Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools

May 16, 2012 by twalker  
Filed under Featured News, Top Stories


By Cindy Long

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.

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.”

“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.

See Also: Violence Against Teachers – An Overlooked Crisis?


853 Responses to “Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools”
  1. ann says:

    In the parish where I teach in Louisiana the teachers are not treated with respect and professionalism in many schools and straight to the superintendent. If anything goes wrong with a student teachers are immediately blamed, questioned, and targeted as the reason no matter what the circumstances. I taught in special education for many years and no matter what I did it wasn’t enough to satisfy my principals or supervisors. Your concerns were ignored or you were labeled as a complainer and if something happened because of those concerns you’d somehow be blamed for not doing enough. I quit last year and felt so unsupported and angry but after years of bad health and stressing out I just needed to take a break. Our parish motto is Children First- it should be Administration First! They exist solely to cover their own butts and make themselves look good. (There are exceptions, though, and I wish I worked for those few intelligent rational people!) Even if you tried to contact the union you belong to or tried to systematically document the abuse it would only tarnish your reputation here and you would never be satisfied with the results.

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  2. Bully Louisiana says:

    I am another one of those teachers in a parish in Louisiana who was bullied to the point of no return. Actually the district office knows this particular person is a bully, but because of a simple fundamental issue nothing is done to stop it. This person simply gets transferred when the heat gets too “hot!” This person is in the 4th position and not because of merit! The person actually took a pay check becoming a principal. I tried fighting it but because I am basically a new teacher and do not have tenure, the union told me to resign as a last resort. Being terminated would be detrimental to my record. I have worked in the business industry for many years before becoming a teacher and cannot believe how much power one single individual holds! There needs to be some sort of “bullying law” for teachers too! Children are now protected from being bullied. Why not teachers? I have thought about suicide recently, but because I have a young child, I could never do this to my own. I worked long and hard and finally got a chance to become a teacher in my mid-40′s. When I went against one of the principal’s wishes, which was in my best interest and had nothing to do with teaching, this principal turned on me faster than a wheel on a race car. Luckily last school term the principal went out on medical leave for 3 months and I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful and compassionate person who told you what you did wrong, but didn’t bully you about it and gave you a lot of support! Had the principal not gone out on medical leave, I would have not made it through last school term. Here we are in the first six weeks of school and I’m going visit the human resources manager for possible dismissal. God help me and the others this person has tormented today, not tomorrow!!!!

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  3. Elizabeth Fox says:

    I need information where I can go for help, as an educator who is being bullied. My union has done nothing. Please help me.

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  4. Elizabeth Fox says:

    I need to know where I can go to get help, as an educator who has been bullied/harassed for 2 years, now in the third year. My union has done nothing. Please help.

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  5. Penny says:

    I too have been bullied at the school where I taught. My principal questioned my integrity, why I was a teacher, specifically told me I was not able to teach, and pulled me from my teaching assignment twice in one year. I went to my union rep and have been consistently told there is nothing they could do because a principal bullying a teacher is not illegal. I had great report with my students and their parents. I still do not even know why I was singled out like I was. I have only been a teacher for 2 years and this was the 1st year with this principal. Since I was not tenured she kept using the I can write you a non renewal letter and you won’t teach in this city again. Well she wrote the non renewal and not only can I not teach in that city but all the surrounding cities. As my 1st principal gave me good evaluations, i cannot believe that because of this one person I am unable to get a job. I am a good teacher. I get good scores and have success with struggling students. This is unjust and a shame.

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  6. kim werner says:

    Penny and Elizabeth-

    I am a former bullied target. My former principal is a “known-by-my-district-and-my-union” brute. In fact, my union has told me he is our “Number One” abusive principal. Finally, finally, finally: sleepless, freaked out, stressed out, “I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me” me took a medical leave. Found out about many others who he’d targeted over the years (did that through public records requests), got some sleep…and got mad. Check out A Piece Full World at http://www.apiecefullworld.com for specific guidance on what I believe are the best steps. If your district’s “bullying and harassment” policy includes employees–and mine did–then turn him/her in. Trust me, you have nothing to lose. Better to have him/her on the defensive. Even if you continue to work there, his/her abuse will then look retaliatory.

    Check out my interview with the NEA: http://neatoday.org/2013/06/18/nea-provides-educators-with-guidance-on-preventing-workplace-bullying/

    I have been through the fire. I am reaching a hand into the flames. Hold on. Kim

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  10. Care says:

    Our district people bully teachers and administrators. They come in for intimidating walk thrus where up to 10 unsmiling adults spend 10 minutes in our classes and then go berate the administration because we aren’t doing what they want. We have a scripted curriculum, yet attend all day training where we are encouraged to be creative. When we are creative, we are belittled for not following the curriculum. My school’s test scores, at least in my subject, were the highest in the district this last year. I don’t understand and am looking to find work elsewhere.

