do not get me wrong. i have not been a personal target from Virginia De los santos, but i have heard (which may be speculated, but trust me its all true) about her torment upon employees of the school she teaches at. She has minions who work for her, who spy on her employees, her co-workers. People who are supposed to trust her, and possibly learn from her beacause she is supposed to be a leader, feel constant demise from her actions. It is sickening to find out information such as this. I felt the need to write a letter to the superintendent about her actions. Her actions have resulted in teachers leaving their jobs, depression, and overall misery. No person should ever have to feel this way about their jobs and about themselves. A leader is someone who helps develop talents, who leads by example, who motivates and inspires others. This woman is not a leader. She is a tyrant. It seems that her only joy is to influence and create misery for those around her if they do not play by her rules. This is a woman i do not care to get to know the whole story from, because it was not only one person she has negatively affected, there are many. Multiple people would not write the same things about a person and it turn out to be a lie, especially if they were the targets. It is a travisty to her profession to act in this manor. I hope for her sake and the sake of the minions she controls that they all learn professional courtesy and respect for others.

    • Frank

      Hi, I would like to know if you are aware of any other complaints being
      filed against her and the outcomes, if known please. I’m a WOMS parent currently having problems with her and other staff

  • never will know

    There is even bullying against other administrators when they do not agree with their ways. It’s quite sad, but now and days professionalism has gone out the window. The only thing that keeps me going is that everything happens for a reason and eventually their tyranny will end. It’s is definitely hard to speak up when you have no voice.

  • J Regan

    Is anyone addressing teachers being bullied by students and parents?

  • Jonathan K.

    Teachers get bullied by teachers and parents because administration allows it. In my case, administration made it a point to see that it happened. When I gave one student a detention for yelling the F-bomb early one Monday morning, the tech coordinator removed it and told me “It’s Monday morning, everyone takes a little time to adjust to being back-” He essentially cut off my flow of testosterone (OUCH!) and there I was- powerless! Right where he wanted me. Hoping my lack of power would lead to more disciplinary problems and either I’d resign or get fired! When they want you out they’ll stop at nothing- they’ll even use the kids-

  • Jonathan K.

    Teachers get bullied by STUDENTS and parents because administration allows it. In my case, administration made it a point to see that it happened. When I gave one student a detention for yelling the F-bomb early one Monday morning, the tech coordinator removed it and told me “It’s Monday morning, everyone takes a little time to adjust to being back-” He essentially cut off my flow of testosterone (OUCH!) and there I was- powerless! Right where he wanted me. Hoping my lack of power would lead to more disciplinary problems and either I’d resign or get fired! When they want you out they’ll stop at nothing- they’ll even use the kids-

  • Scarlett Wolfe

    So i was browsing through some of the comments on here. There was this one particular comment i saw from a person who said this site was becoming a whine fest. I just wanted to say that if a teacher has to get on a website such as this one to vent about their everyday misery they should. It is bad enough that it takes multiple complaints on a person for anyone to do anything about it… i may be wrong, but most teachers on here have to keep themselves confidential due to the pettiness of their abusers. When there is an instance that somone is being mistreated and a way to ease the suffering is to vent.. then VENT! everyone has the right to. i really hope all the teachers get justice for their abuse. I feel that reading your stories and being able to add into the conversations open our eyes to this kind of stuff.

  • EM

    It makes me sick how many of us say we are not looking forward to the new school year for fear of the continuation of the bullying. I was bullied by another teacher too. I thought it was a set up, and I was right. Even after I got out of the school, it still continues. The Principals and administrators have their own agendas, and they let each other know who the “troublemakers” are. Let me also say that not ALL of them are bad, but the bad ones are so bad. I thnk they get away with it because we are all in fear, and because no one wants to hear our sad stories, be associated with us, or “be negative”. Survival of the fittest. I have been told many times, “just do your job right, smile, keep your mouth shut and go home at 3:00”. I have STILL not figured out how to do that, AND get all required work done. The problem is also that people who “refuse” to play the game, get picked on. It is difficult to prove that someone is a bully. Just like doctors won’t testify against each other in a malpractice case, good luck finding someone who WILL stick up for the victim.

  • Jonathan K.

    I agree with you EM! Education is one big conspiracy and when the “bad guys” are in charge- good luck trying to prove it! You’re right “No one wants to hear it! That is until now. Now is the time to come forward and tell your story. If enough of us speak, they will listen! Remember, we’re not complainers- don’t get caught up believing that, what we are is hard working Americans who have been treated unfairly. We’re ethical people. We’re compassionate people. We’re intelligent people. We have rights and those rights have been violated! Speak up & be counted!!!

  • EM-

    Did you contact NEA as you had indicated? Did you receive a response? Surely NEA leadership is already reading this. I think the importance of our communications here about workplace bullying by principals primarity, but also by others, is put in perspective when we see how many comments we have. We have close to 400 comments. The next most popular, which incidently is also indirectly about bullying (One Teacher’s Road to Vindication) has 25 comments.

    Surely NEA is already all over this one!


  • Sherrill Gilbert

    As a para-educator I have experienced this sometimes in the classroom, I have seen it in the corridors, in the lunch room or on the play ground. I am not alone, others have shared their stories. The problem is found in most schools and even colleges, it is found in workplaces, it is found in healthcare and in public services. The solutions are as varied as the problems and the circumstances surrounding the individuals involved. Denial fuels the problems, it is simplier to just ignore what is happening or to scape goat another individual for the problems. Until we are able to be heard, to have an open and honest discussion, to feel safe to take the fear of retaliation will this culture change. The one thing we need to do is work together to a resolution that will promote education where everyone feels they are in a safe and protected environment.

  • EM

    Dear Kim, I emailed them the link to this and asked them if they were reading these “blogs”. They did not reply. I do not know if I sent it to the right department. I just know I keep going to this and reading what everyone else is saying, and that it is a good feeling to know that I/WE are not the only ones
    . I went to your website, I thought I emailed you. Maybe you didn’t get it. I will try again, if you promise not to put my email address in this blog, because I too am afraid I will get in MORE trouble if anybody tries to figure out who I am. Doesn’t that SUCK?

  • MK

    I do think the NEA is reading our comments and following this. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’ve noticed that when a comment says something negative about the NEA and their inaction or lack of support, that comment gets a “dislike”. Hmmmmm…

  • EM-

    I absolutely promise to keep everything confidential. I have had others contact me with ideas….and with a simple need to be heard more privately. I appreciate their confidence in me.

    Thanks for being proactive for all of us.


  • BEK

    I, too, was not helped by the NEA, but rather the bullies were protected, because two of the bullies were NEA members.

  • Marcia A. McBeth

    I am been a victim of this type of bullying for two years. I went to different situations no classroom management, incompetent and unable to write lesson plans.I was given u- ratings which I filed against the negative documents. I took one professional development workshop on negotiations. My ability to handle stressful situations with the bullies change , I did not get annoyed as much. I document everything and keep notes on my students/parents. I am a good teacher and will always keep this type of attitude. I am there to help children with special supports. If you are not trained to work with this population how can judge others who have the experience.

  • help

    HELP.. what does it take to really help the victims?

  • Pam

    First of all, I want to sincerely thank you for this blog. I am a teacher who has been bullied for the past 7 years. My daughter is in HR, so she told me to document everything, and I did! I contacted the union rep. and he kept tabs on all of the harassment. The emails became a great paper trail. I have been teaching for 28 years in one school district. The first 25 were at a neighborhood school near my home. I was respected by my colleagues and would be called upon to mentor other new teachers. But we got a new “wet behind the ears” principal who was about 30 years old. He had taught for 3 years before becoming a principal. He wanted to be the “Happy Clown”in the front office to make parents happy. If a student “created a story” about me, the principal immediately took the side of the student and the parent.
    This principal was intimidated by me. Teachers came to me if they had questions about curriculum. I was a threat to his leadership. I kept smiling every day and giving the students in my classroom the best education I could possibly give them. I also graded “honestly” which the principal didn’t like because parents would complain about their child receiving a low grade. After all, it would hurt their self-esteem! The principal even called me on a Sunday afternoon telling me to change a grade on the report card for one of my students. The mom of this student was running for City Council and the principal didn’t want her to be upset with him. I changed the grade, but kept detailed notes on everything that happened. The principal had extremely poor management skills with adults. With a staff of over 35 teachers, most had taught in the building a minimum of 10 years, and 90% had Master’s Degrees plus the additional credits to be at the top of the salary scale. The school budgets were tight and he felt that he could harass me enough to get me to quit. I couldn’t quit because I am in my early 50’s and had planned to teach for at least another 6 years. I had tenure, so I thought they couldn’t ever fire me unless I had done something horrific. Since I hadn’t done anything wrong, I wondered what they thought they could accuse me of doing. They never could give me an answer when I asked.
    The harassment, name calling, pulling kids out of the room, interrupting classes, etc, etc. continued. The union said I hadn’t done anything to warrant this behavior from a principal, so they didn’t do anything other than monitor the situation.
    It got so bad that my health began to suffer. Depression, anxiety, weight gain, etc. all made it so difficult to go to work every day. I began seeing a therapist on a weekly basis and also a psychiatrist for medication. The harassment got worse, and more unbearable as the years went on. The union was told by administration, “We can do whatever we want to her!” The union rep. said what they were doing was illegal and warned them that I had documented everything to a “T”.
    What they were doing WAS illegal, so we took out our entire life’s savings and took out 2 loans (over $150,000.00) to pay this lawyer. In fact I had both lawyers on the legal team working on my case. I had submitted over 3000 pages of documentation to the lawyer. He said I had a case and we sued the school district on 7 violations; age discrimination, disability discrimination (I wear hearing aids), harassment, defamation of character, liable, retaliation after I reported the harassment the first time, and then retaliation after we hired an attorney on our own. We settled in mediation and got a $20,000.00 settlement. I thought the problem was over, but it wasn’t. I moved to a different school and the new principal continued the harassment. The same tactics were used to humiliate me at this school. Administrators must all go by the same book, because it sounds like I experienced the same as many of the others on this blog. NOW, after 7 years, the union finally realized there was a real problem, and they hired the NEA union lawyer to help me. She was able to work out an early retirement plan, (which is already available to teachers), but the district continued to battle and put me on the school board agenda to be dismissed at the end of the school year. All of this was so humiliating. I have been treated for anxiety, depression and PTSD. The school district ruined my career, because they believed what the “Clown in the Front Office” told them. I was a victim and still feel like one. I am dealing with a great deal of fear and do not go out of the house at all, unless to a doctor’s appointment. This whole situation has had a tremendous negative affect on our family and extended family. I am glad I have a very smart husband who helped me through the legal process and family and friends who prayed for me every day. I am glad this article came out in the NEA because it is about time they stand up to those dictators (principals, superintendents, school boards) and tell them how many lives they have ruined. Principals are suppose to be instructional leaders, not micro-managers. Many have limited teaching experience, and obviously don’t know how to manage a school effectively. Please, I pray with all my heart that this issue goes “VIRAL” so parents know what is going on and principals get a heads up for what is coming to them. I will stand with every one of you who has written in this blog and support the change that is needed in our schools. And, thanks to all of you who so openly shared your stories. One of the people I worked with while this was going on is Karen Horowitz who wrote the book, “White Collar Chalk Crime”. She has also put out another book recently about more cases just like the ones mentioned in this blog. Please contact her at her website, NAPTA “National Association for the Prevention of Teacher Abuse” and share your story with her. She collects this information and includes it in her books. Every NEA member should have a copy of this book. NEA needs to admit that the problem exists “at the top” and they shouldn’t be so worried about being bedfellows with the school board in order for negotiations/contracts to go smoothly. If this problem of principals harassing teachers doesn’t stop, what college student will ever want to go into the field of teaching? Thank you to everyone who shared on this blog. It makes me feel better knowing I am not the only one who has experienced this horror. Now, I hope more teachers will come out of the woodwork and share their stories. Let’s work together to make this illegal harassment STOP!!!!

  • Jonathan K.

    AMEN! (is that politically correct?)

  • I second that AMEN! I think there is a collective AMEN! happening here. I want us to get organized. I will spread the word in Florida. I am going to alert the Florida Association of School Administrators (!) to this site. Yes! I was selected by that organization in 2009 (oh, I know you all will love the irony here….!) to begin the Florida Bullying Prevention Initiative.

    Hey-I am going to the source….


  • Fellow Targets,

    I just sent the following letter to the Florida Association of School Administrators.

    Stay strong-


    Good Morning! I was selected by FASA in 2009 as one of ten consultants trained to begin the Florida Bullying Prevention Initiative. Thank you. I have come to know however, through training and through experience that we will never truly keep children safe from bullying if we, schools’ employees, are not safe from the same. I invite you to check out my website, http://www.apiecefullworld.com, and the following NEA link:


    This story and its almost 400 comments about teachers’ being bullied is a must read for you. I urge you to address the issue of administrators’ abuse of power and bullying. There is, and I write this with conviction, no way we will keep the children in Florida safe from bullying when there is an epidemic of administrators’ bullying us.

    Please read the NEA participants’ comments.

    Thank you,

    Kim Werner

  • Fellow Targets:

    Another of my comments is “awaiting moderation….” I sincerely do not know why….and I am troubled by that. Still. I want you to see it. So, I have posted it on my website as a blog post.

    I invite you to check it out.




  • Jonathan K.

    Sometimes those in high positions of power forget that the laws of the United States take precedent over laws of institutions and private industry-

    1st Amendment

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Even the government has to abide by its own laws!

  • Jacquie Ponsford

    I retired early because of a bullying superintendent who used to be my principal. I can relate to the main article. I had to make a choice between knowing that I was right or my mental and physical health. I did manage to get a settlement when I resigned. I have had 2 previous principals who used bullying to “motivate” me to move on. In one building 19 teachers either resigned, retired or changed districts within 5 years under a principal who was hired as a “house cleaner”. This was a staff of 22 people. It was interesting to note that of those 19 who left only one was under the age of 40. My exit caused people within the community to begin to question what was really happening in one school of a very small rural school district. I hope this bill goes through so other good teachers do not have to suffer the ramifications of principals like I have experienced.M

  • Fellow targets-

    I have heard from some of you about your desire–and fear–of contacting your states’ associations of school administrators and alerting them to this discussion. I will contact them if you would like. Simply send the email addresses (or links) to me at kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com.

    We are in this together.


  • Fellow Targets-

    You will love the newest link I have up on http://www.apiecefullworld.com: NEA’s Workplace Bullying Prevention training! Yes! The link is right at the top of the page (I’d put it here, but it seems when I put links here, my comments are moderated). The Power Point is from 2011. Check it out!


  • Jonathan K.

    One of the most difficult things to do was partake in the school’s grievance process. It takes place at the school and is monitored by the very people you have the grievance with. How odd it was to sit in the Superintendent’s office with his Lawyer and attempt to explain your grievance through a regional union rep. During the first hearing my regional union rep put on a good show. He really appeared to be fighting for me. He had told me that the Lawyer for the school was the son of the prior Lawyer for the school and that he had had a very food relationship with the elder Lawyer and that his relationship with the son was equally as good. Prior to the hearing I had spent a lot of time discussing with him why I thought the “ultimatum” presented to me was “extortion”. He brought it up during the hearing and used the term “extortion”. The Lawyer for the Superintendent said it was just a “bad deal” and not extortion. That was when I intervened and explained “white collar extortion”. The Lawyer went on an said that the “ultimatum” did not come from the Superintendent, that it had come from him. From there he said it went to my regional union rep (sitting beside me) where it went to the two teachers association reps who explained it to me in the school’s library while one of my co-teachers (bullies) watched my theory class. While he was explaining all this the Superintendent was sitting in his reclining office chair behind his desk leaning back with a big grin on his face… The Lawyer went on and said that the Superintendent had nothing to do with it and the Superintendent, with an even wider grin said he knew nothing about it. Then the Lawyer went on and said if anybody was guilty of anything that my regional rep and the two teachers association reps were willing accomplishes- After that hearing I felt that my regional rep had defended me admirably, but whenever I brought up the “extortion” he attempted to shoot me down immediately. It became obvious that he was afraid if it was proven to be “extortion” he would be part of it. It was at that point that he began to take a completely different stance and not one that was in my best interest. When I went to his office he actually threatened me saying if I hired a Lawyer he’d “eat him for lunch!” I thought that was pretty unusual that HE had picked sides. After a brief pause he repeated it “I eat Lawyers for lunch!” There was perspiration on his upper lip and his body was trembling, especially his hands, while he spoke. I paused and in that moment I realized he was no longer representing me. I said “Then you’re gonna have yourself a big lunch!” That was it. After several last minute bogus cancellation notices that were made a day before scheduled and approved grievance hearings, I had officially exhausted the grievance process. I called my Lawyer he began representing me-

  • Help Us Help Ourselves

    These articles have been very enlightening to me. I feel like I have been in an abusive family with a fear instilled in me to never let others know what I deal with on a regular basis from my abusers, for fear of worse punishment. I know from taking classes in counseling others that the first step in dealing with abusive situations is to recognize it. What teachers have been suffering through is abusive treatment. In this economy, we all have to worry about job security. Administrators are well aware of this, and have taken full advantage of it. Like other types of victims of abuse, teachers are blamed for causing administrators to abuse them. If someone is brave enough to speak up, they shoot the messenger.

    A teacher is at the mercy of the abuser because the abuser has the power to destroy them. The truth about how good a teacher is determined by the abuser. False statements could terminate a teacher’s current position. These false statements are shared with other administrators that don’t want to hire someone else’s reject, or jeopardize their relationships with other administrators. It’s a sick and dysfunctional system of abuse. Do we really want teachers who are afraid to speak an opinion teaching our students? That is the end result.

    I have a 4.0 GPA for my master’s in education. I have spent countless hours researching and creating the best lesson plans for my students, and buying the needed materials for these lessons. I am always looking for ways to reach students, and improve on what I do. I’m far from alone in doing this; there are so many teachers who just want to teach the students. My biggest problem in teaching has been bullies. I love what I do and take pride in my students’ accomplishments. I have a pit in my stomach because I know that I am always a step away from some petty people in my building trying to cause trouble, in any form for me. Unfortunately, I have had to spend too much time avoiding trouble with people that could ruin my career for no good reason. Good administrators shouldn’t allow this type of environment in their schools. Positive energy is being drained from good teachers, which results in less positive energy a teacher has for her students. If petty people spent more time and effort into educating their students instead of finding ways to destroy other teachers, wouldn’t all teachers and students benefit from this? Administrators have a responsibility to create a positive and healthy environment. The abused teachers aren’t the problems; they are a symptom of a much deeper problem.

    As educators, I think we have a responsibility to educate people about this problem and create a plan to address it. As a parent, I don’t want my children to be in this type of environment. I want them to learn to speak out against injustices, and be able to focus on learning in a positive environment. As a taxpayer, I am outraged that this goes on in our schools. As a teacher, I feel sick seeing good teachers demoralized and good reputations destroyed as they’re being used as scapegoats for problems in the schools. This column has clearly demonstrated that this is a very serious problem. The first step we need to take is to shed light on this problem. I urge each of the educators concerned about this issue to share it with at least one other person and to put it in the public eye. We need help from outside this abusive system if we really want to change the systematic problems.

  • THE ball is in our Unions Court. With so many stories, just maybe our well paid Union leaders will do something at a national level. Doubt it. Please prove me wrong. The only action I’ve ever witnessed is that of the individual standing up against such insecure paper pushers we are forced to call school leaders.

  • EM

    Today’s blog will be titled…52 shades of extortion. I just ralized that bullying is like those porno books – Shades of Grey. I did not read them. Crappy writing, I’m told. Bullying does come in shades of grey, and MUCH of it happens in the “grey areas”. It is often “up for interpretation”. “What really happened vs. she/he just misinterpreted what I said because she/he has a bad attitude.”
    Jonathan K – I am not sure I get it about the “regional rep” who says he eats lawyers for lunch. It was not really intended as a joke, I know… but he is supposed to be out on your side, but then threatened you when you questioned him ot talked about extortion? As in telling you not to hire a lawyer or he would work against you? That is CHILLING… but I get chills all the time, more and more as I return to this discussion.

    I don’t even want to get started on what I think about lawyers. $400.00 an hour to do what? Figure out ways to extort money legally? 52 shades of extortion. I should have gone to law school. However, I would have been a good one, honest! I would not clean out the bank accounts and retirement funds of teachers who are fighting for their lives and by extension, the future of our students and our country. I thought that was why we who are reading and writing this blog are all Union members. (Except for the administrators who may be reading this now that Kim sent the link to them). Speaking of that, I hope the adminsitrators who may read this don’t try to figure out a way to use this against us. Enter the FEAR FACTOR.