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  14. Yb says:

    Teacher bullying and victimization occurs all over the world. It usually worsens, when morally weak, or people with weak leadership skills who are only interested in promoting their skills and position apply for administrative posts.
    In the Caribbean it is the same. It is amazing, how similar many of the stories described here, are to incidences here in the Caribbean as well.

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  15. Kimberly says:

    Currently conducting research on destructive school leaders.

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  16. Lisa Yates says:

    I was a victim of bullying! I was a teacher for 19 years and had a great recommendation and reputation before coming to Desoto Central Middle School in Mississippi. Desoto county Schools. Duane Case is the principal. There were two other teachers on my hall – from day one they didnt accept me. I do not know why.
    They told the principal lies about me and he believed them. He put me on a plan of action – I had to do far more work on lesson plans and turn them in a week early. They were never good enough. I was accused of stealing technology from the school. I had a great rapport with the students and parents. None of that mattered. I went to the asst superintendent for help and was told there was nothing I could do or they would do to help me. I was told I could transfer to another school, yet was unable to. Ultimately, I was non-renewed and run out of my profession of 18 years because of the administration. Kim Burrell – the assistant principal and Duane Case the principal lied about me. I have suffered PTSD because of what I went through. I have been to attorneys in hopes of suing. This kind of thing happens often. Mr Case had done it to people before me and I am sure he is still doing this. It needs to stop!

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  17. Chris says:

    It seems to be the ones being bullied are the teachers that tend to be more hard working and get good results… Why? My guess is for a few reasons… one being that they are naturally self motivated so they set higher standards for themselves and those around them so they tend to speak up when something appears to be wrong or can be done better… All too often Administration doesn’t want any issues brought up so they tend to try to quiet down those who stand up by finding small meaningless issues with that teacher to get them to feel like they will lose their job if they don’t keep quiet. The other reason I have seen is when one teacher feels threatened by the hard work and success of another so they treat them badly and talk about them behind their backs while trying to band other teachers against them. These teachers that have a great rapport with the kids, are in it for all the right reasons, get great results… but are often isolated, eventually eating lunch in their rooms alone and working while the others laugh and joke about them in the teachers lounge and complain about how much they hate their students. No one seems to stand up for these teachers! Maybe its time we support the good teachers and change the rules so bad teachers can be fired. I own a private Sports Academy and if any of my coaches were speaking badly about a kid they would be fired on the spot… that’s not acceptable… so why is it ok in schools?

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  18. Hanah says:

    I am constantly being bullied by my principal. I have been accused and abused to the highest forms. I have been screamed at, yelled at, belittled, threatened, dared, you name it and I have had to endure it. Every other single teacher in this building knows, sees and has heard the abuse that I have received over the past 16 years with this person. My integrity is always questioned, my abiility to teach is always questioned even though I have had the highest test scores in the county for 16 years and higher than the state average most of the time. I never say “no” to anything that I asked to do or to volunteer to do and I am always at my students and parents “beck-and-call”. I don’t understand why this has to happen to any teacher. No one deserves this kind of abuse and neglect.

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  19. Leslie says:

    You are lucky you can be transferred. I am a Registered Nurse and we have zero protection. Now with the nursing glut, the employers are having a field day. Not only are your references checked, companies are hiring private investigators to “profile” you. Nurses are where teachers were 100 years ago. No one wants to protect a “lemon” employee, but perfectly good workers are having their careers ruined.

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  21. Kim Werner says:

    I wrote this as a blog post on A Piece Full World. I hope it helps some of you “out there.” I know it’s helping me–and it takes time–to continue to understand the nuances and dynamics surrounding my having been targeted by a school principal.

    Workplace and school bullying are about power

    “There have been complaints; That’s strike two; I may have to write you up.” My school principal would pass me in hallways and whisper his words of intimidation.

    That’s how his bullying started. It ended, after a year and a half of escalating emotional abuse, with me on a medical leave diagnosed with Acute Specific Stress Disorder.

    The detrimental health consequences of workplace bullying for bullied targets are real. Studies show that emotional violence–and workplace bullying feels like an assault–actually alters DNA. It frays our telomeres. You may not know what telomeres are, but, trust me, you do not want yours frayed.

    Stress hits us hard; hits our guts with gastrointestinal disorders; hits our hearts with palpitations; hits our minds with obsessive thoughts.

    Nathan Fox, a professor of human development at the University of Maryland, co-authored a study of the effects of bullying and violence in children. Dr. Fox found that: “….stress gets ‘under the skin’ and into the genes.”

    It’s hard, then, for teachers to put together dynamic lesson plans when their jobs are in hands of district sanctioned psychopathic principals.

    Why was I targeted at that school? I was targeted because I did not fit the toxic culture the principal had established there. It’s that simple. I was a “half-glass-full-living” individual placed by my school district into a “half-glass-empty/abusive” norm. To survive I would have had to “fit.” I did not “fit.” I did not lie when, towards the end, he screamed at me to fraudulently complete official documents; I refuted his false report against a teacher (he’d named me as a “witness”); and I respectfully asked that he not call me “honey.”

    I was not a “team player.” Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins wasn’t a “team player” either.

    Bullying is all about power and not just bullies’ and their followers’ “power,” but of all the powerful people who gave it to them. The upper echelons of companies’ and school districts’ and football teams’ management are ultimately responsible for assuring safety for people–whether those people are 50 pound kindergarten children, 110 pound kindergarten teachers teaching those children, or 320 pound professional football players. The dynamics of bullying are the same.

    There are two key pieces to preventing bullying. I call them “magic.” The first piece of the “magic” is leadership. Leadership is the framework into which the other piece of the “magic” fits. If companies, school districts, and professional football teams are led at all levels–tippy top down–by kind and respectful leaders who “live” their policies against bullying, the other piece of the magic happens. That piece is trust. If children and adults in schools, and employees in workplaces trust that they will be kept safe from emotional abuse, then more and more will stand up for others. Bullying is prevented from the top down, not from the bottom up.

    Now that truly is magical.

    Contact Kim at: kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com

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  23. Rhoda Ashbaugh says:

    Twenty five years ago I taught in the Pgh. School District and was harassed by an elementary principal. The principal had a history of bulleying teachers she did not like. The union and my supervisor were in her pocket. I started keeping a daily diary documenting every day at work. I sent her a self serving letter every time we had a negative conversation. I sent her letters that she was damned if she answered and damned if she did not. I documented her requiring me to write a state currulum for my area and for free. I had 3 inches of letters. The letter I documented requiring me to write a state curriculum I forwarded to my supervisor and to the school solicitor. I met with the best school attorney in Southwestern PA. He let me have about 15 of his business cards. Every time the principal ransacked my desk, I put his card in her desk. Every time she wrote me a negative letter, I wrote a reply and put the attorney card in her desk. When my supervisor called me on a Friday night at 7:00 PM and cussed me out, I sent him a letter documenting our conversation and put the attorney’s card in the letter. I sent another copy of the letter to the school district solicitor with a copy of my attorney’s business card.
    After my attorney reviewed my letters and diary, he called me. When I said hello, he kept laughing for at least one minute. I said ID yourself or I hang up. He did. He laughed as he said he had not seen anyone tell an administrator that I would’t put up with someone else’s crap. He wanted to know if I wanted to sue. I said call her up and tell after the next bulleying incident, I would file a suit. Never had anymore problems.
    About 5 years later I received a phone call asking me if I wanted to be part of a class lawsuit against this principal. I said yes. Principal lost and was placed on leave for 2 years. She shortly thereafter retired.

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  24. Lori says:

    I had to quit mid-year for the way I was treated as a high school teacher. I went to the union (that I paid for out of my paycheck every month) and they did nothing. In fact it made matters worse for me. Our assistant principal was friends with the union leader. I had to leave because my health was so bad from stress.

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  25. Mary says:

    I was the victim of bullying from my everyone at my school for five years. These people were very relentless in their pursuit to harass, degrade, bully, and destroy me!

    There was nothing I could do to cease the continuous treatment of me. The treatment of me impacted everything I did and how I interacted with the people around me. IT WAS HORRIBLE! I had NO respect from anyone!

    It is pathetic that an educator must be treated this way and NO ONE decided that how I was treated needed to stop. HOW CAN ONE EFFECTIVELY PERFORM THEIR DUTIES WHEN BEING TREATED THIS WAY?!???

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  26. c fay says:

    The school district I worked for let untenured arts and PE teachers go 2 years ago. I was one of them. Recently got a request from union leader, whom I didn’t know, and didn’t seem to do much in way of negotiating for us, to friend me on facebook. Why would she care about friending me? What’s in it for her?

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  27. Mimi says:

    I cannot believe just how pervasive teacher abuse is! I just resigned from a private school where I taught for only a semester (my first teaching job).

    My principal was immature, rude, disrespectful, unsupportive, unjustifiably critical, and extremely passive aggressive. I became so insecure and lost all my confidence, to the point where I genuinely thought I was totally incompetent (which made me lose my confidence in the classroom). I have a master’s degree in history for goodness sake, and graduated with a 3.96 GPA from a reputable grad school.