    Speaking of the lunch menu… I went to the book store yesterday. In the diet section, there are several books (at least one) written by teachers about how BAD school lunch is. Where I work, some schools have healthy choices, but also all the junk. From now on, I am going to bring my lunch everyday. I say this every year, but this year I really mean it. I always get so P.O.’ed when they give teachers the exact same amount of food they give the 6 year old kids who get free lunch, or pay much less than we do. I don’t know about you, but I just take it, and walk away. I am not about to say, “can I have another scoop of that divine looking ravioli with mystery meat and imitation cheese food like product, which I am paying full price for”? Too embarrassing…. So as long as I am sharing embarrassing things about the cefeteria… I do not like it when they make the teachers stand there and wait while they serve all the kids. Some do it and some don’t. One reason I hate it is I hate watching the behavior of the kids in line, which is not monitored. Then I hate the way the cafeteria people treat them. I feel it is all disrespectful to the teachers and the kids. Tht’s right, another lighter shade of bullying.
    Here;s another shade of grey on Teacher bullying. Since today is Sunday, can I get away with saying that some of the biggest bullies are also the biggest, high ranking Church goers and promoters? Lets’ talk about prayer in schools… Start with praying at faculty meetings. I think it is wrong that some of us who do want to get together and pray have to do it on our own time, while a principal can just ask someone to stand and pray at a faculty meeting, or say God sent them to clean up the school at a faculty meeting. Here’s another one… having their Church members going to their school retirement parties as unpaying, “special guests”. I know of several who have done this. VERY recently… Is this right? Is it ethical? Should the teachers have to pay MORE for their tickets to attend the retiring principal’s party, so they can let their friends and family go as unpaid “guests”? Does this count as bullying? If you say something, it’s seen as a “complaint”, and who has the nerve to complain about spending a “few extra dollars” for the Reverend, the family and the choir? Sorry if I offended anyone about the religion issues. Let’s not go all Chick fil a , ok?

  • I’ve posted this article on me Facebook page. Now my community is reading it and commenting. How many of you have done the same.

    Informal poll, “thumb up” if you did or “thumbs down” if your didn’t or to scared, too.

    I personally have copied all the comments and taking them to my
    Assemblyman and Congressman. What will you do???? NEA new business item???–That will really scare administration(sarcasm).

  • Jonathan K.

    I think we need a legal fund. A way to raise money to pay for lawyers to represent us nationwide. Unless we can find several law firms willing to take our cases Pro-Bono?

    “Pro Bono Publico” is Latin for “for the public good.” The American Bar Association sets an ethical requirement that lawyers in the United States complete up to 50 hours of pro bono service each year.

    We should be able to find legal firms that will be willing help out education in America while at the same time satisfying their Pro Bono requirements.

    We have to put a call out– I’m thinking a large firm that is willing to work nationwide. I am committed to putting and end to the Bullying of teachers am maybe teaching again sometime soon. Who else is in?

    “Never give up the fight!” – J.K.

  • montgomery county maryland abuse victim

    I just read through the NEA’s Workplace Bullying Prevention Power Point. Who was trained using this power point? Surely not Doug Prouty or any MCEA officials in Montgomery County. In Montgomery County, our union uses the collaborative method with administration which they are very proud of. Basically, the union and administrators collaborate for their OWN well being. Their collaboration has not had a positive outcome for teachers or students.
    NEA has done nothing to help teachers who have been bullied in this county. They just say, “well, he’s the principal and he can do that” or “if you try and fight this, you’ll never win; no teacher has ever won in this process”. Our former Superintendent Weast, a very well-known bully, started the collaborative process with our union, and then, he left the county a year ago after his 12 year reign of terror. Our expensive union dues?? I think our dues just pay for the very expensive apple ballots that are sent out at election time and whatever else suits union officials. And the teachers?? As I’ve heard many, many say, teachers are left to suffer with the infection left by Weast that still permeates our county. Teachers are quite upset in this county and feel that they are not being represented. What is NEA going to do to help their members? Why are we paying dues to a union that is aware of all of the bullying and still does nothing about it?
    Quite honestly, I am fearful that my email information will be turned over to our county union so that more bullying will occur. Even though I am fearful, as most are, I’m going to continue to speak against what is happening. I can think of no person that deserves to be bullied.
    How can NEA allow what is going on here? NEA, please do something to help your members. We are simply asking you to do your job.

  • Dear Montgomery County Maryland Abuse Vicitm:

    What specifically has Mr.Prouty, of the Maryland County Education Association done to “create a positive work environment” at Kemp MIll ES (see quote cut from news article below)?

    To my other abuse targets: Please see comment number 401 from a courageous Maryland abuse target. Hats off!

    This is the quote from– oh, just google Doug Prouty, bullying and Kemp Mill ES! :)–


    “Prouty said previously that the union had been aware of tensions at the school and was making a concentrated effort to work with employees to create a positive work environment.”

  • Jonathan K.

    Hey EM- if you don’t like school lunches and standing in line waiting for them, and you think they’re overpriced- bring your lunch! (separate issue for a different forum)

    As far as the regional union rep’s decision to announce “I eat lawyers for lunch-” it shows he was part of the corruption at that school. Corruption is a top-down process. If a Superintendent is corrupt it makes sense that he/she will hire similar individuals to fill the administrative positions. To survive at a school like that you have to be corrupt yourself or sooner or later you’ll be forced to make an ethical decision and they won’t like it and that’s when the bullying begins.

    A large majority of the individuals at that particular school were either corrupt or they were so concerned with their own survival that they looked the other way when they saw it-

    It has been said here before that as teachers we have the responsibility to not only teach curriculum, but to set a good example for our students. Standing up to corruption is an admirable trait, one that is a great example. Unfortunately at corrupt schools it is frowned upon. That’s the behavior that must be changed-

    I came from industry and I was appalled by the unprofessional behavior of school administrators. I suppose I believed the nonsense these corrupt individuals were selling. Now that I have been on the inside I can see clearly where the problems in public education are. Because abuse of power is so rampant it has been an acceptable behavior in education for too long. In the words of a teachers association president “You’re not the first person to be railroaded out of — and you won’t be the last!” There you have it- “Acceptable Corruption”

  • EM

    I thoght the NEA was supposed to represent us! Probono would be good too. I predict the messages will be fewer, now that someone posted it on facebook.

  • Catherine

    It is sad that so many people are afraid of telling the truth. Everyine should be encouraged to tell the truth, not afraid of losing their jobs and being used, abused and spit out.

  • PPK

    Jonathan K, you really hit the nail on the head. My husband works in the corporate world and he says that no administrator or co-worker would get away with what they do in education. The abuse has gone on for so long that it has become the “norm” and even the union reps support it as keeping everthing status quo and not rocking the good ole boys’ boats. “Acceptable corruption” is ruining education and the students are the biggest victims. After over 400 comments, where have we really gotten with this, though? Are we just preaching to the choir? The comments are dying down–I’m worried that interest is dwindling.

  • Stcatz

    So, NEA: are you listening?! This comment thread is just the tip of the iceberg. Many teachers are being bullied. School communities get away with it because the government and society are blaming teachers for all of society’s ills. NEA MUST take the lead in stopping this. The first thing to do is to stand up against the bullies and stop the harassment. Training must be done for state and local affiliates. Help those of us and we will help ourselves.

  • PPK-

    I agree. Comments are fewer. Maybe that’s because we’ve “gotten it off of our chests,” feel a bit better….and have fallen back into that “same-old, same-old” sigh heaving feeling: that “no one’s really going to help us” feeling….. And we are right. No one will “help us” unless we first help ourselves.

    How to do that?


    Targets–you are pretty much on your own at your individual schools. Once you are targeted, there is NO WAY you will ever work hard enough to “please” your abusive boss. You are targeted BECAUSE of your hard work and ethics.

    The Workplace Bullying Institute’s first tenant is to be safe. How to be safe if your district does not address the well documented abuse you are experiencing? You must get out. I did. I took a medical leave. I used up all of my sick bank, and then was on an unpaid leave. It was difficutl. But,I just knew I could not remain in–or return to–that abusive environment. My health, indeed, was at risk.

    My case was (is) well documented. I refused (and that felt, at the time, impossible too) a request from a high level administrator in my district to meet with my abusive boss. He (the administrator) knew little about the dynamics of bullying. Although he promised me I’d be safe, he just didn’t understand that asking me (the target) to meet with the bullying principal was absolutely the wrong thing to do.

    Throughout my ordeal, I “stuck to my guns” and stated it was my district’s responsibility to keep me safe. The way I was kept safe was to move me. I accepted that imperfect solution. I was ready to return to work.

    So-targets. First thing is to be safe. You are not safe if you are bullied targets.


    This site is important. We are building a movement. We must share this site and this conversation with others. I am alerting everyone I know who has some influence. I ask that you do the same. Just because there are fewer comments does not mean there are fewer eyes reading all of this.


  • montgomery county maryland abuse victim

    I completely agree with Kim. I became very, very ill in the hostile work environment due to my principal’s bullying and my fear of losing my career. You must see a doctor and leave so you can heal. Most likely, the bullying will increase for you. Our principal bullied many. He appeared to enjoy every moment of ugly behavior he threw at us, often singing around the building and acting as jovial as he could be. Our staff implored NEA and MCPS to do something about the continued harassment and retaliation by the principal and his selected few on our staff.
    Finally, MCPS sent an expert on Culture to work with all of us, WITH the bully in the room. John Landsman and his study circle group made things far worse for many, because they tried to use honesty, transparency and mediation. What’s wrong with transparency and mediation?? Any Psychiatrist or expert in the field of hostile work environments will tell you that this is the WORST thing you can do to victims.
    AND, indeed, the aftermath of the study circles turned out to be horrible for many who thought it was fine to speak honestly. Again, the study circles ended up serving as more retaliation toward the targets of the bully.
    TARGETS – you should contact AFT. We did just that and are now working with AFT and will have dual union membership. The reps. at AFT have been wonderful to the teachers in our county – they have worked with many bullied teachers.
    We need to be helped by someone – if NEA does not help you, explore AFT if you are able to do that in your district.

  • EM

    If the NEA gives our names to the Union, and the Union gives them to the Administrators and/or Principals, isn’t that a breach of confidentiality? That is what I fear, too. As Montgomery County abuse victim says, the aftermath of speaking honestly can be horrible. It happened to me. I am afraid to reveal too much more, because I saw the movie: The Conspiracy Theory. I did not think it was too fictional. Ok, so maybe they won’t actually shoot me with a gun, but everyone knows stress kills. Why don’t they include tests for elevated cortisol levels in our supposedly confidential medical records. If “they” find out who I am, I am in deep doodoo. Aren’t I? And thanks again, everyone.

  • EM

    OMG— I just put in a comment about the NEA giving our email info to the Unions and it did not get posted. What does that mean? In that post, I mentioned the movie, The Conspiracy Theory. I said that the movie is fictional, but the fact is that there IS rampant bullying. I said if our info is put in the hands of the wrong people, it could be a breach of confidentiality. I do not know if that is a legal term. I also said that I am afraid to add specifics about what happened to me any more than I already have, as it will help the bullies target me even more. I further said that maybe the administrators won’t try to kill us like they did try to shoot Mel Gibson in the movie, but we ARE being killed by stress. I have said and written letters about this for years. To no avail, basically. Except that now the insurance companies are going to start charging us more if we don’t lose weight, get our triglycerides down, and get out of the high risk or pushing high risk categories. They will soon start charging us for being fat. They are already monitoring it. (Gathering data?) I am sorry if this seems off the subject, but I think it, like the school lunches all ties in together. It is unhealthy, and we are paying for it. I spoke to someone very close, asked her if she has been aware of, or reading this blog. She has not. She said it is very sad, but since she has never been bullied, she would not know. We, the targeted, are participating, and the ones who have not experieced it are NOT.

  • EM

    My BAD, the original blog of the day did get posted. I did not realize it would take 25 minutes. Sorry for panicking. Maybe I SHOULD go back to the doc. Maybe I could tell him again how I have panic attacks daily and nightly. Sorry, everyone, this IS making me sad. I have to go workout extensively.

  • Jonathan K.

    I believe it will take a precedent-setting case to stop the bullying and make teachers understand they have rights. I applaud those who have stood up to the current powers-that-be and have filed law suits against these “ethic-less monsters” of education. It is an act that is nothing short of courageous! I include myself among those people. I have and will continue to pressure the education system into doing the right thing. All of us who have displayed that uncommon courage have had to make huge sacrifices. It is not easy. I liken it to confronting a group of bullies alone in a parking lot. Imagine 15 against one? That’s the kind of courage it takes to stand up to these bullies at this point… Now imagine if everybody had that same courage- It could be 15-3. Then 15-6. Eventually it could be 15-100 and the bullies (cowards) could easily be defeated. I understand the fear people have. That’s exactly what bullies prey on. I urge anyone who commented here, or has read the comments and has not yet told their story, to dig deep to find the courage to stand up to these monsters. If you don’t, it will never get any better and you’ll only have yourselves to blame. For the time being those with the courage, like Kim & I, will fend them off, but we need your help—

  • Fellow Targets-

    You all have motivated me to write this as my blog post this week. Now, it’s not just you, for example, alone in Washington, me in Florida, others in Michigan, Texas, Massachusetts or Maryland. It’s all of us together.

    I thank you for that.


    Life is good!  I have new friends!  Lots and lots of new friends…..friends with whom I have much in common; friends from Massachusetts and Maryland.  Friends from California and Texas.  Friends from Utah and Minnesota.  You name the state and I have friends there.  My lots and lots of new friends and I have lots and lots of stuff in common. 

    My new friends and I met on line.  We are all educators, so that’s one thing we have in common.  We are all enthusiatic–or were at one time–about the work we each do at our schools.  We care about people.  We want to help.  When we see someone being mistreated, we speak up.  We also speak up for ourselves.

    For example, we might say to a man who is calling us–both men and women–“babe” and “doll”: “Please don’t call me that, I feel disrespected when you do.”

    We might also say, “No, I won’t do that,” when coerced to lie on documents. 

    We might require that required services be truly offered to special needs children.

    We might say, “That’s not right” when our position is given to the son of a someone else because they are friends.

    We might just go ahead with cool and creative ideas at our schools, in spite of jealousy and mean-spiritedness from co-workers.

    We might hold our unions accountable for not protecting us when our simple requests to be treated respectfully open the flood gates of our adminstrators’ wrath–for HOW DARE WE speak up? We might hold our unions accountable for appearing to work at appeasing our school districts instead of truly helping us.

    Ours might appear to be individual voices, from across the nation, asking for help.  Our individual voices–voices from New York, for example, heard in Florida: voices from California heard in Texas– might seem inconsequential.  They may appear to be just individual voices of truth-thinly woven through thick garments of districts’ lies–that appear to be like nuisance threads to be pulled from the hems of those garments. Threads that, if districts are not careful, will unravel those same garments.

    Our voices, when brought together, will create a different kind of garment: a vibrant garment of truth.  That garment, in which each voice and the truth of each person those unified voices represent,  will be sewn together by educators from our entire nation.  Ours will be a garment of rich colors, not sullied by spills, rips, or tears ; lies and false documents.  Ours–a garment of truth telling–is of strong fabric. 
    My online friends and I are beginning to sew. We’ve set up a truth telling loom.  We are, together, working hard.  You will like what we are making. It’s hard work. It’s worth it.
    Come join us.  I invite you to check out our work at:  http://neatoday.org/2012/05/16/bullying-of-teachers-pervasive-in-many-schools/

  • Please know that the teachers in St PAul Minnesota are uniting to uncover the corruption. This group of 25 teacher, (and growing daily) will not stand for any more abuse. please see our new FB page http://www.facebook.com/strongteachers.strongschools.

    Let us know your story!

  • Roberta Lazar

    I am disappointed in the NEA and the MEA (Michigan) for not being more proactive with ads on TV and in the newspapers to “educate” the public about what is really happening to teachers with the legislative iniatives and laws that have been passed these past few years. School districts will be scrambling for teachers without the opportunity to truly interview candidates and selectt the best when hundreds of experienced, qualified and passionate teachers have to retire due to the legislation that affects pensions and health care. Public education is a target and it is being destroyed by those who really want the money to go to charter schools, private schools and cyber schools. Our middle class is being eroded and that is what has made America what is it. Without public education, the poor can’t rise up to get good jobs. This is a fact! Look at the history of successful people who had a public eduation. No one goes into teaching “for the money”. It has been an honorable profession. I have always held my head up high and felt pride in being able to say I educate children. What could be more valuable than either a teacher or a doctor? Though teachers do not command the same salary and it’s understood why, teachers do deserve the respect and the pension/health care that the unions worked so hard in the past for teachers to feel confident in receiving. Where are the local, state and national unions voices in what is going on to erode public education? Who is going to want to teach when teachers are judged mainly by their students’ test scores, when they no longer can count on a pension or good health care while teaching students who are coughing, sneezing, infected with chicken pox, herpes, eye infections, flu, etc. Teachers read professional journals and books on their own time, attend workshops which are not always paid for by the school district, work hours at home, attend after school events on their own time, donate their lunch hours to help students in need, meet with parents or call parents before or after school, spend their own money on books, supplies, activities,etc. Where are the unions in advertising what teachers really do besides work the times designated by their job? Get busy unions. We pay you dues to do your job. There is no question unions have helped public education and teachers reach a high standard. Why are unions not doing more to incense the public to demand better legislation from their legislators to ensure public education continues to improve and educate all children!

  • Jonathan K.

    If NEA chooses to do nothing after seeing how many educators have experienced bullying, then what a colleague once said to me after a big administrative “hoo-ha” designed to rally the troops is true here also- “They stir the soup, but they never serve it-”

    If 200 teachers were willing to share their horrible experiences about being bullied, I’m no statistician, but the real number is at the very least 10 times that, perhaps even much higher.

    I knew teachers who had been bullied, but were too ashamed to admit it. I spoke with a guidance councilor at a school I worked at and she told me how she had been sexually harassed by a high profile male teacher (union), but she was afraid to file a complaint for fear she would lose her job. She didn’t even tell her husband for fear he would do something that would only make things worse- All this stuff is happening in schools all across America and we (the teachers) are to “ascared” to come forward? C’mon people, lets rise above it and put an end to the abuse!

    This article was very timely, but I’m fearful that the comment area is just another “binky”-

  • Fellow Targets and All the Anyone Else-es Out There:

    I invite you to take a look at this video. I laughed. I felt inspired. After you see it, I would love your comments at kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com.



  • Fellow Targets-

    Wow. My THIRD “awaiting moderation” comment. This morning I shared a video link about starting a movement. NEA is moderating it. What is up with that? In case they decide not to post it, you can check out the video on the homepage of my website: http://www.apiecefullworld.com.


  • Jonathan K.

    There is no end to the depths of this conspiracy/well kept secret- BULLYING of TEACHERS by ADMINISTRATORS in the PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM a process that is totally responsible for the DETERIORATION of PUBLIC EDUCATION K-12 !!!

  • EM

    Thank You all…

  • NEA leadership,

    I posted two comments yesterday. I–and I’ll bet other targets of bullying administrators–would appreciate knowing why you are moderating them any why you’ve not yet posted them. It’s been more than 24 hours.


    Kim Werner

  • Sue T.

    Rosalyn Schnall wrote “When Teachers Talk” to reveal the problems caused by abusive principals. I worked under one who opened my mail and re-sealed it (even special delivery mail), took my answer book and other critical materials without telling me to make me think I lost them, shook her fists above my head and shouted at me within earshot of students, gave me extra duties that were impossible to perform within the allotted time frame, spread rumors suggesting that I had lost my cognitive abilities, interfered with my ability to receive physical therapy for a serious work injury incurred while helping another teacher, conducted repeated and unannounced observatoins to intimidate me, and told others not to communicate with me. Under her direction my personal belongings were discarded while I was on a leave of absence and I came back to empty file cabinets. She ordered me to teach in a manner that was contrary to good methodoloty and which angered students and parents. She even told me to shout and embarass students who needed behavior correction (I refused to do this). I am out of my job and receive no income or unemployment with a family to support. This after 30 years of teaching and a master’s degree plus 100 graduate credits (negotiations forced many of us to re-earn credits for lane change).

    The union needs to recognize that allowing abuse by principals weakens its ability to properly protect and represent teachers. We once had two unions to choose from in our district. It’s time to go back to that aggressive competition! It is not okay to allow the destruction of skilled and competent teachers–even the best can be made to appear ineffective after weeks and months of egregious treatment!

    Please–I do not wish to read about the deaths of teachers in body or in spirit.

  • Jonathan K.

    Hey Kim-

    It appears that even NEA is on this “Bullying” conspiracy once again proving what I was told when I was a first year teacher “EDUCATION IS A BUSINESS!” Too bad it is run by organized crime-

  • EM

    Yes, I WOULD like to know why Kim’s comments are not being posted. Not surprising, though. Last week, I had a pre-school (on vacation) phone contact from my Principal, called the Union and the Union stuck up for the Principal. What DO they do with our money? I have that old sinking feeling.

  • NEA leadership-

    Please post all comments. It is important for many reasons that you do so. Here are two: First, we–bullied targets–need to hear each other. We need to hear each others’ stories and remedies for help.
    I am two years beyond the surreal and ugly abuse I experienced. I feel my voice and others’ voices who have survived the abuse are important voices for those living the horror now.

    Second: I believe your posting of all comments will give NEA credibility on the issue of workplace bullying by principals. Right now there is a growing wariness, I think, as to your truly being willing to help us. It feels exasperatingly familiar to me.

    I am viewing now the comments I posted on August 10. Please post them.

    NEA, we need your help. We all need your help.


  • Jonathan K.

    Sorry- In my last post I referred to those running education as “organized crime” Must have been a “Freudian Slip”? I meant administrative individuals with nothing but good intentions… (I don’t really believe that!)

  • EM

    Thanks, to Jonathan K – I agree with you on what you really believe. I think… And thanks to Kim for explaining why this site is important. Most important for me is the good advice about what to do if something happens in the future… Like tomorrow.

  • EM and other bullied targets.

    I do not have all the answers. What I have is my experience: the experience, like you, of being targeted for abuse and what followed from there.

    Here, concretely, is what I did. See if if helps you:

    1. I took a medical leave BEFORE my principal began false documentation against me. I did not know then how important that was. I know now that his documentation against me was inevitable.

    2. I took a deep breath and formally reported him for bullying.

    3. I met with union representation and with high level district administration to present my concrete evidence (oh and that is important) of abuse.

    4. I waited.

    5. I waited some more.

    6. I accepted placement at a different school.

    The key, for me–and I didn’t know it at the time–the key was PROTECTING myself by getting out before he could begin his documentation against me. I know now, from others’ stories and from training, that it was inevitable.

    I sincerely hope this is helping–just a little–those of you out there working really, really hard at “impressing” your bosses with your creativity and your hard work: those of you working at “impressing” your districts with your honesty. I am sad, sad, sad to tell you, in my experience,….it doesn’t matter.


    I truly feel that saved me.


  • Jonathan K.

    Public Education is in a very sad state of affairs in the United States. More and more students are opting to attend private schools as my children did. Enrollment at public schools is down and with it the funding. To improve, public education must offer a product that competes and hiring and keeping the best teachers is the way to accomplish that. Allowing a “Good Ole Boys” style of administration, one that bullies the better teachers out of jobs and careers, is not the way to do it- It is my hope that the corrupt administrators are exposed over the next year and their well-kept “secrets” will be no longer. I will work tirelessly to that end-


  • Another year begins

    Another year begins. I started the year already by having a meeting with my new administrator. We talked about curriculum and scheduling. With everything I said, she played devil’s advocate – which is probably OK. I followed up our meeting – thinking I was misunderstood – with a reflection of our meeting. Reflections are a ‘sign’ of a good teacher, right? I emailed my reflection. She sent one back clearing up any misunderstanding I had about the meeting. I sent one back indicating I was all clear with her intentions. All of it documented through email. I have contacted the tech guys and requested a video camera for my room. With the new teacher eval, we will not be required to video lessons, but it is ‘in our best interest’ as we will be able to show we are hitting the target of being an ‘excellent teacher’ according to the new eval tool. I am hopful for this year…the past years have been horrible. My last admin was abusive to me. Let’s face it, if it were a marriage, I would have been able to get a divorce based on severe mental and emotional abuse. My last admin accused me of not signing up to serve on committees at the beginning of the year as required. I told her I did so right away – as, in the past, I would go to sign up and all of the ‘good’ committees were filled up already. She was pointing to the sign-up sheet – and said I did not sign-up. She said she was forced to write my name in for me since I did not do what I was supposed to do. (Now at this point, I am starting to realize the groundwork is being laid to get rid of me for not doing my job.) I looked at the paper and told her that the other teacher on the committee I had signed up for was standing right outside of the ‘teacher workroom’ where the sign-up sheet was and told her I was excited to be on the committee and that I had a lot of great ideas. This teacher and I kicked around a couple of ideas with her. My admin yelled at me and told me I did not sign up and that she had to do it for me. I again told her I did. I looked at the paper she was pointing to and asked, “This is a zerox copy – where is the ORIGINAL?” She turned for a second to reach for something, then turned around and said, “This is the only copy.” I again asked, “Where is the original?” She said it didn’t matter. I ended the meeting saying that next year, when I sign up, I was going to have someone initial it, make two copies of it immediately, send one to her office, and keep one for future reference. The next year, the list was missing from the teacher workroom every morning when I checked for it, and when it finally appeared, there were two spaces left for two crumby committees. So there you go… From now on, I take another teacher with me, and if I don’t see the sign-up sheet, we go looking for it and ask why it is not in the teacher workroom. When I sign up, it is initialed by a witness and copies are made. One for the office, one for my file, and I send one to the central office to be put in my personnel file. I journal everyday at the end of the day of what I did, how I did it, and when I did it. It really only takes about 10 minutes to journal, but it is well worth it when you take it out and say, “On August 23, 2012, at 9:15 am, I went to the workroom with Jane Doe and signed up for xyz committee. She initialed my signature as witness. Three copies were made. One was sent to your office. One is in my personal files. On is in my file at the central office.” Hope this helps. Once you have a system in place, it becomes habit, doesn’t take long, and helps you sleep so much better at night.

  • Another year begins


    Hey – after posting, I read this article online. The students won their settlement. But note: the teacher won $75,000 because of retribution for her/his actions. Small steps. Good for the Jersey court system.

  • JJ

    It’s very refreshing reading the comments posted on this site after having been bullied myself for a year. It was difficult to believe what was actually going on in an attempt to wear me down mentally and the childish things happening in my classroom when it was happening; but, now see it was happening to many others in my field of work.
    When I shared with teacher friends what my principal and assistant were doing, all of us had a difficult time wrapping our minds around the extreme, childish, unprofessional behavior they engaged in. Now, after reading the comments from around the world, it’s so eye opening to see that administrators are inflicting their targets with the same abuse.
    I know in my case, the principal actually trained the assistant so he can now follow in her footsteps. Basically, they are trained in “Bullying” those whom they have selected as their victim.
    He’s now a principal with abusive behavior training. But, teachers have this site to present to their union and will have their comments carry more weight simply due to numbers and it happening to others. YEAH!!!
    If all teachers were aware of the treatment selected individuals suffer through, it would make it so much easier to identify instantly when they are targets and start documenting. Just be certain your documenting book is left home and not where it can be removed from your possession.
    Of course, don’t expect the “Favored, charming” teachers to have any compassion or believe a word you say, as they don’t and probably never will go through this ridiculous, deceitful abuse.
    I believe God is good.
    Thank you for this site. It’s so helpful. Knowing you’re not alone is therapy.

  • Dear “Another Year Begins” Thanks for alerting us to the Camden New Jersy incident. I was struck by the way it was handled. The vice principal was transferred to a high school, the principal retired….and the teacher, who courageously, it seems, did the right thing, was fired.

    Here’s a different link to the same incident.



  • Jonathan K.

    I think this “bullying” epidemic is far worse than going “Postal”- Worse than “Mad Cow”- Worse than the “Catholic Church” or “Penn State”! These administrators are out of their minds & no one’s watching them!!! What happened? When did it happen? Has it always been a problem? The runaway egos of Administrators in the field of public education have to be stopped! Eating off the floor? Move him to another school & make him Principal??? Must be an “Ordained Principal”- Yeah that’s it!

  • I was a bullied teacher and lost my livelihood because of it. I completed a documentary on another bullied teacher who sacrificed her life to call attention to this very serious issue. Her name was Mary Eve Thorson and she committed suicide on Thanksgiving Day, 2011. She was 32 years old. I’m certain that most of us have been influenced by a favorite teacher on some level during our formative years and throughout high school. If I am correct in this assumption, then we can understand just how imperative it is to rectify a situation which has reached epidemic proportions. I recently returned from Washington, DC, after having been invited by the Save Our Schools organization to speak about the issue of teacher bullying at the hands of administrators/educators, and to present the film: DYING TO TEACH: The Killing of Mary Eve Thorson, “Educators Who Bully.” Persons are not taking this issue as seriously as they should. It wasn’t until bullied children starting committing suicide and taking the lives of innocent persons that the world stopped pretending that kids would grow out of being cruel to one another. Now, teachers are taking their own lives due to bullying. It’s been happening for years; but, there has never been evidence to expose the shocking practice of teacher bullying at the hands of administrators and educators until the death of Mary Thorson. I have done my part to bring attention to this horrific issue. I have predicted that if persons continue to look the other way, another Columbine is inevitable – only this time the shooter will be a teacher. There will be much bloodshed and many innocent individuals will perish. You can only torment a human being and strip them of their dignity for so long before they fight back. I don’t want to see this happen. Teachers are afraid. Teachers are in hiding. Teachers are dying. I hope that someone is going to listen…truly listen. Why must it always take a tragic circumstance to open the eyes of the public? How many more teachers will have to take their lives just to be heard? I am reaching out to individuals letting them know that someone is fighting to end this tragic and horrific circumstance. I welcome any support in this endeavor. There are literally hundreds of teachers in pain. We can’t be concerned about education reform if our teachers are committing suicide.



  • Shelly

    I lost my job because of “budget cuts” after being bullied for several years by my principal. I called my local NEA office several times, and their response was, “it’s not illegal to be an a$$hole.” I am going on my 2nd year as an unemployed teacher. My career is over, and it’s wrecked my family with 3 kids. Someone needs to do something so more teachers aren’t hurt or have their careers ruined.

  • Stcatz

    I just got the NEA print magazine today. After my experiences with being bullied and my local doing NOTHING to support me, and after reading all of the stories here, I was appalled to see the cover say, “Who protects NEA members?” It’s obviously NOT the NEA.

  • Stcatz

    I just got the NEA print magazine today. After my experiences with being bullied and my local doing NOTHING to support me, and after reading all of the stories here, I was appalled to see the cover say, “Who protects NEA members?” It’s obviously NOT the NEA. When will something happen that will help us get protected? What are my dues for?

  • Samantha Stevens

    As a middle school teacher at AMS in Aldine ISD, I, along with most of my coworkers have been bullied since &&**&& has been the principal. We have been yelled at like children, told “if you don’t like it then LEAVE”, told “if I’m stepping on ya toes, put ’em in your shoes”, told “we don’t need y’all, we have plenty of teachers looking for jobs”. Daily, we are abused by students and administrators, yet students are allowed to parade around with drugs, weapons, cell phones, etc. with minimum punishment, if any.

    This school district had a MASS EXODUS of teachers this year. They have already hired over 400 new teachers and still have over 100 vacancies. This district is pretty small, so there is an obvious problem if that many people have left.

    They will have another MASS EXODUS this year. I can see most people leaving before the school year even ends.

    Like others have posted here, if the Leadership (superintendent) is full of unethical dictators who don’t care, then their followers will do the same. These people do not care about our quality of life. They don’t care that these unnecessary actions have caused many teachers to have health problems.

    Once I leave this place, I will NEVER teach again!

  • Jonathan K.

    Same happened to me Shelly- Three kids, teaching career snuffed out by a corrupt Superintendent, entering my last 10 weeks of unemployment- Could lose the house!

    NEA is right- “It’s not illegal to be an a–hole!” BUT— There are plenty of violations (human rights, harassment, defamation, libel, and extortion) that we can get them on.

    Just think how the NEA will look when taxpayers realize that they knew all along what was going on in the schools- Heads will fly, but this time it will be all the right heads! They’ll be the ones standing in the unemployment lines with careers that are over- I will not feel any compassion for them.

    If you know what the problem is and you’re doing nothing to fix it- then you are part of the problem! (Are you listening NEA?)


  • Dear Fellow Targets:

    See another 78 comments about “demoralized” teachers from a different NEA article. The two articles’ responses total more than 500 together.

    I will alert the “demoralized” teachers on the other article about the “bullied” teachers on this article…..

    Here’s the link to the other article.



  • RVG

    “Strong Teachers, Strong Schools” group in St. Paul, MN–how is your operation going? Are you getting recruits to join your group? There is tremendous corruption, abuse, bullying, and outright blackmailing of teachers in St. Paul–this group needs your support and participation. It’s a grassroots effort to expose a filthy school district to the public and I wish them the best of luck. The union in St. Paul knows what is going on, but administration continues to prevail, even with a change in superintendents. Keep fighting!

  • Jonathan K.

    I interviewed for a teaching job and of the 15 interviewed I was chosen in the top 2 and was interviewed a second time. That interview went so well the Superintendent said “All we have to do is make two calls…” After that (the calls) they re-posted the position, but lied to me about it. They said the re-post had been done in error, but that they were a bit concerned about my 58 mile commute- After I told them I wasn’t, that I would probably be the first teacher to arrive at the school because I’d give myself an hour and a half and that most who are late live within twenty minutes of the school and they’re the ones who cut it close- The Principal (who admitted to commuting an hour) said that they were bringing in a third candidate- ???? I got a letter today acknowledging my experience and credentials, but they had hired someone else… Being blackballed by a CORRUPT Superintendent (last school) cost me this job. The Superintendent who sent the letter is just as bad as she bought into the corruption at the other school… I’ll probably be forced to stock shelves somewhere— (I’m a damn good teacher!)

  • montgomery county maryland abuse victim

    Who protects NEA members? I did not receive my NEA News for this month, yet. If the title on the cover is “who protects nea members?”, I think that’s a very important question for NEA to investigate. It does not seem that NEA is doing much of anything for their members. NEA, why are we forced to pay dues to you? I have left two messages in your national office, in Washington, D.C., over the past week, and I still have not received a return call from anyone in your office.
    NEA, how are you spending our dues money? Where can we find an accounting of how you spend our money? Why are we forced to pay you to collaborate with abusive administrations?

  • Jonathan K.


  • Jonathan K.

    The corrupt Superintendent who handed me my non-renewal has continued to prevent me from gaining employment (3 years). He’s sneaky and spiteful and those are two of his better qualities- He has essentially ruined my life and the lives of my family members. What’s worse is that he has done it to others.

    I have been told by a longtime employee of that school that he (Superintendent) gets off on doing just that- ruining the lives of people who go against him. That he spends most of his waking hours planning the demise of his adversaries.

    Another teacher who was let go the same time as me, he was not willing to compromise his ethics either, ran into a former co-teacher and that teacher told him “you’ll never work in education again-”

    The Superintendent is vicious and his abuse of power is reprehensible. I truly believe he is a psychopath- We need to remove him from education all together.

    Are you listening NEA?

  • Dear montgomery county maryland abuse victim–

    Please put the number you called in this thread. I, too, would like to call NEA’s leadership. Remember, NEA was trained on Workplace Bullying. Perhaps the trainer of that 2011 session will assist us. Mr. George Luce’s, Coordinator of Training and Organizing of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, email address is gluce@massteacher.org.

    I am going to email Mr. Luce. I will put my letter to Mr. Luce on my website at http://www.apiecefullworld.com so that all of you, my fellow bullied targets, and your supporters, can see it there. I’ll put it as a blog post. Also, check out “Links” on A Piece Full World’s menu bar. I’ve put a link to NEA’s Workplace Bullying training there.

    And remember, NEA sponsors the “Bully Free. It Starts With Me.” campaign. We need to encourage all of our school districts’ administrators and district superintendents to take that pledge! :). Here’s the link to that:


    Hang in there everybody.


  • Eastern NC teacher

    I have only come to terms and understanding of this form of abuse, I tried for years to comprehend but have spent the last 2 years of my life dealing with this issue. I worked in a low performing title 1 high school teaching social studies and for 8 years I was commended and received high marks on all paperwork. Over the last two years, I have been hounded, placed on a “special”plan, observed 5 times in one week, threatened with RIF, denied an opportunity at professional development and most recently, prevented from completing a program of study in my own district. I am currently a masters candidate for administration and will have to complete my study outside of district. This all due to an over zealous HR director and lousy lead admin. For those outside of NC, we DO NOT have a union and therefore no protection. I watched my colleagues also experience similar treatment and have seen 1st/2nd yr teachers be treated with more respect that have now moved on to other LEAs. What are my rights? What should I do?

  • Susan Nunes

    Sorry if this has already been posted. I’d add there needs to be more protections for teachers and far fewer protections for administrators, many of whom belong to unions. It is virtually impossible to fire a principal or higher-up administrator (exception: superintendents). This needs to stop:


  • Jonathan K.

    I had a bit of excitement this summer. I have been able to apply for 4 teaching positions! I forgot one major thing though- I have a lawsuit pending against my last employer and at each of the school’s I applied the Superintendent calls my last employers’ Superintendent- GAME OVER!

    He (Superintendent)denied me a written recommendation because I would not sign off on the grievances and complaints as he demanded, and it makes perfect sense that now I’m not getting a verbal recommendation either. I suspect the exact opposite of that-

    I’d have to contact the FBI to place a wire tap on the phone lines to prove it- This is “BULLYGATE”!

    Teachers losing their jobs and then their careers to corrupt administrators.

    Well, I kissed my wife on the cheek & I’m off to the unemployment office- AGAIN! (I didn’t deserve this nor did my family)


  • Jonathan K.

    “BULLYGATE”! Has a nice ring to it aye?

  • Jonathan K.

    Just got my “Summer 2012” neatoday- On page 36 there’s an article “At Long Last: Vindication” It is required reading! The result appears in the first paragraph (I wouldn’t have written it that way) so I don’t mind telling you the teacher was not only vindicated, but he was awarded $1,173,716. The case involved a 6th grade language arts teacher and an employment relations specialist. The employment relations specialist used several “misleading statements” and manipulated the teacher’s resignation. After realizing how damaging the resignation would be to his career, he went back immediately and attempted to rescind his resignation letter. The ER Specialist would not let him and a local DA charged him with “misdemeanor assault”. He was acquitted of two charges in 2006, the same year the alleged incident was said to have taken place, and a year later two other charges were also dropped. After filling out 100 applications without a job offer, he filed a federal lawsuit against the school for violation of his due process rights. The EM Specialist who had coerced him into resigning with false statements was also sued. In addition to the $1,173,716 the EM Specialist was ordered to pay $52,156 and there is another petition to seek $200,000 in attorneys’ fees- The teacher no longer works in education and has settled in at the headquarters of a major corporation where he was quoted as saying “I’m really happy with my job. I’m treated with value now…” As a fourth grade teacher his students led the state in writing scores four years in a row-

  • EM

    Dear Shelly,
    OMG, I heard the same exact quote from MY Union REP! “It’s not illegal to be an A- HOLE” You must be from where I am from, which I am not revealing…

  • Mesastopholies

    I have been on the receiving end of bullying in my district for the past 11 years. I have worked hard to make and awareness in my local NEA chapter to creating Dignity in the Workplace according to the ideas presented by Robert Fuller. I have documented and documented and when I took that to my reps it was never enough.

    It is a culture of favoritism, intimidation and appearances that will be kept up. The principal is many times a puppet of politically connected teachers and parents.

    It’s atrocious.

  • Good Morning everyone,

    This is the letter I wrote to Mr. George Luce. Mr. Luce trained NEA in workplace bullying the summer of 2011. Perhaps you might write to him also. In a previous comment I put Mr. Luce’s email address.



    Dear Mr. Luce,

    I am relieved to see that you trained NEA in workplace bullying prevention in the summer of 2011.  It was a timely training.  

    NEA is featuring an article, written by Cindy Long, entitled, ” Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools.”  There are, to date, more that 450 responses.  Teachers, counselors, and other employees throughout the nation do not feel safe in their schools.  They are targeted by principals and principals’ sycophants.  They are not supported when they report the abuse to their school districts’ superiors.  In fact, just as it is true for many children who courageously  report bullying, once employees report the abuse, their professional lives become even more unbearable.  They, the targets, are not supported.  It appears that the bullies are supported by districts’ leadership.  The Workplace Bullying Institute certainly finds that to be true.

    And, as you know, most often bullied teachers are the most enthusiastic, hard working and honorable employees at schools.  That’s why they were targeted.  They were targeted because they may have done one of many things; things that brought the principal’s wrath down upon them.

     They may have, for example, simply requested to be treated respectfully.  Or they may have created an amazing project.  They may also have said “no” to demands to falsify documents…

    Because I have offered to communicate privately with suffering targets, many have reached out to me.  We need your and NEA’s help.  We all would much appreciate your communicating with us as to specific steps we can take to protect ourselves.  

  • Jonathan K.

    Hi Kim,

    Being an “enthusiastic, hard working and honorable” teacher from Massachusetts who was bullied out of his job and then his career, I look forward to Mr. Luce’s response.

  • Jonathan K.

    You just received your non-renewal notice(pink slip)and you believe the school had no grounds to do this to you. What’s worse you have tried to find another job in education, but as soon as they call your last employer you’re being defamed and you can’t get a job- So you call a Lawyer to see what it will take to file a lawsuit and recover the lost wages you believe you’re entitled to and to get the defamation to stop so you can move on in your career. Try $400 an hour or if you find a budget Lawyer- $200 an hour. But here’s the “big BUT”- A $20,000 retainer! “Did I mention non-renewal, defamation, out of work, can’t find a job???” That is where the corrupt administrators know they got you! What is an out-of-work teacher to do? We might be better off looking to the private sector for union representation. For a fee they will ink contracts and make sure our rights are not violated. And because they’re not part of the rank & file, they won’t care who they piss off! I believe that’s what happened in Georgia and it is very effective form of bully prevention-

  • Jonathan K.

    I had a Regional Rep who in my opinion, was as corrupt as the administration. I strongly believe he was “in bed” with them and that his primary function was to gain the confidence and trust of the individual filing a grievance or complaint and then when it mattered most- tell those individuals that they were either “denied a hearing” or “didn’t have a case based on the language used in the contract”. In my case I undressed him in his office and his subsequent comments revealed that he was a MAJOR DETERRENT in carrying out the grievance process as it was originally intended. He was & for all I know, still is a bad seed in the grievance process at my former school. The administration is very glad to have him-

  • Susan Nunes

    I had an executive director who was totally in bed with the district. She had represented me through the first hearing processes, but then “coincidentally” the person who put my principal up to “investigating” me and then firing me on bogus charges hired her to work directly under him as a “labor relations manager.” This was specifically a payoff so that she couldn’t be a witness for me at my arbitration hearing. Both of them should have been doing jail time for bribery, or, at the very least, misappropriation of public money.

  • Susan Nunes

    The answer, Jonathan K., is you have to move out of state and start all over. That is what I have been forced to do since I could not get any teaching work in Nevada. The job applications ask a billion questions to try and get you to “admit” you were fired, no matter how wrong the district was. That way other districts screen you out. That is why the disclosure questions are asked.

    So here I am, 57 years old, having to SUB when I need full-time, regular work, and forced to sleep on my brother’s couch so I am not living under a bridge someplace. Meanwhile, the crooks who railroaded me out of a job are still ripping off Washoe County taxpayers.

  • Jonathan K.


    It’s all too familiar. The corrupt individuals who ruined my teaching career here in Massachusetts are all getting ready to go back to school and build up their retirement while I scramble to pay the bills- (I’m running out of stuff to sell on Craigslist & eBay…)

  • Jonathan K.

    I believe things happen for a reason. I was put in this position (bullied out of a job & a career) to be given an opportunity to make a real difference. I do NOT give up- ever! I will expose the corruption! I will expose the corrupt individuals! I will make a difference! I will change public education and make it a better place to learn! Honestly, I will-


  • EM

    I am back to work. Back to the same old same old. Back to the bullying, BS tactics. I wish more people would read this. As I said before, I am afraid to put too much more personally identifying information, but I am learning from what everyone else is saying. So, thanks, all.

  • Susan Nunes

    What gets me is the principal who fired me and never followed the law or district procedures or the negotiated agreement was recently moved to the central office to coordinate–get this–the “teacher incentive fund” that includes changes to “performance” evaluations and merit pay schemes. This person, who claimed ignorance at my hearing and never looked at my file, is put in charge of a program that would in practice force senior teachers out, now matter how many “safeguards” are supposed to be in place. The previous superintendent had one sick sense of humor to remove her from a principal job and give her a make-work one, no doubt one of many to come so she can pad her pension instead of being fired like she should have been.

    • Beatriz Abbott

      Susan- are you seeing a therapist about this? You’ve ranted on quite a few separate posts now instead of conglomerating them into one post and it’s concerning to me. Please don’t be afraid to reach out for psychological help. Even if you can’t do anything to find justice in your professional life, it would do you a world of good to find inner peace.

  • Fellow targets,

    Two links: The first is entitled “Almost Psychopaths in the Workplace.” There are, sadly, many “almost psychopath” administrators in education. You probably work for one.

    The other is The Workplace Bullying Institute’s latest data. I love this link because it speaks to my own experience. I needed some help. I simply could not keep myself safe in my former abusive environment. I think you’ll find it helpful too.

    Here are the links:




  • Jonathan K.

    Hey Susan,

    Public Education for teachers is at best, a club. There is a group of people who run the club. If they like you you have a membership & everything that goes with it. If they don’t like you, for whatever reason, you either don’t get in or they force you out!

    But it’s not a CLUB! It’s a publicly funded institution that has rules and guidelines that should be followed. I blame those in charge of those in charge! No one is watching them & they have become runaway trains! They’ve seen the smoke & heard us all yell “FIRE!” Still they do nothing!

    This problem is much bigger than even we know-


  • Susan Nunes

    A “good ol’ boys club” is exactly what it is. How many people do we know got their teaching jobs not because of their qualifications but because of who they knew? This isn’t “networking” but instead an example of unfair practices like nepotism. It was rampant in my old district and rampant in almost all school districts in the United States no matter what measures are taken to curb it.

    When administrators get into trouble, they get bailed out by their school districts and thus taxpayers while teachers’ lives are ruined. It is virtually impossible to fire a principal in this country, while it is very easy to get rid of teachers. Principals and other administrators are held to no standards of accountability.

  • Jonathan K.

    What we have to do is change that- We have to hold administrators accountable! School committees for the most part are a joke. We need a board that investigates claims against administrators and has a list of predetermined punishments by the type of crime committed. The board would have to be part of state government and appointed by the Governor. Paid position and not volunteer. And- candidates must have certain qualifications like a resume that is full of teaching experience and no political connections-


  • TheTRUTH

    At PS41 in Staten Island NY, the PROBLEM with this school is the principal, Elise Feldman. She is the ultimate BULLY. The teachers are very unhappy there strictly because of her. Look at the NYC DOE School Environment Learning Survey. Year after year, this principal gets the worst, if not one of the worst, ratings from the teachers. Yet, nothing is done about it. In the meantime, teachers inform each other on a daily basis of where the principal is each period if they know and they do this out of fear she may pop in and belittle them. She cares nothing about staff or students, just herself. The assistant principal, Adele Carbonella, simply parrots whatever is commanded of her, with no regard for staff or students either. Try to avoid sending your students to this school. You need a school where the principal truly cares. This one does not. She just cares about herself and becoming a media hound with bogus events like the “We are going to college” stunt she pulled last year. If you are a teacher looking for a position, this is the LAST school you would want to get a job at. Again, look at the NYC DOE School Learning Environment Survey. It says it all.

  • JJ

    I submitted a comment along with my name e-mail address; however, it did not show up. BUMMER! What happened?

  • Susan Nunes

    It was bad enough reading in the Reno paper about the principal who fired me becoming a TIF grant “coordinator” and not being held accountable for her actions. I have a story that is even worse. The principal prior to the last one I had, who harassed me for refusing to carry out his illegal request to put my sped kids on alternate testing and was demoted last year to teacher because of alleged sexual misconduct with a subordinate, has also been moved around. He is now an “implementation specialist,” a make-work job for lousy administrators or former administrators, and he had a big write-up in today’s Reno paper about his opinion on public school uniforms, which with any luck at all will be made illegal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It’s a scandal these people are allowed jobs for life.

  • JJ

    It is obvious principals and their assistants need to be held to the same high standards and scrutiny as teachers. Teachers have several or are supposed to have several administrator drop-ins for evaluations. Of course, those favored teachers or the ones in the ‘Club” don’t have their required drop-ins needed to access their teaching ability. Administrators need to be held accountable for bullying some staff while favoring others.
    Administrators end-of-the year evaluations are a joke. They are not private if done on the computer as my principal and the assistant were logging onto mine daily. This lack of privacy keeps staff fearful of negative action if their honest opinion is aired.
    There are individuals appointed to oversee principals; however, those principals without integrity, just charm them also.
    I agree, a committee would be beneficial along with complaints being filed and reviewed yearly then action taken against administrators who choose to continue bullying and favoring.
    Again, thank you for this site.

  • Jonathan K.

    Patrick Henry was one of us!

    “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

    -Patrick Henry

  • Jonathan K.

    I am all for “transparency”, which is accountability-


  • WB

    UPDATE: My husband is “trying” to teach kindergarten! He did NOT get another position (we’re not sure if it is due to bad references from the principal or from the District H.R. dept. or both); so the union rep suggested he start out the year teaching the kindergarten class (which he is not qualified for) while the rep. tried to find another placement for him. We’re two weeks into the school year and he’s still in the kindergarten class and ready to pull out what little hair he has left. The rep. hasn’t had the time necessary to give my husband the assistance he needed. Why? BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER TEACHERS IN THE DISTRICT DEALING WITH THE SAME CR*P! It’s like an epidemic. My husband has seniority in the District (out of several thousand teachers, he is in the top (probably) 50 as far as length of service. They do whatever they can to these long-term teachers to make them retire early. Benefit is that they then can’t collect their full retirement AND the younger teachers are cheaper. Win, win for the district. The teachers? Not so much! My husband says he’s going to retire next year at just over 60% of his salary! He can’t take any more of this stuff emotionally! I’m not sure I can either since I have to live with him. Big question then is: how do we pay the bills?

  • Jonathan K.

    “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.


  • Jonathan K.

    A thumbs down for a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. ???

  • Jennifer Allen

    HOW DOES ONE FIGHT NEPOTISM WHEN A SCHOOL’S PRINCIPAL IS THE DAUGHTER OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THAT SAME COUNTY? 2 weeks into the new school year in a school in Levy county, FL brings excitement, anticipation, and concerns. Veteran teachers, who are in the FL Drop program seem to be the target of Chiefland Elementary school’s principal, Angel Thomas. Principals, at their discretion, can reassign teachers to teach different grade levels. A 30 year teaching veteran received a parent complaint after being accused by a first grader of allegedly saying, “This is something that should have been taught in Kindergarten.” The veteran teacher was told that she was being reassigned to teach Kindergarten. The superintendent, Robert Hastings, made a surprise visit to reiterate the principal’s decision to move the teacher. Is that protocol? Other teachers have volunteered to move to the “newly needed” Kindergarten position, but were told “No”. Prior to the alleged incident, no mention of the need for a Kindergarten teacher was ever presented to the first grade veteran teacher or her colleagues. The principal, Angel Thomas, is related to several faculty members as well. An impromptu meeting was held where no union representative was present and the parent and principal were overbearing and hostile towards the teacher. Teachers take even abuse on a daily basis from students, overzealous parents, biased administrators, and despicable media depiction, who is fighting for the educators?

  • Jonathan K.

    The only way to “make it stop” is by winning some law suits. Once these “corrupt administrators” see their peers undressed publicly and then lose their jobs and their ability to obtain employment- they’ll stop! That is the only way-



    Trying to support you. This is my third try. I have gotten error mesage twice, been lost in cyber space when trying to hit enter. I had to reenter my NAME and email address. I am trying to tell you that I feel you have been targeted – right here on the anti bullying blog. “Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?” You have been here from the beginning, reading all comments, replying even to the ones that you felt were less important, (my lunch room critique, for one)… When we only had a few comments, you, me and Kim were here. I lost my nerve when we went public, for fear of being targeted. You did not lose your nerve, and now you are getting the thumbs down. I notice you have only recently gotten the thumbs downs, so it is some new comer, who has not bothered to read all of the older posts, who does not realize that you have been here, supporting us as we trudge back to school. Maybe your old principal has found his way to this site? Or maybe it’s just some racist bigot? I am going to copy and paste this commnet on Kim’s website, in case it does not make it onto this site. You are appreciated. Don’t let the thumbs downs stop you. It’s election time, and people are being taught that it’s ok to attack, criticize, and disrespect the opposition. If they can do it anonomously, it’s even better for them, so it plants a seed of doubt in the mind of the recipient! Don’t stop supporting us, we need you, brave teacher! Keep standing up for us, even when we lose our courage. We have been infiltrated. Let’s get some more support. Can I get a witness?


    Thanks for the links to the articles. I had chills and the hair on the back of my neck was standing up as I read “Almost Pysychopaths”. Why? Because I have been on the receiving end for so long and so insidiously that I began to believe that what they (the bullies, the bully followers, those who PLAY the game well enough to not get bullied)… are saying and doing is right. As I talk about it to others, I feel that they benefit from my experience, while at the same time, I fear I am digging myself deeper into a hole. I have been told I WILL NOT WIN, so I should learn to play the game. I have been told that it’s not that I don’t know how, not that I don’t seem smart enough, but that I flat out refuse to play the game. I’ve been busted for telling the truth. AND TOLD by a jury of my peers, “YOU will NOT win”. This, from people higher up in the system, and with more “saavy”, smoothness and more expensive clothes, shoes, jewelry. You know the ones who WILL WIN. WHO have already won! I have already lost so much, I don’t want to lose my job. The crazy part is that I have never had a BAD evaluation. It’s all been behind the scenes. That’s why when my previous two comments were not entered in the last hour, and I had to reenter my name, and email address, I wimped out and put a fake name. I have been on here for months, under a different name, but live in fear. In GRATITUDE…

  • Jonathan K.

    That’s how bullies work- INTIMIDATION! Resist the urge to be intimidated!

    Many years ago I was on a job site and a bully kept diggin’ on me, the new guy. After about two weeks of his nonsense I had had enough-

    I called him out in front of 12 of his peers- I won’t get into specifics, but I offered a physical confrontation and he was to have a weapon (hammer). I then promised him I would be the one to end the confrontation-

    In front of 12 of his peers he nearly shi- himself! A COWARD HE WAS! That’s what bullies are- COWARDS! Remember that.

    Stand up, be counted, & KEEP POSTING!

  • I think, for me, this is the most important piece of all of this: that I am not alone. There are so many of us; so many voices of past, present and, sadly, future targets of workplace abuse in schools that it feels surreal that there is so much attention to keeping children safe from bullying without addressing employee safety from the same. Bullied and abused people are bullied and abused people. Doesn’t matter if they are five or 55. The effects of the onslaught of bullying…and the not being kept safe by those entrusted to do so–whether adults in schools for our children or superintendents of school districts for employees–have devastating physical effects.

    For those of you still in the midst of your personal hells at your schools, I say this again. You must be safe. If your unions and your school districts are not keeping you safe, you must do so for yourselves. That will include getting out of places of abuse. Again, the way I got out–the way I protected myself–was to take a medical leave.

    I think most of the participants here who “stuck it out” until they were let go or chose to retire against their wishes, or any other awful thing that happens to us targets, would agree that there is no way it will ever get better with our abusers “around the corner”–especially once we are perceived as threats by those district supported abusers

    There really is no good and perfect way to protect yourself. But, still, you must.

    I again invite anyone who wants to communicate in private to email me. I do not have answers, really. I do, however, have an open and willing heart to listen.


  • montgomery county maryland abuse victim

    I agree 100% with everything Kim Werner just shared. It is imperative that you, the the bully’s target, get out. This is particularly true if the bully is your superior. When I left my school to go on medical leave, I was very injured emotionally and physically. I have spent months in therapy trying to work through it all. I had nightmares and felt extreme anxiety. I started at a new school this year and it is a wonderful school with very nice staff, parents and students. The administrators in this school are professional, kind, hard working, and they have high expectations for all, including themselves. A school can run quite efficiently without abuse. I felt the difference as soon as I walked through the door. Still, I am so injured by what I went through at my last school, that I find myself anxious and trying to do everything perfectly – it is exhausting.
    Kim Werner is giving you very important information as far as leaving the abusive environment. Find a way to leave asap.
    I am very sorry for all of the people who are still in their abusive environments, but you can get through this.
    Please do everything you can to leave your school and be placed in another. More often than not, the new placement will be better than the last.
    Kim, thank you for being there for everyone.
    To Joe Schmo, our union reps were the ones who told us “you will never win”………How do you like that? Many teachers from our school asked them for help. They knew exactly the abuse that was occurring in our school and the response was always the same, “you will never win”.
    Has NEA made any effort to address this issue? Where is Arne Duncan in all of this? Dept of Ed. held a big summit on bullying in the schools and folded anti bullying laws into their Office of Civil Rights (OCR). I believe the new laws pertain to child on child bullying. But, why should there be any bullying whatsoever in a school setting? The asst secretary to Arne Duncan for OCR is Ms. Ali. Anyone interested should call the Dept of Ed in Washington D.C. and ask for Ms. Ali’s office.
    Jonathan, you are so right. The way that this will stop is with lawsuits. I don’t like to think in these terms, but I think you are exactly right. What a shame. We should be focusing on our children, and here we are. As far as the profession; how does the Dept. of Ed. think they will improve education with all of this happening right under their noses. We can barely attract young people into this profession as it is. I hope Arne Duncan and NEA open their eyes soon and get honest with themselves and address what is going on in American schools. NEA, just do the right thing, not what’s comfortable for you and your cocktail, convention friends but do what is right, honest, and fair for children, parents and staff in our schools.

  • Jonathan K.

    My first year in teaching a wise man told me “Education is a business. Remember that-”

    I had no idea what he meant. As a student I never thought of my High School as a place where money and deals took precedent over education, but I don’t believe at 17-18 years of age many of us were aware of it then. Today’s students aren’t either. And as a result so many things have remained hidden.

    I’m happy that the “dark ages” of education are having some light shined on it. It was needed badly.

    Anxiety, depression, physical ills- it’s all a result of being a “battered teacher”. At times I could hear George Kennedy telling me “Stay down Luke! Stay down!” I just kept getting up…

    I’m not about to run from my battle now. I have decided I was carefully chosen (if you believe in that sort of thing) to be one of the few who fights the good fight and changes the way business is done as it relates to education in public schools in the United States.

    I passionately embrace my role as spokesman for “battered teachers” everywhere-


  • Montgomery County-

    I felt the same way when I started at my new school. I was an emotionally bruised and battered woman entering a “new relationship”: my new school. It felt more like I was tap-dancing on eggshells than walking on them.

    It’s taken me some time to trust. But here is what I am most trusting in now: my own sense of decency and honor. I am grateful for that.

    I know–better written: I KNOW!–you have the same kind of trust. I think all of us communicating here have that at the very least. And now we know–better written: WE KNOW!–that there are many others who have that trust in themselves…even through the outrage and suffering workplace bullying brings. For some of us, myself included, it’s taken that brutal emotional beating to find that out about ourselves.

    You have asked important and crucial questions. Where is leadership on this issue? Are we it? As an Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer–and I write this with great sadness–I KNOW the nationally recognized efforts at keeping children safe from bullying will never truly happen for our children without effective and courageous leadership.

    Maybe we–those of us courageously communicating here–are it.

    kimwerner@ apiecefullworld.com

  • Susan Nunes

    Well, it’s pretty hard to “get out” if the central office targets you for removal for the most bogus of reasons after you “got out” of a bad working situation but the central office had utterly no clue of the reason for the move.

    Once you are targeted, your career is essentially over. Even if you “win” one of those bogus due process hearings, you will have a target on your back for the rest of your career at that particular employer. You will have to have access to an outside lawyer to be able to keep your job.

    There is NO equivalent in the private sector.

    BTW, education is NOT a “business.” It can’t be run on a business model because there is no profit motive involved. The privatizers are trying to change this, of course, with taxpayers being forced to pay for it.

  • Susan Nunes

    The problem with the lawsuit angle is that you have to find an attorney willing to take your case. This is next to impossible because few of them want to spend years and years in the court system fighting for a teacher, as school districts will drag the cases out for years on end, hoping the teacher will be starved into a settlement for a pittance. I found it impossible to find an attorney to take my case even though I could have sued in both state and federal court. A negligence claim would have been my best shot because the district clearly WAS negligent in handling my situation. School districts have their tentacles in every aspect of their communities. Few teachers have the money to sue, and very few ever make it to a jury trial. If they do that, districts can get judges or appellate courts to throw the awards out.

  • Susan,

    Have you checked out the Kemp Mill ES case? That group of teachers found an attorney–and a good one. I honestly feel like that case, because it will go to a jury trial (am I right Montgomery County?), speaks for all of us.

    I think I am going to go…. Ah, now that would be cool! A courtroom filled with bullied teachers from across the nation…

    Here’s the link to the case:


  • Yes, there are millions of stories about teacher abuse but we need a plan of action to stop this all around the country. Litigation is needed so that this type of behavior is very expensive for school districts. I personally feel this is partially directed at teaching since it is a female dominated profession that doesn’t get any professional respect. We have to approach this issue examining all the areas of discrimination and build our case.

  • My fellow bullied targets:

    I have decided to attend the Kemp Mill ES trial in Washington. I have an invitation to stay with a plaintiff in the case. And you have the same invitation. Please send me an email if you too would like to attend.

    I believe this is our opportunity. Carpe Diem.


  • bullied at Montgomery county public Schools

    Bullies’ Brains Light Up With Pleasure as People Squirm

    This is an article for National Geographic
    My story is I was bullied out of job at a high School in Montgomery county public schools. It took them seven years of observing me constantly without cause. FIrst their complaints were with my student satisfaction then I created a surveys to monitor my performance. Then they said it was parent dissatisfaction. Parents started writing letters to my principals stating how pleased they were with my work. Then they started complaining about my office set up, stating it was not conducive to student learning. I immediately changed the configurations and sent our surveys to ALL my students asking for their opinions. My students said they loved my office. I presented this information to my principal she retorted but you didn’t ask them about your counseling skills. Then she wrote me up because I did not respond to one of my assistant administrator’s email in a ‘timely’ fashion. I work with 10 other counselors so I would constantly consult with them with everything I did. They would openly tell me they never respond to emails from that AP. I was written up for not attending IEP meetings. At our school our resource manager would give us permission to not attend IEP meeting because we were writing college recommendation letters. Among my 11 other colleagues I had the most seniors. As, such I would have one two months to write 76 letters while meeting maintaining my caseload of juniors, sopmores,freshmen. Then as I was comparing my situation to my other colleagues. 8 of them told me ” oh yeah I haven’t attended any IEP meetings either. I was too swamped writing letters. I asked them did they receive a write up. They laughed. I went to my principal and resource counselor and asked why would you wait to write me up. Why would you not just tell me Hey, I need to you attend these meetings. Why would you wait until the end of the year. If one of my students was doing something I perceived wrong I would not wait until they year was over I would tell him immediately. A little story about my principal, I filed an administrative complaint against my previous principal. He has many complaints against him but MCPS promoted him to community superitendant=interesting. Well my new principal is his best friend and neighbor. One of my administrators who retired and then took a job in another county told me He was a Bully, thus she resigned to get the hell out of there. She calls MCPS the bed of dysfunction.
    So I alerted Office of compliance of my concern. When I alerted her my principal called a meeting and told ALL the counselors. She does take kindly to people investigating her school. I had a private meeting with her and shared with her my complaint was not against her but the previous admin. Her response. A complaint against the previous admin is a complaint against her and the school Brand.
    What happened next, with she placed me in par despite receiving excellent eval from the consulting teacher and personal letters written to her from many of my parents. By the way the letters never made it to my school folder.
    So you see NEA, MCPS operates on the buddy system. But I can tell you this MCPS is heading for a big crash! just like what happened with Penn state. There are too many brazen principals and incompetent MCEA staff. I would tell people to join other unions. Why do we have to support MCEA, I wrote rebuttals to everything my principal wrote nobody read them but more importantly nobody cared. The office of compliance never read them. HOw do you do an investigation without reading the concerns of both parties.
    Why are principal tenured or new exempt from eval by staff and parents. Even the president of the united States has to be voted in.
    I pursued hiring a lawyer but with my husband would not let me take money away from our childrens’ college funds.
    Now I am working in a new school where my principal is training me to be a principal? My strengths are constantly celebrated and my administrators are wonderful. But I knew my skills were good. At MCPS if you keep saying something bad about an employee, people start to believe it.
    Please let me know if they are others like me so we can join causes and pursue a class action suit against MCPS
    I know I will do anything I can to support the lawsuit that the KEMP MILLs educators. If they win we all win if they lose we all lose.
    THey will WIN!

  • Jonathan K.


    “Education is a business”. When a Superintendent can manipulate a salary of well over $160,000 and Principals are receiving similar, there is a huge profit that is being swallowed up by the administrators in charge. Although records are supposed to be public, there have been many school districts that cannot get requested records and state investigators have had to be called in.

    They may be called “Superintendents”, but in reality they are CEOs. With million dollar budgets and very few checks and balances, no one but the top ranking administrators know where the money is actually going.

    There’s a “myth” of what is and is not a business. Any institution that takes in millions of dollars and is responsible for the distribution of that funding is a business. And in any business there is the problem of “misappropriation of funds”.

    When a school makes a settlement offer with a teacher or a student and his or her family, the funding comes out of somewhere in the budget. Usually the Superintendent (CEO) determines how much and where he takes that expense from. Since the budget does not include “hush money fund” he or she hides that expense. I believe the easiest place to “snag” a bully is on budgetary matters, more specifically “misappropriation of funds”.

    Believe it or not “education is a business”. The better teachers, those who truly care about the futures of their students, are fewer in numbers than those who are there for the salary, the health insurance, the retirement, and the summers off. To keep their jobs these individuals join the Superintendents army. It’s a “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” army, but in the end the Superintendent and his army get what they’re after- MONEY! (oh yeah it’s a business!)

  • Susan Nunes

    Public education (and most private education) is NOT a business, so quit calling it that. Businesses exist because of the profit motive, while education serves as a public good. There is NO profit involved which drives it. Public education isn’t a business. There is corruption, but there is corruption everywhere in society.

    That’s another difference between public education and the private sector. If you are a supervisor in business, and you are a threat to the bottom line, you are booted out of the organization. Not true in public education unless you are caught red-handed committing crimes. You are moved around to other supervisory (principal/administrative) jobs or demoted or even moved to the central office and allowed to pad your pension. This in general doesn’t exist in private sector work though CEOs and the like to operate on a different standard.

    The bottom line aspect is what separates public education from private business. Because there is no bottom line to worry about, school districts can starve teachers into resigning or retiring early or drag out lawsuits for years on end. This doesn’t happen in private sector wrongful terminations.

  • Susan Nunes

    Jonathan, you have swallowed the Broad Academy nonsense hook, line, and sinker.

    The privatizers KNOW public ed isn’t a business, but now they want to operate it as such by forcing charters and privatizing the whole system so they can make a ton of money off of the taxpayers. This is why privatization efforts are failing; public ed isn’t a business and cannot be run on business models.

    What you described in your post is merely corruption; it has nothing to do with the basic difference between public education and private businesses. They operate differently and are subject to completely different sets of rules. You have an entire branch of law, administrative law, that pertains only to public sector work, and not private sector at all.

  • Jonathan K.

    You’re missing the point-

    “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

    Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916) may have coined the phrase when he wrote “when I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.”

    Education at its worst may be a “corrupt business”, but it’s still a business!

    KEEP POSTING! (and stop arguing with your allies!)

  • Teachbaby

    To. : That Teacher: regarding your PDP plan. In phila, depending on your years of service number , you are either placed in a prof dev year or an observation year. It’s the contract. We all have to do the PDP plan if we fall into a PDP year. FYI

  • Susan Nunes

    It’s not a business. End of argument. The “reformers” have as their goal to turn education into a business. That is completely against the mission of public education.

    I am going to leave it here because there is no point stating what is fact. Individual administrators abusing the system doesn’t change that fact.

    I have worked in both sectors. Apples and oranges.

  • TheTRUTH

    I think more teachers need to “out” their principal/supervisor by NAMING the principal, school, and city (as I did). So many sad stories but I don’t see many names. I think many are still afraid which I can understand but 1)YOu can post with a fake name and 2) Most who are posting are no longer under the bully’s thumb.
    I say let’s make them as public as possible! It’s not a solution but it’s a start!

  • Jonathan K.

    Susan- I’ll agree to disagree, but that’s it-

    “The “reformers” have as their goal to turn education into a business.” is what you stated.

    Well, guess what? Many have done it! It is our goal to stop it.

    I agree it shouldn’t be a business, but they have turned it into one. As soon as you can understand that, the sooner you will be better equipped to deal with the corruption.

    “Misappropriation of funds” is where we can get ’em!


  • Jonathan K.

    AND I WAS #500!


  • This information you shared was so helpful and we are losing top Teachers that are being bullied right out of their professions.
    We need to protect any kind of School Official, Parent, Staff and especially our children when coming forward on reporting school policies and unlaw treatment to others. Immediate consequences, accountablility should take place, besides restitution and written/public apologies should take place.
    People should step down and recalls need to take place within seconds of these corrupt PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR AND CONTINUED ABUSE IN OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS.

    Youtube: Bullyingwarrior
    Facebook: Bullyingwarrior
    Facebook: Bullying Teachers and Principals
    Twitter: Bullyingwarrior

  • Susan Nunes

    I understand that perfectly. You are talking about what is currently happening while I am talking about the fact public ed isn’t a business by definition.

    Two completely different things. I am perfectly aware of the attempts to turn public ed into a cash cow for hedge fund crooks, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and all of the rest.

  • Jonathan K.


  • Jane D.

    This is an extremely debilitating problem as well as the reason schools are not reaching their full potential. It would be beneficial for any organization with merit to critically address the appalling problem of teacher on teacher and administrator bullies. When teachers and administrators have no regard for another adult human being one can only imagine how they would treat a child! I am a teacher and have worked in a toxic environment for numerous years. We have watched how teachers are targeted, their classes “stacked”, supplies disappear, and obstacles are created to ensure their demise. Excuses are made stating “their lazy, they are a trouble maker, or there are no classroom management strategies being utilized”. Generally this is not he case. It is just, BULLYING!
    Is there anyone that can help? Will this major dilemma ever be addressed? I know my district has not addressed it because, “if you don’t like your job we can help you leave”.- my administrator’s quote every year during faculty meetings

  • Jonathan K.

    I was a victim of too large a class with no help. No supplies or tools in my shop either. Somehow they all disappeared… And the other two teachers were trying to write up as many of my students as possible in order to have a paper trail, but I stood in there, chin to chin when I had to! I made “lemonade” when I had to and kept my students engaged at all times! It really pissed them off that I could still be an effective teacher! No one was there to help- No one is there now. All you can do is hire a Lawyer and go after them!


  • JJ

    Jane and Jonathan, I agree. When I was bullied, supplies did change. OH,gee. I was given supplies but they were cheap pencils from the dollar store that went from full length to less than 2 inches at one trip to the classroom pencil sharpener with me doing the sharpening, dollar store crayons that weren’t as bright as others, glue sticks that were hard when uncapped, tape that wouldn’t stay on and was difficult to get off the roll, and scissors that would not cut without tearing the paper while those ‘Favored” teachers were always given the best. They were allowed to have the nice, number 2 pencils used during assessments where bubbles are filled in exactly.
    My duty was 5 minutes longer than all the other staff members and administrators checked to make sure I was on time when other teachers did not show up at all or went to their duty just before it ended. I watched this happen on a daily basis.
    I still am amazed at the childish, unprofessional, retalitory behavior my administrators engaged in as a result of my talks with the wonderful union representative who helped as much as he could.
    Keep the site up, please. It’s so refreshing to read and see we’re not alone.

  • Jonathan K.

    J.J.- You’re never alone!


  • TheTRUTH

    Names people…if you can. Let’s name these animals so that you may perhaps, even if the chances are extremely low, help warn a potential new teacher or a teacher thinking about transferring to said school.
    I can only dream of having been warned prior to taking a position at PS41 in Staten Island, NY with principal Elise Feldman.

  • Abused for too long

    AMS in Aldine in Houston, tx needs to be investigated. If someone would put a zero tolerance “principals bullying teachers and treating staff unprofessionally” policy in effect, these incompetent principals wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    I’ve found that for principals who don’t know what they are doing, it’s simply easier to bully teachers and attempt to make them believe everything is their fault instead of sucking it up and saying “I’ve created this toxic environment where teachers don’t want to come to work, where teachers are faced with unnecessary health issues, where students are allowed to run wild (fight, curse teachers out, cheat, etc.), and where turnover will continue to increase.


    Dear the Truth,
    Is that like – the situation? I have been saying that I am afraid “they” will “somehow” get my real name even if I do post under a fictitious name. A LOT of us are saying that. AS IN, posts are not showing up if you write something bad about the NEA?
    Jonathan and Susan,
    Thanks for agreeing to disagree. I do think it is a business, and ATHLETICS is the main player. You know… the coaches stroll in with their starbucks, have so much planning, and are so well loved by the good ole boys. (and gals). I just had to throw in my vote for whether it is a business or not, but let’s try to keep the political opinions to a minumum, can we? After all, we can go to Facebook for that… I am thinking of boycotting facebook til after the election. I wish WE could boycott SCHOOL like back in the 60’s. That’s one reason they can get away with bulling us. (We can’t strike)… The other one is (Sorry People), most of us can not afford to “get out”. What am I going to do, be a greeter at Wal-Mart? I was not planning to do that til I retire, any way..
    I think it is a government run business… All I know is you would not believe the amount of stuff that was THROWN IN THE TRASH, as many teachers were forced to move without any notice, so the new Principal could rearrange the layout. I almost barfed as I waLKED PAST PILES OF BOOKS, entire reading series, all kinds of stuff. Perfectly good, useable supplies… We have 2 giant boxes of sweaters, clothes, jackets… Those are out in the back hall. I do not know what they are watiing for, but they must have been messing up the school rooms… (The jackets and sweaters are for when we are freezing in our rooms, cafeteria, etc, – you know how it is either boiling hot or freezing.. why can’t they ever get it right?) $$$$$$$ in the trash. We were told to get rid of clutter, to make the rooms attractive and conducive to learning, so everyone trashed it all. If you don’t get rid of it, you will be accused of having a cluttered room, then your pay check will decrease, because your students will fail – and it will be all your fault! Talk about government waste. .

  • Jonathan K.

    My son asked me if I would be humiliated if I got a job as an exit checker at BJ’s- I didn’t know what to say except “In this economy it’s a job-” I can see myself wearing a full apron and cruising the isles at Home Depot though…

    I often wonder even if we win our lawsuits will we get jobs in education? Or, will we be branded as too strong and too threatening? I believe win or lose my career in education is over- I’m interested in your opinions- What do you think?


  • Susan Nunes

    Neither one of the two principals who helped to derail or kill my career is currently a principal. One is an “implementation specialist” while the other one is a TIF grant “coordinator.” Both failures will keep being moved from job to job to job in order to pad their pensions.

  • one of the many abused teachers in Montgomery County Maryland

    I agree with “The Truth”. So many educators are reading these comments and it would be helpful, for all concerned, to know which schools to avoid.
    Many of our counties/school districts have climate surveys. I can’t find where Montgomery County posted theirs for last year. Doug Prouty, if you are reading this, can you please post a comment regarding where last school year’s (2011-2012) climate surveys can be found?
    In summary of what everyone is writing, there seems to be NO principal accountability. If we must pay dues to NEA, then we should expect NEA to encourage principal accountability. Instead, NEA, or in my case, MCEA, is so busy collaborating with administration that they have forgotten the very people, their dues-paying members, who are providing them with their paycheck. I think collaboration is great, but you are being payed, by us to represent us. Your first priority should be to your members, NOT to administration. Further, and I direct this specifically to MCEA, no good teacher wants an ineffective teacher in the classroom, but your PAR process is not being used to improve, nor eliminate ineffective teachers. Rather, your PAR process is being used by abusive principals to target educators that they just don’t like.
    You are working with the Dept. of Ed to spread the PAR process across the country, but the PAR process is terribly flawed and it is being used in a punitive and abusive manner. In Montgomery County, you can be a phenomenal teacher and be placed on PAR. I’ve known teachers with many years of stellar evaluations and they have been placed on PAR. In fact, a few years ago, we lost a wonderful teacher who had just been awarded the Agnes Meyer, Teacher of the Year Award to a neighboring county because she was placed on PAR by a new principal who did not appreciate the teacher.
    In conclusion, before you come to Montgomery County Maryland, do a lot of research. If you end up with and abusive principal, MCEA will do nothing to help you.

  • Yaya

    I have been a victim of bulling by my ex-principal for 4 years. It happens very similar to the case of the Teacher from Augusta, Main. My doctor told me to change my job or that I would have a heart attack or a stroke. Now because of bad reviews i can renew my certification. I am a National Board Teacher with a Doctoral Degree in lingüística, but acording to the Principal that does not know anything about Language, I didn’t know What I was doing. who so U have to contact at NEA to get some advice. I am a GAE Member (15 years) and about to change to a different organizations. I need help.
    Thank You,

  • Susan Nunes

    Simply avoid Washoe County School District in Nevada. Hopelessly corrupt and the board is hellbent on putting in Eli Broad types to further mess it up.

  • RVG

    ISD #622, a suburban district in the Twin Cities, MN, is corrupt from the top down, i.e. the school board, the superintendent, the director of H.R., the director of special education, and virtually all of the principals. The union is scared of administration–doesn’t want to “offend” them. Older and/or experienced teachers are being forced out with faked poor performance reviews and anyone that speaks out against what is going on finds their position “eliminated”. Everything is about power and control by a group of “almost psychopaths”. DON’T WORK FOR THESE PEOPLE! You will lose your soul and your mental health.

  • Jonathan K.

    Three years ago I thought it was just happening to me. And that’s what they wanted me to believe. I was deeply depressed thinking I had let my family down at first and then I sucked it up and decided to stand up for myself and file- Now, with all the people on here telling their stories I feel so much stronger- I’m not alone. I’m going after them and I WILL get them. They deserve it. I still have my moments, but I am very confident the administrators and teachers involved will be investigated, found guilty, and punished according to the law.


  • There just is no stopping this conversation. It’s like a magnet and I am drawn back daily. To “one of the many abused teachers in Montgomery County, Maryland”, I WILL be at the Kemp Mill trial. The issues surrounding those teachers’ awful experience in your district mirror my experience in my district. It’s the same tired story of support from school boards and superintendents of abusive principals.

    I am delighted the Kemp Mill ES case will be heard by a jury. For those just joining this conversation–go through the comments. There are at least two links to the Kemp Mill Es case. I have an invitation from one of the plaintiffs to stay with her. You have the same invitation.

    I would really like to know more about Montgomery County’s efforts to keep children safe from bullying. I find such irony in the nation’s attention to this issue. It’s clear to me that children are not safe in these toxic environments of workplace bullying. How can they be? I don’t care that a school received an “A.” That “A” comes at a price of fear and intimidation.

    I’ve experienced it. And not just for myself, but for others–adults AND children. I’ve seen my former principal screaming inches from children’s faces. “SHUT UP!” I’ve routinely seen children cowering in corners–many in tears–of the main office of that school. Routinely. That’s how he “disciplined” children.

    I’ve also seen him throw parents out. “THIS IS MY SCHOOL! GET OUT!” he once screamed at a parent who said back, “This is not just your school, this is my school and my son’s school too.” Little children were going to class. I honestly froze in horror that day.

    My question then, and probably to Arne Duncan…..How Mr. Duncan, will we ever truly keep children safe in schools with the epidemic of bullying and abusive schools’ leadership? I hope you are reading this. I hope, I hope, I hope…..


  • D.M.H

    I was unfortunate to hire into a unhealthy building. I saw things and was told things by and from the principal that made me uncomfortable. Then it became my turn. One of the senior teachers to me said “oh I see it is your turn just get through it the best you can she will eventually move onto someone else then it won’t be your turn for a while.” I tried to move from the building but the principal got wind and said things I ended up leaving the district all together. This district has strong policies for bullying and intimidation for students but nothing for employees. Everyone deserves protection.


    I was given an older model computer (again), since I was made to move into a portable. They are afraid the computer will be stolen, so I lost the good computer I fought for two years to get. My older model, (that doesn’t access all the latest things we are required to use, like google calendar, eforms, etc.), caused me to waste 25 minutes today. After redoing my iep page and submitting it on a kids computer in the computer lab, I reported to the ESE contact what had happened. She told me to tell the AP that my computer does not work. I told her and she said, “take what you get, I do not have any money”. Note: The AP DID say, “I do not have any money”, like it’s HER personal money…How am I supposed to do my job, when a 5 minute task ends up taking 1/2 hour?

  • TheTRUTH

    JOE SHMOE, one of the many problems indeed is we are not supplied with what we need to do our jobs, which usually includes things that no teacher should be doing anyway. I have no printer in my room so I spent a pack of copy paper and an ink cartridge printing out IEPs from my home.
    Anyway, what’s really important is that I’ve made a decision last week which will alleviate the horrors of teaching for the NYC DOE…I’M SEARCHING FOR ANOTHER JOB! I’m quitting the second I find something else which will allow me to sustain a halfway decent living. I’m done, I’m out, end of story. It’s just a matter of time for me. It may take a few months or even a year, but no more will I have to hold in my pee until my prep of lunch. No more rubrics, checklists, post-its, lesson planning, strategy charts, differentiation, collaborative team-teaching, parents in denial, lazy kids, abusive administration, and no more IEPs!!!!!

  • RVG

    Three cheers for you, TheTRUTH!!! I just spent an hour printing out IEPs and curriculum using my own paper and ink because the printer doesn’t work at school and I have no curriculum, so I have to make my own. It seems that in special education we are always told to “make do” and criticized if we aren’t getting our due process paperwork done on time or lessons taught to lazy kids with demanding parents that complain to abusive administrators that take it out on us. I wish you the best in finding another job where you are appreciated and can go to the bathroom whenever you want to! Keep us posted!!

  • Jonathan K.

    Does anyone have to wonder why enrollment in public schools is down and private schools is up? If you have money or are willing to spend what you have on your children’s education, private school becomes the only option if you want your kids to have a chance- How are the kids of today who are in public schools going to compete in the global economy? They’re being set up for failure-


  • Susan Nunes

    Private school enrollment isn’t up–charters have cut into traditional private schools.

  • Susan Nunes

    No reason for the thumbs down, people. It’s true. Traditional private schools have NOT benefited from “reform”; they are losing enrollment to charter schools, which of course are private schools that get public money.

  • TheTRUTH

    Thank you RVG! I’m just hoping it won’t take a year or two. I don’t think I can even last that long. The paperwork is more and more every year, and this year it’s really over the top (as any teacher knows). As a Special Ed. teacher, it’s just that much worse too.

    Susan, that’s unfortunate, and surprising, to hear. Apparently there are plenty of parents who are not doing their homework. If they did, their children would be in a “regular” private school and not a charter school (assuming money is not an issue).

    They’ll learn the hard, though it may be too late. If and when private schools begin to seriously mimic charter and public schools, home-schooling will be the only option left (not to say that’s a bad thing but it will not be practical for many households with working parents).

    One thing for sure, sending your child to a public school now a days is child abuse, academically-speaking. The word as of late is that CEOs, etc. are wondering what they hell is going on with these young “graduates”. Apparently the once-simple process of writing is a major issue and company big-wigs are wondering what they hell “we” are teaching these kids.

  • one of the many abused teachers in Montgomery County Maryland

    The Truth: I have heard the same thing about today’s high school grads. In fact, many universities/colleges now have special tutoring programs to help students improve their writing skills. It seems that the trend is to pass students on to the next grade level, no matter what. When many of our high school grads arrive at their colleges, they are lost.
    We spend so much time teaching to THE TEST that we are failing in producing well-rounded, articulate graduates.
    What about good citizens? Does anyone have time to explicitly instruct regarding character or leadership? I try very hard to integrate character building into my lessons, but that’s not part of our curriculum in Montgomery County anymore.
    Are there any explicit lessons on bully prevention?
    Our educational system is hanging by a thread, and it’s not because of the “bad teachers”. No, NEA, look at the system. Look at what NCLB and Race to the Top has/is encouraging in our schools. NOT a pretty picture.
    I am a staunch Democrat, but shame on Arne Duncan, the education committees on Capitol Hill and the unions for allowing all of this to go on right under their noses.
    It should be required that our lawmakers and politicians spend a week in the classroom to see the damage they are causing for our children in this country. Our children don’t have another political perch to fly to after all is said and done.

  • Jonathan K.

    At least around these parts, public high school enrollment numbers are down and private high school enrollment numbers are up. Of course that does not include K-8.

    If the B-S keeps up I believe public high schools will get fewer in number and you’ll start to see more regional high schools (public).


  • Sonia src says

    Is there anything said about intermediate students bullying teachers? Where the director says conduct is the role of the teacher. Yes, I understand! How about when conduct is damaging and unsafe and a hazard to teacher’s well being?

    I wonder sometimes!

  • JJ

    Now that a number of eye-opening, bullying experiences teachers have be through are posted on this site, how do we get this information out to the general public so all teachers can be informed and know when they are a target then use these comments to let those “Powers that be” become aware that we’re on top of the mistreatment and so are many others?

    In the past, when a complaint was aired, we were thought of as someone odd as none of this had ever happened to any other teacher. RIGHT!

    This bullying of teachers has been going on for several years and it needs to stop. Admininstrators need to be exposed and held accountable.

  • Susan Nunes

    The Cato Institute of all places noted that charter school enrollment has had a devastating impact on private schools, especially Catholic schools:


    At least I can back up my assertion. It only makes sense that if charter schools don’t charge tuition, they would siphon off enrollment from private schools.

  • Very True

    I have been there and I am still there. I have looked for other jobs, but never get them. My principal is a bully and no one will stand up to him. Everyone is afraid of him and afraid they will lose their job if they do. I have and all he does is do it more to me. I am discussed with him and the staff.

  • one of the many abused teachers in Montgomery County Maryland

    Dear Very TRue,
    I was in the same boat as you. Do not stand up to him anymore. Get out of your school as soon as you can. The majority of the staff will not back you up because they see what is happening to you for standing up to him. It is a sad situation, because if everyone would stand up to him, it might be a different story. Usually, it is either one or a handful of staff that will keep their integrity and stand up to the bully. You may find it helpful to look at the Workplace Bullying Institute website.
    You are not alone. This happens a lot. If you continue to stand up to him and you remain his target, it will probably cause you great stress and result in serious emotional challenges. This happened to me, and I had to go on sick leave for months. I am still not over what the bully did to me and to my colleagues,and most importantly, how his behavior caused great pain to our student population.
    You should do everything you can to get out of the school you are in.
    Your bully principal isn’t going to change, and he will continue to use you as the example for the rest of the staff.
    Get out of your school as soon as you can.

  • one of the many abused teachers in Montgomery County Maryland

    Dear VERY TRUE,
    GET out of the school you are in and then stand up to your bully principal once you are out of his school.

  • Susan Nunes

    You cannot win, Very True, going up against a principal. Principals have the districts, and, by extension, the taxpayers, backing them up. Colleagues WILL lie in hearings; I know this from personal experience. You can’t trust them at all with supporting you.

    You HAVE to get out of there to save your sanity, to save your career.


    Getting out is the first step. It may not solve your whole problem, though. The Principal
    s talk, and they will talk about you. I got out of a bully Prinicpal job, and am still being abused. Turns out, he was not/is not alone. It keeps coming back to haunt me, but I am trying very hard to stay positive and stay out of toxic situations. Don’t let your emotions rule. Keep documenting, and keep it at home.

  • Susan Nunes

    The truly awful thing is principals can blackball you from working in other schools, in other districts, and, occasionally, in other states. This is unchecked power that is allowed to thrive.

  • Here’s a good question: How do you “get out?” I wasn’t looking to “get out” really. I just knew that if I stayed there I was a goner….I mean an emotional “goner”. I was either going to fold into the ugliness of his lying group or I was outta there. I was either out on his terms–and at that time I did not know how awful it had been for many others–or my own. I now see–and it’s taken two years and attending The Workplace Bullying Institute’s training–that there were no other choices. Staying was not a choice.

    Here’s what worked for me:

    1. I documented. I had so much hard evidence of his and his team’s having lied about what I had said and done, that I think my district had to listen to me. At that time I did not know of all the other educators who had been terrorized by this man. I found that out later. There have been many.

    2. I turned him in formally for bullying and harassment. I used my district’s bullying and harassment reporting form. I am lucky in that my district’s bullying and harassment policy includes not only students, but employees as well.

    3. I sought help. I found a therapist who understood that I was “just fine” and that my messed up emotional state was due to the abuse I’d received at my school by my principal.

    4. I accepted placement at a different school. I was ready to return to work.

    I would not have gotten into a different school without having the hard evidence of lies, the courage to report him, and the willingness to accept an imperfect solution.

    He is, and sadly, still a school leader. My district, it seems, has not had the same courage.

    I hope this helps.


  • Susan Nunes

    The thing is, you can “document” all you want, but nothing will happen to these administrators. Nothing. I was wronged by two of them at my last district, and they are still employed there when it was they, not I, who should have been fired. They just got moved around or demoted.

    The best thing you can do is take early retirement, quit, or transfer (or force them to transfer you although that ultimately didn’t work for me because in the eyes of the morons in human resources who knew NOTHING of what I went through with the first principal, I was supposed to be at fault for being written up by a retaliatory and sociopathic principal and put on some kind of plan which the district NEVER did–it wasn’t my fault they fired me without picking up the g.d. phone and calling me when I got ill) to another school with the realization you will be targeted everywhere you go in the district.

    Understand that districts can and do fake documents all the time if they want to get rid of you. They aren’t held criminally liable for these acts, as they operate above the law.

    For every teacher “successful” at “winning” against a principal, there are probably a thousand who ultimately have their careers destroyed. Teachers have to have an attorney on retainer–NEVER, EVER trust your union’s law firm to help you–to be able to have a chance of ever getting their jobs back if they are forced out.

  • Susan,

    Tell your story. If you agree, I would like to feature it on A PIece Full World.



  • Susan Nunes

    It really is a long story, almost too long to reiterate anywhere.

  • Susan,

    Just googled your name, bullying and Nevada. Wow.


  • Susan Nunes

    That’ll save you some time. I went through hell with that district. I am still paying for it economically, some four-and-a-half years later.

  • Susan Nunes

    BTW, that silly civil suit was a complete fabrication; it had nothing to do with my termination, as it was filed a month after my kangaroo hearing. The scamming mother and her kid got a settlement, but it was done without my knowledge or consent.

    Just so people know: Lawyers fabricate negligence charges all the time in order to get an insurance payout from school district insurance carriers. It’s still insurance fraud, by I guess if you have a lawyer crooked enough to proceed with it, it’s perfectly legal.

  • Susan Nunes

    The mother was so traumatized over the “rape” story she went out and blew some of the settlement money on trips for her kids, a manicure, and a diamond cocktail ring, which she wasn’t afraid to have posted all over FB. Her son is doing just fine and dandy and graduated from high school last year. Not a care in the world.

  • Jonathan K.

    It’s only going to take one bullying case to expose the entire education system’s failure to address these issues. One thing I have learned is that I was so naive about the whole thing until it affected me personally. There’s the problem- If you haven’t been targeted you don’t understand… After I was targeted I still didn’t believe that it happens all the time. I first got an idea about bullying when the Union President said to me “You’re not the first person to be railroaded out of ———, and you won’t be the last!” Pathetic if you ask me-


  • JJ

    Jonathan, pathetic is absolutely right.
    These comments need to be printed off, all 547 of them and union people should have copies in their hands to give out to any teacher who is being targeted. Can you imagine how much better we would have felt had the information from this site been available to us during our attacks.
    It is difficult to confront an administrator but with the information from this site, a union president and teacher would have much more to work with.
    We are and never were alone except in our minds and now it’s so obvious.

  • Susan Nunes

    I STILL feel like I was in the Twilight Zone or something throughout that nightmare at my old school district. It just didn’t seem real, it didn’t seem possible.

    Fired over literally nothing worth being fired over but HR wanted a retire-rehire put in my job.

  • Jonathan K.

    That’s how I would describe it too- A “nightmare”! I live it every hour of every day and the only way to make it stop is to prove what happened. In the coming months I will be very aggressive- I promise you.


  • TheTRUTH

    The reality is, there are two options for dealing with a bully principal.

    OPTION 1: Transfer out of the school. Of course, may end up up in a worse place or not much better. You need to do your homework to find a decent school. However, pricipals can come and go so there is no long term guarentee that you will be ok.

    OPTION 2: Find another job/profession.

    I decided to go with option 1 and transferred out. Though administration has not been a problem, I am realizing just how disgusted I am with the system as a whole. The paperwork is becoming mind-boggling. Due to my disgust with the system as a whole, I am no longer enjoying my job at all. So, I am going to take the OPTION 2 route and plan on quitting sometime within the next year. It seems the only way to become happy once again. I’m 41 but had it.

  • Jonathan K.

    Unfortunately for those of us who were targeted, bullied, mobbed, let go, and DEFAMED- There are no options that involve teaching. To some of us teaching is as natural as walking or breathing. Losing your ability to teach leaves a huge void in the soul…

    Once you’re in your mid 50s changing careers isn’t as easy as it would have been in your 40s. I’ve been trying to change careers and that’s very frustrating too. Not a lot of opportunity-

    I do agree that if you’ve been targeted and you are not comfortable at your job, either change schools or change professions. The younger you are when you realize this the easier any transition will be. So don’t wait until you have a health issue or a change in overall disposition. Our bodies are very complex and they tell us things. Listen and act!


  • Susan Nunes

    It’s really bad when a district kicks you out for no real reason whatsoever after you have “tenure” and you are a mid-career changer because a principal was too lazy and incompetent to have that job.

    It’s not realistic for somebody like me who is 57 years old to “retrain” for another “career” when I have already done that.

  • Hobo1957

    When I was working in another industry, I knew that I was destined to help others. Soon after that realization, my young son was diagnosed with various disabilities. It was about 15 years afterwards I decided that I wanted to teach children with special needs. Also, I wanted help other families to deal with the many challenges that having a child with special needs brings with it including navigating the special education educaitonal maze.

    Finally, after many long years, I earned my credential in Special Education,an MA and a certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis. I did all of this while working at various schools districts in my area. I kept searching for a district that would treat those is special education with respect, dignity and inclusion. I never found that school district. Sometimes, the segragation was suttle and more often it was not.

    After about 11/12 years of teaching all grade and age levels, I am moving on to become educated in another field. My attempts to help students and their families, from the ground floor, is viewed as a threat to the district. Those of you in my field know what I am talking about.

    I have been repeatedly harassed, physically injured, threatened, laughed at, gossiped about, excluded and set up to fail as I have finally approached early retirement age. Even our local teachers association does not want to deal with teachers in special education because there as so few of us and even fewer who will stand up for what is legal, moral and right. We are told by our union president that our situation is different, however we pay the same union dues.

    My student loan debt is high and so are my bills from years of providing the teaching materials and curriculum that the districts would not provide. However, I cannot continue to be a part of this continuous lie that we are providing quality services to these children. TO THOSE OF YOU WHO CONTINUE TO WORK IN THIS SPECIALTY AREA WITH INTEGRITY AND COMPASSION, I SALUTE YOU.

    After only 11/12 years, I am overweight, exhausted and now diabetic. To those co-workers who are often part of the harassment and ridicule, I forgive you. I know that you do not understand me, my job and why I was ever crazy enough to do the job that no one normally wants. If you only knew the satisfaction that I once experienced you would have wanted to be in my shoes.

    To every administrator who was cruel, controlling, vindictive and did not give a darn, I forgive you. If I do not forgive and move on, I will no longer be me and I like me. For the last four or so years, I have been consumed by anger and resentment because of these working conditions and mistreatment of my students and their families. For every time that I looked the other way at an IEP meeting because I did not want to be written up, again or have my other students excluded from an event, I apologize. For the times that I did not speak up because I needed a rest from the finger pointing and ridicule, I apologize. I ask for forgiveness from the students and their parents. I hope that in the long run I did more good than anything else.

    I will miss the actual teaching of students. I am good at what I do, but that is the problem isn’t it. This system does not reward or tolerate integrity, enthusiasm, dedication, compassion or hard work. It rewards those who are complacent.

    I do not know what the future holds for me, but I know that I will have no future if I remain here. Afterall, I made it through attaining my AA, BA, MA, clear credential, and certifications, but most importantly I did this while raising a child with a disability when others pointed a finger and said that I must have been the cause of the disability. You have heard it in the teachers’ lounge a million times when teachers are frustrated. They make those nasty comments about the apple not falling far from the tree, about the low social economic levels of those miniority non English speaking parents who must not care. And my favorite of all time is how more than half of their class belongs in specil education due to the disability that their parents must have caused while being on crack.

    I will not miss hearng any of these comments. It will take me just a little bit longer to forgive people for these, but I am sure that I will do it eventually because I CHOOSE TO MOVE ON in life.

    For those of you who choose to stay, I SALUTE YOU.

  • TheTRUTH

    To Jonathan and Susan, I know everyone’s situation is different. Yes, the older you are, the harder to switch careers. I’m 41 and beyond discontent with teaching. It’s come to a point where I am weighing mental health vs money. I’m beyond exhausted, mentally-speaking. Also, like the poster Hobo1957 mentioned, I cannot continue to live/work this big, ugly LIE.

    I want to take a chance on something that pays less BUT is overflowing with simplicity. Easier said than done, but that’s the plan as of right now.

    I remember a story from like 15 or 20 years ago. Apparently some over-stressed lawyer reached his breaking point, bought an inexpensive house in Mexico, moved there, and took a job at a car wash. This supposedly-true story makes you think. Obviously, I’m not suggesting anyone do this, but you get the point.

    Anyway, the entire educational system is a farce. As someone else on another board once stated, “The pastime of today’s American educational system is pushing the latest educational fad.” I’m just soooooooo tired of it all.

  • Susan Nunes

    41 is nowhere near “too late” to retrain. It’s a huge difference between that and being 57 years of age. I want to remain in education until I retire in the next ten years, and unlike most, there is no second income to cushion any blow.

    I enjoy the students, but if and when I go back into teaching I will KNOW the pitfalls.

  • Good Morning eveyone-

    I recently responded to an article my local newspaper’s educational writer, Dr Pedro Suarez, had written. I was surprised to receive an email from the paper’s publisher wanting to feature my response as a “letter to the editor.” Our email exchange follows. I invite you to write letters of support to Mr. Tom Curtis, publisher of The River Citiies Gazette. His name and email address are:

    Tom Curtis

    This is the way we build a movement.


     You are welcome to use this anyway you wish. I’ve changed up a few things and added a paragraph.  You’ll see what it is.  I thank you for getting this out.  It feels obscene to me that so much attention is given to keeping children emotionally safe in such toxic and unsafe environments for employees.  
     Hey, I don’t know much about statistics, but I do know that each voice on the NEA site represents lots and lots of hurt and frightened educators across the nation.  
     Thanks again.


     On Mon, 3 Sep 2012 10:40:22 -0400, Tom Curtis wrote:

     Kim, I am forwarding this to Dr. Pedro–would love to run what you wrote as a letter to the editor, complementing Dr. Pedro–you might want to edit it a little but it would be great. However, I need the final by
     Tuesday AM. Tom Curtis



     I read your articles in the River Cities Gazette with much enthusiasm.  I find myself internally hollering “Yeah!!” often. I am a middle school counselor.  I am also an Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer.  

     And I am a former bullied target of a bullying school principal.  That horror led me to The Workplace Bullying Institute and that organization’s training in Bellingham, Washington.  I needed to learn about the dynamics of workplace abuse.  I have come to understand, with great clarity and with great sadness, that there is no way we can keep children emotionally safe from bullying if we, school employees, are not safe from the same. 

     I believe the rampant, fear soaked rage surrounding NCLB and all of its requirements and punishments is opening the flood gates of rampant and fear soaked bullying of teachers by raging administrators.  There are a lot of those around the nation.  It appears they simply can do what they want and not only “get away with it” but are celebrated for it by their bosses. That certainly seems to be the case with my former principal.  He, in his tenure as both an assistant principal and as a principal appears to have terrorized many people and destroyed, at the very least, their professions…and more often, their sense of themselves. 

      We, bullied targets, are all altered in some way.  I’ve become a stalwart truth teller. Although I am still, at times, terror filled at what might have become of me–maybe of what will become of me if I don’t “watch it” as I’ve been warned–I feel compelled now to assist others. Other targets, sadly, are not as lucky as I’ve been.  They lose jobs, families and hope. Some have taken their lives. Workplace bullying in schools is a very big deal. 

     I link to an article put out by The National Education Association (NEA) called, “Bullying of Teachers Pervasive In Many Schools” from A Piece Full World’s homepage: http://www.apiecefullworld.com. That article has almost 500 responses.  To put that number in perspective, the next most popular article has 25 responses.  I am participating.
     I also link to a Montgomery County, Maryland lawsuit from A Piece Full World’s homepage.  I will be seated in the courtroom when that jury trial takes place. The six plaintiffs, elementary school teachers who were taunted, intimidated and harassed by their principal, deserve support.  Their case speaks for all bullied teachers across the nation. The principal, by the way, has had no consequences.  He is, in fact, still leading that school.   

     Thank you, Pedro, for being a voice of courage and honesty about the mess in which we in public education find ourselves.

     Kim Werner, Creator
     A Piece Full World
     Workplace Bullying Prevention Trainer
     Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Trainer

  • Hmmmm….Tom’s email address did not appear on my last post. It’s newtcurtis@curtispub.net

    Thanks, Kim

  • TheTRUTH

    Not sure if this was posted on here, but this book looks quite interesting: (about Principal-Teacher abuse)


    So does this one below: (about why Teachers quit)


    I can relate to the first one for sure, as most on here can as well.

    I’ll be relating to the second one too as soon as this year, my last as I’ve decided, comes to an agonizing end.

  • Debra H.

    From a Montgomery County Teacher in Maryland with 23 years of experience:

    I have also experienced harrassment and bullying by my principle that began because of a single complaint. When I spoke to my MCEA rep, he supported my principle, telling me all of my principle’s actions were allowable. I was bullied to sign documents I did not agree to. My doctor informed my that my stress and anxiety, symptoms I had not experienced previously, were due to my work environment.

  • Debra H.–

    I will be at the Montgomery County Kemp Mill ES trial. I hope others join me. You, as you can see from all of us communicating here, are not alone. Not in Montgomery County, Maryland, not in the state of Maryland, and not in the nation.

    I honestly feel that the Kemp Mill ES case speaks for all of us: you also in Montgomery County, Maryland; me in Florida, and everybody else communicating here from across the nation…and the hundreds of others they represent.

    Thanks for being another voice courageous enough to tell the truth.


  • Has any one seen the new article on the NEA site about how educators handle stress: It’s very quaint. It puts the issue right back on us for not dealing with stress properly. I say it is not our fault! I just put the third comment on it. Here is my comment:
    This is a very nice, well intended article. It does not completely address the issue. Some factors not adequately addressed are are workplace bullying, no time (to find time to walk around the building for breaks), and long term stress such as testing. Your “put it right back on the teachers solution”? Start excercising: Run out of the building at the exact time you get off, and go running. Or join your kids in a game on the playground. Or go talk to your administrator. None of these work for me. I have to much to do to leave on time. My kids don’t get recess or playground time, and I stay away from my administrators due to previous bulllying, and I know they are going to oppose whatever I have to say. How about if we follow this article up about how to really deal with stress: how to get the legislator to understand that high stakes testing is stressing and killing the kids just like it is the teachers, the kids NEED time to run and play during the day, and that administrators need to listen to teachers. Without bullying.

  • Never sign something you don’t agree to.

  • TheTRUTH


    Of course it’s out fault. It’s our fault when we are feeling stressed, it’s our fault when lazy students do not perform up to par, and it’s even our fault when it rains two days in a row. Oh, and if a student tells you to f*** off, that was our fault too ;O)

  • Dear Truth,
    Thanks for the reminder. I forgot for about 2 minutes.

  • Jonathan K.

    I had my last teaching interview of 2012 yesterday… Sat in front of a panel of 4 administrators. One asked me 10 questions while the three others busily took notes on my answers… After a summer of interviews and disappointment, I believe the education system, the one who bullied and defamed me, has finally chipped away at my enthusiasm. I gave great answers, but I was not as “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” as I was in the past. I believe once you get into the school’s kitchen and see how it’s done- it changes the way you think forever…


  • Jonathan,

    I think your enthusiasm is vibrant and alive. I think it’s clear and forthright. I think your enthusiasm for working with children is stronger than ever.

    That’s what I think.



  • TheTRUTH

    Yes Jonathan,

    Once you are bullied by an administrator, it does change you. It certainly changed me some. It made me less enthusiastic when I transferred to another school. The sh*tload of paperwork, as there seems to be in every school now a days, didn’t help either. Then there are the child-like paras, rubrics, and dozens of other complaints I can name. anyway, this WILL be my last year.

  • Susan Nunes

    My experience makes me question whether I ever want to set foot in a school district again. However, I cannot go back and retrain for another line of work.

  • TheTRUTH


    Any chance you could find another line of work which pays quite a bit less, yet not so much less than you would be in a bad financial situation?

    What I’m planning on doing (which I’d rather reveal when I actually start it) is not something that will guarantee me a financially-sound future. I’m going to start my own business (one that is recommended by a friend who will also help guide. I can tell you right now that starting my own business was NEVER something I ever considered in the past. Well, times change based on many factors and here I am, soon to be a small business owner. This business (a trade actually…working with my hands) may not do as well as I’d like, yet appears to be one in which I should do decent enough if I work hard enough.

    Point is, for me personally, I am taking a quite a chance. I feel I have no choice. I absolutely HATE my job so much now. Not the kids, but everything else. I DREAD going to work each day. So, either I find another non-teaching job or I seriously risk my health. I’m exhausted, unhappy, having teaching-related nightmares, and feel so much anxiety inside. I feel like I now have no choice.

    Never in my life did I feel so unhappy at work, and I’ve worked tough jobs with the average stress, etc. Teaching, however, is on a whole other level not explainable to the average non-teacher. The system is broke beyond repair and I can’t take it anymore.

  • Jonathan K.

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I’m not just having a bad day, or a bad week, or even a bad month- I can’t even admit to having just a bad year. I’ve had a “bad life” since the bullying, mobbing, job loss and defamation (2008).

    The reality that these administrators (Superintendents, Principals) can and will ruin your life if they so desire, has enlightened me to a point where I’m very angry. Realizing I’m also helpless against them is very defeating and makes me question the strong belief system I once had. I’ve said it before- “If I was keeping score the ‘bad guys’ are winning!” That blows a big hole in my constitution-

    I will continue to fight, but unfortunately that doesn’t pay the mortgage, food, electric, or college tuition… I stopped sleeping through the night a long time ago and I avoid social events because, what can I say? I’ve always devoted myself to my job. My self-esteem came from my ability to do it well. Losing my job, my career is like falling into a deep hole. It’s dark, it’s cold, and it sucks! It’s not my choice, but it’s where I’m at-

    All I have now is my lawsuit and the hope that justice will be served.


  • JJ


    Do not let these people take anymore from you. They have taken enough.
    No more suffering because of “Them.” They do NOT deserve it. You know your value even though their attempt to take that away has eaten at you.

    Unprofessional, selfish, cold, dishonest, uncaring, immature, administrative bullies with no integrity love to make their targeted victims suffer. Their sick minds derive pleasure from another individual’s bewilderment at what’s going on and they actually justify what they’re doing. Hopefully, their criminal behavior will be exposed. May you lawyer build a fantastic case against them.

    A former abused teacher and friends with other abused teachers.

  • Susan Nunes

    “Starting a business” ISN’T an option when there is no spouse to rely on and no savings. I have to work for someone, and I do not want to waste my education going into menial jobs. I have been there and done that. I am currently substituting to try and get some money flowing my way and try and keep the skills current.

    Besides, nobody will hire me for menial jobs. I am “too old” and “too educated.”

  • abused montgomery county public school maryland

    Did you see that part of the Chicago teachers settlement was to place an anti-bullying law into their new contract?
    NEA, what are you doing to help all of these teachers?

  • abused montgomery county public school maryland

    Dear All,
    The writer of this story can be reached at CLong@nea.org
    and her phone number is 202-822-7298.
    Kim and I have been waiting to hear back from Cindy Long regarding who we can meet with at NEA in Washington, D.C. For whatever reason, we have not been given the person following up on the pervasive bullying of teachers.
    Please contact Cindy Long, the writer of this article, and ask her who the appointed NEA person is regarding follow-up to this article. Given what is going on within our schools, we should be given an appointment to meet/discuss this issue.
    Please call and email Cindy Long and request the name of the person, at NEA, the national level, that we can meet with regarding the pervasive bullying of teachers in public schools.

  • TheTRUTH

    Susan, I never said anything about menial jobs. If you are referring to a trade as menial job, those jobs pay more per day teaching.

    Also, as for wasting your education, that’s the last thing I care about. My Masters, 30 credits and above, additional certification…mean nothing to me if I’m extremely unhappy. If I need to go in a completely other direction, so be it.

    I wouldn’t let “wasting your education” restrict you from other possibilities.
    I guess it depends just how unhappy you are or aren’t. For me, I’ll go into a non-teaching field if I think it means being mentally happier.

  • Susan Nunes

    Oh, I am going to learn plumbing or carpentry or some other “trade” or menial job. Give me a break, please. I cannot do physical labor, and it isn’t REASONABLE at 57 years of age and being female to be doing it and winding up on disability. I am not you and probably far, far older. You don’t speak for me or for many other people. You can only speak for yourself and not for others.

    I already did the retraining game and went into debt becoming a teacher. I am not going to do it again. Even if I wanted to, I do not have the financial means. There is no spouse or parent to fall back on.

  • Jonathan K.

    Right now the economy sucks! Even if we (bullied teachers) recognized that remaining in the field of education was detrimental to our health and well-being, there aren’t many options for us who are over 55.

    The unemployment office wanted to make me a Mason’s Apprentice- Are you kidding me? That’s a young person’s job (carrying bricks and pushing wheelbarrows full of concrete and mortar)and not someone who has worked in the trades for 30 years and had injuries and THEN became a teacher. At 55 becoming a Mason’s Apprentice would be a step in the wrong direction-

    The people on here who invested their lives in teaching, reached their educational ceilings, and now find themselves forced out, have every right to be angry at a system that allowed that to happen.

    Our job is to right the ship, get rid of the administrative tyrants who have been executing good teachers, and get these good teachers their teaching jobs back!

  • RVG

    Jonathan, you’ve summed it up perfectly. I’m 60 and was working with the Workforce Centers here in Minnnesota to be retrained as a “displaced worker”. They were sure to warn me that I would never make enough money to maintain my “current lifestyle”–that is keep my house. I kept pounding the pavement and finally found a teaching job–one no one else would take. I work with the most difficult EBD students that I have ever met in my entire career with little to no administrative support. I don’t expect this job to last more than a year. I’m grateful to have a paycheck, but I am being abused on a daily basis because they know that I am desperate for a job. There are so many ways for the system to abuse those of us over 55 and, you are right, we have every right to be angry at the system and at a society that no longer values experience and the wisdom that accompanies it.

    I wish you all the luck with your lawsuit and feel very bad for what you are going through and hope there is an end in sight.

  • TheTRUTH

    Susan, once again you’re referring to trades as menial work. How ignorant. If it’s not a reasonable for you, that’s one thing. But menial?? Plumbers, electricians, painters, regrouters, etc all make more money than teachers do. Money aside, you probably think they are “dummy” jobs because no college required, right? Yet, you wouldn’t know the first thing about dealing with any of the issues which a trades person does. I guess this is the mentality when college has been forced down everyone’s throat the last few decades. And why? MONEY. Not for us, but for the colleges. So, we take dozens of classes which have nothing to do with our major. Yet, go to a trade school and you learn ONLY what you need.
    My friend who is teaching me just did a regrouting job on Saturday. He made $680 for the day after paying his worker $120 for doing 90% of the work.
    Boy, I’m so proud I went to college and got my Masters, 30 & above, and an additional certification in ESL (in addition to my Gen. & Spec. Ed. licenses).
    I refuse to let my EGO keep me in the field of teaching. I’m 41 btw (not 20 something and living at home). It’s no so easy for me either.

    Again, if it’s not for you fine, but how dare you call trades menial? I bet those “dummies” are happier than “we” are. Btw, that’s to menial work you live in a home lol.


  • Jonathan K.

    I spent my entire adult life working in the trades. I wouldn’t call it “menial”, but I would call it “labor intensive”. Age 55 is not the time to start a labor intensive career. But, I myself will have to try and earn a living and if I have to, I’ll do some labor intensive stuff. I’d rather not have to, but I don’t want to lose my house of 25 years either…

    The whole situation sucks! In my situation I was doing really well in my second career as a vocational instructor. I was good at it, my students appreciated my efforts, and I knew I could teach well into my mid-late 60s. Then came the bullying, harassment, mobbing, non-renewal, and the killer- the defamation. All because I had ethics and a strong moral conviction, something those who attacked me were lacking.

    I have had to put up what little retirement I have to fight the school’s decision to lay me off. It’s a big risk, but because I have a strong constitution, I have no choice but to go after them.

    We have but one life to live… THEY stole mine from me- That pisses me off! I’m an angry guy- If I had screwed up that’s on me, but I was doing an incredible job, better than anyone I worked with. It’s not right, what they did to me. My wife tells me not to obsess over it, but I’m not wired that way. I’m going to use all my resources and every ounce of courage and will that I have to prove what happened to me and others at that school. Only time will tell if I will prevail and win my case.

    But, I’m not too unlike others on here who have suffered the same lousy fate- I’m freakin’ MAD! Makes me wonder- where is NEA at times like this? Who’s going to help us?

  • Jonathan K.

    One more thought:

    It seems like the education system was built to insulate administrators from teachers, but not teachers from administrators. I believe there lies the problem!

    What do you think?


  • Susan Nunes

    You are absolutely right, Jonathan. Teachers have NO rights at all against administrators, who flout the law all the time. The problem with administrators, meaning principals, is that they aren’t closely supervised. It takes a mature, ethical person to successfully become a principal, and too few of them are these days. Many are simply too young for the job while others cannot work without being under close supervision for they easily abuse their power.

  • Susan Nunes

    Doing manual labor is simply a ridiculous suggestion for a woman close to 60 years old. Forget it. It doesn’t interest me in the least even if I were younger. I will substitute as a classified or certified employee before I will risk my life and health. I would rather die than be forced on disability.

  • Jonathan K.

    At a vocational high school where there is only one school, the top administrator in the building and the one most likely to abuse the power of his/her position is the Superintendent. In a vocational school the principal gets his/her orders from the Superintendent and usually that person is a soldier or doesn’t last very long. So when I sight abuse and corruption by the Superintendent it’s because at a vocational school it usually occurs at the top and the Superintendent is the highest ranking administrator and runs the school–

  • Did everyone know that this is Anti BUllying Month? I saw it on my School District Home page? Kind of ironic? I have been off here for a while, but want to say that I agree with the Truth, and Susan. I am almost 56, and wonder what the heck other job could I do? I wrote letters to my entire School Board (Palm Beach County), Saturday, detailing the rotten things that have happened to me, including the recrimination I have suffered for standing up to the LOSERS whoare on POWER TRIPS and who continue to do illegal things including bullying and other forms of harassment. I have not gotten a rasie or step increase in years, pay 3% of my own FRS, pay higher and higher insurance fees with less and less coverage, and ON and ON, After I hit send, on the last letter, I said “that’s it, I am dead meat…” Why would I DO that? Do I really think they are going to READ my letters and decide to fork over the money they have STOLEN from us? Further, I do not know how many of us have been forced to read the cute little book, “Who moved my cheese?” I made a handmade sign on the back of my preprinted Union sign, (They OUR own Union has to tell us what to say, write, do, when and where to meet, for fear that we are going to sabotage OUR selves at the bargainng table). So my sign said: “Who STOLE my cheese?” The TEACHERS in the room loved it, and I got the dirtiest looks in the universe from the “District” negotiators. I must be going nuts. I am sure they would be able to figure out who I am, and put on the HEAT. It makes it scary, but I just HAD to do it.

  • Jonathan,
    Hang in there. When is your case? You are right about administration being insulated. Always have been.

  • Joe Shmoe-

    Let’s have lunch. Meet in Broward. Anyone else in the South Florida area, you too are invited. Just let me know.

    Kim Werner


    How bout right now in BOCA? Just kidding. I would like to meet up with you, I have a lot going on right now, I was just in Boca last Friday. Bummer. Maybe in a couple of weeks. Follow up to the emails about the letters I wrote to the School District. My department had a big meeting last week. We as a group were warned not to write any slanderous letters. Sounds like my letters (instead of being answered, were forwarded?” Or am I paranoid?

  • I think this would be an interesting angle from which to address workplace bullying in schools. We studied the Stockholm syndrome often when I was a flight attendant.

    I believe this is what is happening in many schools. Some employees–hostages– have developed “traumatic bonding” with the principals. It’s the only way to feel safe. They feel they must support the bullying principals at all costs, for to not do so most assuredly brings on their wrath.

    Employees are not safe. Employees need to be liberated by school districts’ boards and by superintendents.

    They are not being liberated.

    I am going to write about it on my blog.

    Here is a defintition of the Stockholm syndrome:

    “Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”

    Joe Shmoe and any others in South Florida who would like to meet. Please email me.


  • TheTRUTH

    I strongly believe that bullying (from school admin) is going to be here to stay for a long time. Though I only taught for 4-5 years (I officially quit last week thank God), I have seen it get worse, as a whole, each year. Each state is different, but here in NY our so-called union has done nothing to stop the bullying. At most, they might talk a principal out of giving a final U rating, as was the case with me. Add to that the fact I had to speak with FOUR different union reps until I found someone who cared some and wanted to put his time and energy into it. I’m usually a positive person, but I’m also a realist. The system is now perfectly functioning in a way which allows for bullying from admin with no reprecussions. Teachers are set-up for failure every year just from the sheer volume of paperwork, much of it being “mandated by the state”. How easy it is to fall behind with it all or make some errors. Anything that is state-mandated is another excuse to bleep with you. The only way to stop bullying is to transfer. However, that’s only a temporary solution. I wish I had a better answer to it all, but I dont. I experienced it myself, as well as seeing others experience it. I think every teacher has experienced it or seen it. The common ending is admin is NOT held accountable for the bullying…not even close.

  • Hobo1957

    I have made copies of these comments and passed them on to family and friends who do not work in our industry. Often, they do not understand or beleive that this could be happening in a School District.

    The stories continue to inspire me help me to not to feel so alone. My exit out of this system is gradual and I continued to receive the same type of treatment as many of you have for the last five years.

    I agree with Kim regarding the Stockholm syndrome. Many of my colleagues have accepted this including the union representatives who continue to do nothing for those of us being harassed and bullied by administation and colleagues alike.

    I have been assigned students who are prone to some violence this school year with no support. When I am injured, not only am I questioned and doubted but somehow I must have been responsible for it.

    The message has been made clear to me via many messengers over the last few weeks:the superintendent wants me gone because I have advocated for some students and their families. It is an “us” versus “them” mentality and it is very wrong and sad.

    I am doing my best to keep my head up between the injuries that I am receiving and trying to focus on my exit strategy. Thank you all for telling the truth about what many of us must deal with on a daily basis.

  • Hi everyone-

    I keep making connections with what I have learned through my Olweus and Workplace Bullying trainings and my and your experiences. Here’s the latest connection from this morning:

    The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program’s Bullying Circle is used to identify roles bystander children take on in bullying situations. Almost always the bullying student and the bulied student are our focus when the real secret to bullying PREVENTION for children is through the bystanders. We need to empower the bystanders to help targets.

    In presentations I say this: there are two pieces to the “magic” of bullying prevention. The first piece of the magic–and the piece that must be in place before the other “magical” piece can work–is that the adults in schools must be seen by children as caring people who really will and can effectively help bullied targeted children. If that piece is in place then more and more of our “bystander children” will DO SOMETHING instead of acting as if they don’t see it. They, the bystanders–at least the ones who inside really don’t like to see someone getting picked on–will begin to report it to one of their many caring adults or simply say “STOP. That’s not nice. STOP. That’s not fair. Stop. That’s not true.”

    That “magic” is true for us, adult bystanders, too. If the leaders of our districts were seen by us as caring people who really will help the bullied adult targets in schools, then more and more of the adult bystanders will help out.

    Bystanders–children and adults– see the bullying, don’t like it, know it isn’t fair and want to do
    SOMETHING…but they don’t because it isn’t safe. It feels safer to hide and worry about who the next target will be. Feels safer to align with the abusive and bullying principal.

    Effective bullying prevention in schools is really not magic. It’s hardwork. It’s commitment. It’s true caring.

    All we have now from our school districts, it seems, is hollow lip service to its importance.

    No wonder we are in such a mess.

    Kim Werner

  • TheTRUTH


    Good luck on getting out of this so-called “profession”. The way the system is now, no one deserves to go through the horrors of teaching on a daily basis.

  • Hi everyone-

    I have another “awaiting moderation” comment. Because I want to participate freely here, I have posted the comment on my website. Please go to http://www.apiecefullworld.com and take a look. I truly am perplexed as to why it is being moderated….

    Are the rest of you routinely getting “awaiting moderation” comments? Wow.



    If you are in town tomorrow, maybe we could meet for lunch. I might have to go to Miami, and could meet up with you on the way down or back. I will email you.

    Dear Hobo, 1957
    By the way, I was told it was my fault when I was bitten by a 3 year old. Good thing it was cold out, and I had on a long sleeved shirt and a sweater.
    That was a long time ago, but it seems like it was yesterday.
    The second time I was bitten, I was ot even going to report it, but a WITNESS told me to report it. I was told I was a liar, because that child just does not bite. So, try not to let them get close enough to bite you.

  • DrBabe

    Testing. Just got kicked out after entering the comment of all comments!

  • DrBabe: Kicked out as in “awaiting moderation?” That happens with my comments all the time. All of my “awaiting moderation” comments have been allowed within 48 hours or so. If your comment awaits moderation, and you say it is the “comment of all comments,” I can’t wait to read it!

    Joe Shmoe: I am glad to hear from you here. I look forward to your email. Although we didn’t get together yesterday, I know we will soon.

    Everyone: I have contacted NEA. No response. I have contacted Cindy Long. No response. I would like to know if any of you have contacted NEA or Ms. Long. If so, have you gotten a response?

    I am assuming this comment, too, will “await moderation….”

    Kim Werner

  • Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know
    a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking
    issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.


    Sorry, medical problems…


    I just did the 600th entry. Cool

  • JJ

    I’m very curious as to why these comments are not being left on this site for viewing. There were a total of 5 comments before nonviewing was an issue today. Before that, there were 44 comments those interested in could view. Both myself and one other viewer suggested printing all the comments when all of a sudden the near 500 comments were taken off this site.
    This was not the case before viewers suggested the printing of comments. This is supposed to be a site to help bullied teachers. Not allowing all comments to be viewed is unfair to NEA members.
    Keeping 599 comments from being viewed is unfair, unbelievable and not in a bullied teachers best interest. Shame on you.

  • TheTRUTH

    @JJ, Would you expect anything less? NO ONE has the teacher’s best interests in mind. Teachers are all alone in their struggle for justice and fairness.
    In fact, from my own personal teaching experience, most teachers in most schools cannot even depend on their fellow teachers. It’s EXACTLY what the system wants. It wants us to be disorganized and bewildered. It wants us too busy and too overwhelmed with paperwork and fear. Unfortunately, most schools also have a lot of teachers who cannot be trusted. Of all the places I’ve ever worked, I’ve never experienced so much cattiness and clicks (especially at the elementary level). It’s just a real bad environment on all levels. Even in the occasional school which has teachers in which most can be trusted, there is too much going on with paperwork and other nonsense which leaves teachers disjointed.

  • Susan Nunes

    Never socialize with colleagues, ESPECIALLY in a school environment. They will backstab you in order to keep their jobs and often do it under pressure from senior administrators desiring to cover their rear ends. I know this from bitter experience. The last school I worked at the cliques were horrible; the principal was a total incompetent and allowed a poisonous environment to occur. It benefited her because she didn’t have to do the dirty work. It’s an old supervisory trick.

    • Sfo

      So, so true and so sad to go to work and not trust a soul….the ones you did trust are long gone because they didn’t play the game either.

    • Val E. Forge

      I have fortunately survived it up till now and have but a handful of years left to go but you are unfortunately right Susan. The staff room has been as foreign to me as the moon the last few years and I have no plans to explore it for the very reason you sadly assert.

    • Val E. Forge

      When I started in 1985 about 80% minimum of the staff at my school were veterans of a strike that occurred about five years previous. They were the salt of the earth and it was an honor to serve with them. Many of the new hires (particularly the ones gunning to be administrators and will gun down [figuratively] any teacher to do it), are nauseating brown-nosers who couldn’t pack the strike veterans’ lunches.

  • Susan Nunes

    Two of these people, by the way, were at my “due process” (read kangaroo hearing), and were coached to commit perjury on behalf of the principal. The entire thing was rigged; I had no rights whatsoever.

    However, these two women I seriously doubt have any conscience whatsoever over even participating in such filth; they were likely pressured, but that doesn’t change the fact they never should have allowed themselves to be used by these crooks in HR to slander and lie about me when the principal and the HR crooks screwed up.


    I, too have been a victime of a kangaroo court. Two Union members (one being me, the victim) were made to discuss their issues with Union reps and the Supervisors (mine, NOT the other woman’s) It was 4 against 1, and one neutral (my rep). What a joke! I keep hanging in there, though. I am now going to look for the other comments.


    I contacted NEA AND Cindy Long months ago, when this blog first came out, and got no reply. Maybe they think over 600 comments is not enough. I just looked over the recent and older comments, and do not see one I just entered about 15 minutes ago, and I did not get an awaiting moderation comment at all. Is it possible they ARE disappearing? Whatever happened to DRBABE’s comment of all comments? Waiting…


    I do not think the comments are disappearing, my BAD. I think they are still here, you have to keep hitting comments, you can also hit older comments. I am sorry for not understanding. I still don’t see the comment of all comments though.

  • Susan Nunes

    “Susan, once again you’re referring to trades as menial work. How ignorant. If it’s not a reasonable for you, that’s one thing.”—It isn’t reasonable. I don’t care to be a plumber or a carpenter and am too old to retrain for it. It’s ludicrous to risk going on disability and further debt. If that’s your bag, bully for you. You aren’t me. I don’t regard trades as menial, but I don’t care to do menial work as an alternative to teaching because I spent years doing it before becoming a teacher; you know jobs like clerical work, library assistant, legal assistant, none of which are professions. They are menial jobs by comparison. That doesn’t mean I am a snob or I look down on other fields. They helped pay my education, after all.

  • Good Morning all-

    Take a look, please, at this link (see below). It gives, I think, a broad picture of the issue of “bullying.”

    I’d like your comments. Here, or at kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com.

    Let’s all keep trying to contact NEA and Cindy Long. Thanks, Joe Shmoe, for letting me know you too had no luck in reaching them. I know that’s true for some of the Montgomery County, Maryland folks as well.

    Also, I would appreciate ideas from all of you as to what we would like to accomplish. Why are we, in the end, communicating here? Do we need NEA to take the lead? Or can we organize ourselves….to do what?



  • Jonathan K.

    I have enjoyed commenting on this website and meeting terrific people who have experienced the same travesties as I, but in the end it is nothing more than a “binky” provided by the NEA. They have no plans to help us. As long as this article and the comment area is available for us to vent we remain complacent. This is a corral of sorts and as long as we’re here, we are not causing a stir anyplace else…

  • Jonathan-

    You are BACK!!! I am so glad. Your comments are insightful….even when I do not agree with them.

    I do not feel complacent. This site has energized me. I see that together we have a voice. I believe we are not only helping each other, but all the other abused educators from around the nation reading this. Many are too frightened to post anything. I understand that.

    This is a crowded corral! Let’s open the gate…..

    KEEP POSTING! (Oh yeah, Jonathan, I got that from you! ) 🙂


  • Jonathan K.

    Hi Kim,

    Maybe complacent wasn’t a good choice of words… I’m probably thinking too much about my case where all I’ve been doing is the old “hurry up & wait-”

    Although I want to get a certain outcome, I also want to get closure too. This has been a big drain on me & my family.

    My briefcase, which is full of curriculum I wrote myself, is in plain site. Each time I look at it I am confronting the reality that I may never get to utilize it again. If I pack it away I fear I’ll feel even worse-

    We’re all familiar with the saying “Let’s get it done while I’m still young!” Well it’s getting late for me. The reality of never teaching again is staring me right in the face. It’s as real just like the bullying and defamation I was victim of.

    Everything I’m doing is geared to exposing the administration and making sure that future generations of teachers never have to experience the career disappointment we all have by being bullied, defamed, & driven out of the teaching profession by corrupt administrations.

    Sorry for being a bit down. Certainly there are still many reasons to celebrate life beyond teaching. I need to do an “about face” and find that positive, energetic person I was before this all happened. He’s there, he just needs a swift kick in the a–! (occasionally)

    I’m workin’ on it-

    “KEEP POSTING!” (hellya!)

  • Jonathan-

    Do NOT put that briefcase away! Your resilient spirit is evident in your latest post.

    And I hate to tell you this, my dear Jonathan..it’s really not about you. It’s about all of us: the hundreds of bullied targets from around the nation you and your “never say die!” spirit are helping.

    I am one of them.

    Sincere thanks,


  • TheTRUTH

    “Certainly there are still many reasons to celebrate life beyond teaching.”

    Absolutely correct Jonathan. I quit last month and have never been happier; this despite the fact it’s going to be financially tough the first few months for sure. There will always be other options IF you are open to it. Those who are not will be “stuck” where they are. It’s easy to say to yourself “I’ve been a teacher for so long”….I’ve spent so many years in college to get my masters in Education”…etc. If you are not happy, you CAN move on to better things. You just have to find something doable that will fit well into your personal situation and liking.
    As for what you stated about finding your energetic self again, that will certainly happen if you end up with a fresh, new start. I, myself, have never felt better. In fact, I would say I have not felt this energetic in many years…right before I began teaching!

    Good luck! :O)

  • Susan Nunes

    Well, it’s impossible to go into another field with no second income to fall back on, near sixty years of age, rampant age discrimination, and no way to “retrain,” especially after having already retrained.

    Going into another line of work may be okay when you are young, but it just isn’t reasonable after a certain age.

  • Susan Nunes

    BTW, circumstances largely dictate whether you have the ability to do something else. “Desire” has nothing to do with it.

  • TheTRUTH

    Susan, I was commenting to Jonathan. For many people, it’s the fear of changing careers that hold them back. For others, it’s just themselves which hold them back. Only Jonathan knows if he can, or even wants to. Despite your negativity (since the first time I only SUGGESTED some options which may OR MAY NOT be possible for you), I want to provide some support and inspiration for him and others. Unfortunately, I have heard many unhappy teachers use the excuse of “having too many years in” and so on. It’s a real shame in some cases. So, my reply is not about you. We all know you have no other options and that’s fine.

  • Jason Pawuma

    At my institution of higher education, the bullying of some teachers has taken on a more insidious form: minority teachers (non-Native) are usually singled out for disparate treatment, ostensibly because they are viewed as less sophisticated when it comes to defending their rights. Ostensibly ‘sophisticated instruments’ sometimes deployed as randomized or otherwise, are used. Given the pervasive, deep-seated prejudice that is the hallmark of America, I am not surprised. I wonder, though,sometimes how and why we keep on treading old ground, given leaderships that presumably are or ought to be enlightened. I suppose there are bad teachers as there are bad adminstrators, doctors, lawyers, engineers, economists, presidents, husbands, wives, Walmart workers, rich and poor people- and students, so what’s the beef? And that would be what, the mass of humanity? Clearly, if the answers were as ssimple as we make them out to be, we would have ceased to speak of bad “anything”. The arrogance displayed around stands in the way of seeking and finding lasting solutions. Our problems are ongoing, and new and old challenges keep pestering us: there is no final point, at least not in the present; we just have to keep on scratching and scratching


    Jason P- Hey, new dude – welcome. Can you give an example of a randomized deployed sophisticated instrument? Are you talking about a walk through? If yes, I can almost sort of understand what you are beefing about. I disagree that the “hallmark of America is a pervasive, deep seated prejudice”. I prefer not to be called arrogant, prejudiced, and not knowing what I am beefing about. I am beefing about relentless bullying. Your comment that minority teachers’ bullying is more insidious is not quite accurate. It’s all insidious, and sometimes it is done by minorities. Does that surprise you, or do you think that ground needs to be treaded? Are you saying that anyone who seeks to find solutions is arrgant? Ostensibly, so.

  • Jonathan K.

    Jason- I would say that since Barack Obama was reelected your statement “pervasive, deep-seated prejudice that is the hallmark of America” couldn’t be further from the truth- I take deep offense to that! I’m a white guy who was tormented, bullied, and defamed by other white guys- (go figure?)

    Don’t try & sell me that line about “minority teachers (non-Native) are usually singled out for disparate treatment, ostensibly because they are viewed as less sophisticated when it comes to defending their rights.” That statement is without merit and is deeply prejudiced.

    We’re ALL in this together! I DO NOT SEE SEX, AGE, RACE/COLOR, RELIGION, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR ECONOMIC STATUS as the issue here- The issue is the unchallenged power school administrators have enjoyed and the rampant abuse that results from it-

    All of us here are victims-

    I have blue eyes. I’ll bet there are others here that have blue eyes. Should I assume it was the color of our eyes that got us fired? No- This issue is more about the fact that there doesn’t have to be a reason. Great teachers are losing their jobs and careers because of corrupt administrations… That sir- is why we’re here.


  • abused montgomery county maryland teacher

    I too contacted cindy long and she shared that she would get back to me and give me the name of the nea official who would be dealing with the pervasive bullying of teachers. She never did get back to me.
    IMPORTANTLY, through discovery in our ongoing lawsuit against the montgomery county BOE and our princpal, we now know that our NEA uniserv, Kim Shawn Gary, was sharing confidential information regarding one of the teachers, in our lawsuit, who was planning to send a letter to the principal’s supervisor regarding the principal’s unprofessional/illegal behavior and bullying tactics. Uniserv kim shawn contacted our principal by phone and in emails about this teacher. Our nea/mcea uniserv was emailing and calling back and forth with OUR principal (the abuser) reporting the teachers’ confidential info. to the principal and discussing with the principal and his superior, community superintendent Bronda MIlls,information about the teacher!!!!! The uniserve informed our principal of a letter the teacher had written about the principal and that she was planning to send the letter to the principal’s supervisor,bronda mills.
    Be careful in dealing with NEA. In our case, mcea/nea helped to set us up as targets. Why was MCEA representing our principal instead of the teachers who were literally begging her to help them? Obviously, she was far too busy helping our Principal. As for Doug Prouty, our MCEA president, he told us in a meeting, that our issues with the principal were too political for him to deal with and that the lawyers in our county were deciding everything. Doug Prouty shared with us, “it is out of my hands.” He also told us that 15 to 20 percent of the schools in our county had climates just as bad as our school. We were all shocked when he said that to us.We also met with Jerome Fountain, another NEA official who told two of us, both females, to go into our classrooms, be quiet, and “brighten our corners” – this was NEA’s advise after teachers telling him of the most egregious behavior of our principal toward staff and students. NEA, aren’t we paying your dues for you to represent us????? You have failed miserably in representing your teachers in Montgomery COunty Maryland – I hope this is not the case for NEA in other school districts.

  • Jonathan K.

    Can you say CONSPIRACY? Now add the initials N-E-A! Oh yeah- Just as I suspected. This is a “corral” and the NEA is the caretaker of it-

    Keep Posting!

  • Susan Nunes

    “Being careful” because of imagined retaliation is why teachers don’t speak out. That’s why the bullying continues.

    At this stage of my life I couldn’t care less what the jerks at Washoe County School District think of what I post. Every word I wrote is the truth, and they know it. They aren’t going to do anything to me now. Because of their actions and the lousy economy, I have found nearly impossible to get back on my feet financially. It’s going on FIVE YEARS, and I am still underemployed.

  • Jonathan K.

    Time to march?

    Maybe the folks in D.C. will listen?


  • abused montgomery county maryland teacher

    Susan, I am sorry for what you are going through. You should know that posting on this article is great for all of us that have been abused. When I said “be careful”, it was intended for teachers who are still employed by their school districts with regard to reporting to their union uniservs. Typically, most people who are being bullied reach out to their union for support and guidance. In our case, we found that our union uniserv was helping our principal instead of helping the teachers. I hope that this is not happening in other school districts, but it certainly has happened in ours.
    Again, I can’t tell you how sad I am that you and all of these people commenting have had to go through such needless abuse. Keep faith and you will make it through this. Luckily, we have all found each other and we can all support each other.
    I will continue to read and post, because I, like you, and so many others are telling the truth.

  • Everybody,

    I am considering what “abused montgomery county maryland teacher” wrote. I needed to understand the role NEA plays in educators’ lives so I checked out in more detail NEA’s site. I found something….odd.

    NEA lists: “Educational Support Professionals, Higher Education Faculty & Staff, NEA retired, a student program, Substitute Educators, Administrators, and Urban and Rural Affiliates” as members (at the end of this post I have copied and pasted the NEA “Our Members” page). Teachers (and the word “Educators” to distinguish from “Administrators” and “Full Time Educators” to distinguish from “Substitute Educators”) are not listed. Is that because teachers are supposedly represented under “urban and rural affiliates”? Do “urban and rural affiliates” (like MCEA) also represent administrators? Does Doug Prouty, for instance, supposedly represent teachers and administrators in Montgomery County? Are NEA administrators, who are members, directly represented by NEA?

    That seems like a conflict of interest. It seems to me, like in cases (and we here know there are many) similar to the surreal experiences of teachers in Montgomery County, that representing teachers AND administrators simply cannot be done ethically.

    The following is cut from NEA’s “Our members: Administrators” tab:

    “Effective leadership is fundamental to providing a great public school for every child. School administrators perform key functions in the maintenance and development of schools, their faculty and their students….
    NEA supports these educational leaders to ensure that:….

    Curricula are effective
    Students are learning and achieving in safe environments
    School employees and teachers are nurtured, mentored, and qualified to lead the next generation”

    Am I making sense? I am stunned by my own naivety. I really thought only teachers were supposedly represented by NEA. Wow. It seems, just from what NEA has under “Our Members”, teachers are the only group not included!


    Our Members

    We Are NEA!
    Education Support Professionals
    More than a half million Education Support Professional (ESP) members take care of our children every day and make sure they have the tools they need to succeed in our schools and classrooms.
    Higher Education Faculty & Staff
    Today, NEA is the largest college and university faculty and staff organization in the United States, representing more than 200,000 higher education employees in public as well as private institutions nationwide.
    Our membership today is more than 275,000 and we continue to lead the way in public education and on critical issues including health care and Social Security.
    Student Program
    As a student member of NEA, you’ll have the nation’s largest education association (3.2 million members) working to provide you with tools and resources for a successful career.
    Substitute Educators
    Substitute educators perform a vital function in the maintenance and continuity of daily education.
    Effective leadership is fundamental to providing a great public school for every student. School administrators perform key functions in the maintenance and development of schools, their faculty and their students.
    Urban and Rural Local Affiliates
    Urban and Rural Initiatives strives to build the capacity of and develop collaborative relationships with NEA’s state and local affiliates by identifying and analyzing critical urban and rural issues and the unique needs of educators and students in those
    Whether you are a public school teacher, faculty member, education support professional, retired educator, or a student preparing to become a teacher, NEA and its state and local affiliates have a place for you in our 3.2 million member organization

  • Susan Nunes

    So-called “unions” knife teachers in the back all the time. The one I belonged to, Washoe Education Association, was colluding with the district in various ways in my case.

    Teachers really need something like the Teamsters to represent them, not these pseudo-unions that are little more than subsidiaries of school districts.

    If teachers had any power at all, this thing of bullying would be rare. Also note many if not most principals, even though they are actually management, have unions, too. This should NOT be allowed in any state. Unions are for the rank-and-file, not for administrators in order to make themselves almost impossible to remove.

  • Jonathan K.

    Try filing a grievance against another teacher- Your union will simply tell you they represents them too- So they won’t do it. That’s why the administration uses other teachers to do their dirty work (mobbing).

    Union reps, even regional, want to stay on good terms with administration so they can keep their jobs. They work closely with legal representation of the administration, actually working together to minimize any damage. In my case the regional rep was “in bed” with the administration’s lawyer. He continually set me up to fail. Not too unlike the bad NBA officials who were throwing games, he did a good job for 3.5 quarters and then when it mattered most, down the stretch, my hearings were not allowed. Sometimes I’d get a certified letter on a Friday afternoon saying there was a vote and my Monday morning hearing was not allowed. When I asked for the minutes of the meeting, the attendance, and the names of those who were interviewed- nothing could be provided. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!


  • abused montgomery county maryland teacher

    TRUTH: If the union, MCEA in our case, had done their job, none of us would be in the position that we are in. The union, in our county, knew how abusive and dishonest our principal was but they did nothing of significant value to help any of us. The unions are now operating under the collaborative model, and while that is wonderful in many ways, it is a disaster with regard to protecting their memebers against sociopathic, bully principals. Our union seeks to be collaborative with our admin. but their collaboration is extremely detrimental to teachers who need representaion. In short, we have no representation. I think it is very sad that teachers now must hire lawyers – We had to in order save our jobs.


    Ok, now I am really mad.
    Kim, You are so right… We are mentioned. Seperate from the list: under the heading where it says to join. See the following copied from your email…
    Whether you are a public school teacher, faculty member, education support professional, retired educator, or a student preparing to become a teacher, NEA and its state and local affiliates have a place for you in our 3.2 million member organization”

    So they don’t list us in the good list, just say we should join, and they have a place for us.

    I find it appalling that we are on the bottom of the list. Interesting that they say they have a place for us… Just what is our place? The used and abused, manipulated teachers. Did any one read Animal Farm in grade 7? It reminds me of this. We are stolen from, lied to and blamed for the failures that we did not create. Dare I say it, even killed, but in the form of slow torture. That could not be true, though, it must be that we are such bad teachers and we don’t know how to handle stress. (Hey MOM and DAD, IF you don’t read to your kid, I am going to have a hard time, teaching him to read!)
    And we pay for protection from the above with our Union dues.

    My Union rep does not even bother to call me back. I have detailed my story here in this blog under a different fake name. I was the victim of an ongoing attack by a Prinicpal and his entire administration. I dared to stand up (alone) for myself. A colleague made a formal complaint against me, and my supervisors held a kangaroo court in which the Union reps and supervisors talked to me and the complaint filer seperately in two different rooms. Nothing was ever put in writing about a resolution to “the problem”. (The problem was that I was harassing this other teacher, according to her.) The things she did to me were apparently justified and deserved by me. It was not resolved, it was an intimidation crusade to shut me up. I got out of there at the end of the year. I still have to work under the same area administration, though. Three years later, they asked me to go back to that school. That did not happen. I did not even get an evaluation last year, because “they” are so disorganized. Or IS it a deeper, more insidious reason? I work in fear every day. I was told to play the game, smile, trust no one (I don’t). It really stinks to learn that our Union is feeding our personal confidential information to the very ones that are seeking to get rid of us. I always suspected this, but now it is AGAIN and in a bigger way, in my face. Do you think “they” are trying to get us to shut up on this blog? I don’t, I agree they are feeding it into the hands of our, dare I say it, enemies? Conspiracy is correct. Should we stop posting, and make our own website? Could use Kim’s or start a new one? We could all write to this blog, and say we are done, now that we know our info is being fed to our bullies by our paid protection.

  • abused montgomery county maryland teacher

    I am not convinced that NEA, at the national level, is doing anything with our comments. There are over 600 comments on this site. I don’t think they would take the time to reveal who we are or to contact our districts. To think in that manner, one would have to assume that we have some importance to NEA, and thus far, we know that is completely false . Now, if we had a “Senator” or “Congressman/woman” in front of our names, then our comments would hold importance to them.
    Secondly, a lawyer advised all of us to be talkative about our issues with our principal,our union and our admin. Our union was telling us not to talk about the problems in our school. They kept telling us to be quiet and to “brighten our corners” in our classrooms. Why talk about it? There is a certain measure of safety in honesty and transparency. I believe that the more you talk, the safer you are, the healthier you feel, AND it encourages others to come forward and do the same. We have done nothing wrong.
    Our unions and our administrations have lied and covered up for principals who have done the most egregious things imaginable to staff and students. If we back off or quiet down, we are allowing this to continue. In the end, it is our children who will suffer most. They are being robbed of their education.
    NEA is a political machine, and we are paying dues to elect public officials. We are represented, for the most part, en masse, with regard to pay raises and teacher evals. But, as far as individ. representation, that went out the window years ago. At the individ. level, the local unions work to collaborate and that means that individ. teachers are thrown under the bus in the name of collaboration. I have not given up on NEA at the national level. We must push on and use every avenue that we can create for ourselves. If we don’t, nobody will do it for us. Keep posting and if you need to share something and you are worried, then perhaps send it to Kim Werner’s website.
    We need to go in good faith to the national office of NEA and see what they have to say. We must try to work with the national level, first. If they fall short, then we will create other avenues. PEACE

  • CathyKay

    Comments are not deleted here. They are only hidden if they get a low rating. and “done with discussion” deserved a low rating for his or her comment. “Whining”? All I saw was clear evidence, as shown by the sheer volume of anecdotal responses, that teachers and other educational professionals have no other means to vent, feel validated or feel as if they are listened to. This adds to my overwhelming sadness around this entire topic. I have found myself in a situation one time when I was working under a principal who had definitely reached the level of his incompetence. Fortunately I moved to another state and have since worked in a district that is wonderful. What I have seen, though, is that the good educators
    who are willing or able to stay through the bad times will remain long after the incompetent administrators have moved on.

  • Susan Nunes

    That’s only if you aren’t railroaded out of your career first.