    Now, my principal played favorites as well – the male teachers could do NO wrong in her eyes. They got away with murder, while I was raked over coals for minor infractions (such as not grading grammar lessons for over two weeks). Other teachers (who had been there for several years) wouldn’t grade their papers for MONTHS (that’s right, I said months), but would get a pass – as a matter of fact, they would get interns to grade their papers for them. The irony is that I was always caught up with all my grading, but because of sheer bad luck, the principal decided to “observe” my writing class on the day I chose to catch up on grading the grammar lessons. To give you context, the students traded their grammar workbooks and would grade each other’s work while I read the answers. The reason why I was two weeks late was because, for two weeks, our grammar lessons were disrupted by school-sponsored extra-curricular activities (a weekly occurrence at this particular school – VERY disruptive). I tried explaining that to the principal but she ignored me.

    That incident was the last straw for me. After all the abuse I endured, I decided that I had had enough, so I quit. Now, they are afraid that I’m going to bad-mouth the school – well, they should be. The students suffered as a result – I broke my contract in the middle of the year because the abuse was directly affecting both my psychological and physical health. I didn’t want to quit because I truly loved my students. One parent contacted me to express her daughter’s sorrow – that I was the best history teacher she’d ever had. These principals should be held accountable for their disgraceful behavior. It is SO sad – so, so, sad.


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  29. Diane Riley says:

    I’ve read this-I’ve taken on line courses where teachers are traumatized by the behavior of the students from elementary to high school. But no one is on the uprise to support teachers. If a student in high school can cus about, GD this and FU that at any given time and allowed to take retribution because of his own rap sheet and a teacher finally tells him the work he is doing is worthless, and he is worthless – the kid who receeives F, gets referrals constantly, braggs to class out loud about masturbating on the bus and finally after the semester is over the kid has an .075 and the teacher decides over the computer calculations to give the kid a break and give him D instead of an F. But guess what? After the semester is the students MOther presses charges on the teacher for calling her son worthless-and marking it in his gradebook as coded with W’s. Different issue, but the W’s were for intense watch for lab evaluation or not so intense-depending on level. Anyway-the Teacher is investigated 3x over by his principal for allegedly calling a kid worthless. No matter how many times he was sent to the Office and returnng laughing it up and disrespecting the principal – the teacher had to put up with it.
    The kid won!!! The teacher is suspended without pay for the 3 days due to this lewd and defiant child who’s mother believes he can do no wrong. The teacher had to go to the office of Professional Standards and be slammmed by the OPS investigator and his principal. He had one union rep – who interjected and was shut down and basically told to stay out of it. Nice huh?
    The principal went out of her way for this parent to go after the teacher. The teacher is respected by most all of his students-if some of the worthless ones – he tries to motivate kids who can’t read and will never be anything in their life unless they learn a skill. This teacher teaches Construction with power tools and has a large class load. Very little room for defiant behavior. Schools are sending kids who are disruptive to these off campus votech schools just to get them off their campus-there is no support from union. The union has not done one thing-no lawyer-no investigation on the kid or is lewd family from which he comes. He was not given any of the statements the principal collected from the students. Only that three kids (the one kid and his friends no doubt) stating the teacher called him worthless all semester. But not until the end of the semester does this kid tell his mother – Im guessing to cover his bad grades and the bus referral (that was never investigated properly). He is also going after the teacher’s assistant and stating that he “felt threatened the whole semester” because she would throw things at him. Not true, but the truth is that he loves to instigate fights/trouble (cheap entertainment I guess) as seen from his rap sheet from the school year before. I am heart broken over the fact that when people want to teach they have to walk on egg shells and basically work with animals who get away with abusing their teachers day in and day out with full parental support and administrative back up. These enabling parents will regret this as the generation comes upon them from other’s who have the same children. They all grow up and too many these days are growing up to be like monsters and ill educated ones at that. On the flip side we have many parents who ae supportive and do raise good kids and encourage their kids to get an education but not at the cost of their cheap entertainment of defiance and disrespect.
    I don’t see this country ever having the education system to teach children and help children make better choices-too many (not all) parents just want to hack away at teachers who try first kindly to motivate. But when the child bully’s the teacher and refuses to learn – then what is there to teach? Nothing-the child is taking up a seat of one who does want to be there and his/her behavior should not tolerated at all – Teacher’s word should be honored so they can do what they enjoy doing – teaching – not defending themsleves-not speaking back to a kid in frustration – there should be no teacher frustration in the classroom. But if you are abused verbally everyday by anyone your human side will react eventually. Is it worth 5 years of college to go in this field – I think not! This is shameful and needs to stop. If the NEA is listening at all they need to get on these superintendents who are trying to hide their discipline problems in the school. They need foster parent guidance for kids who have more than one page of violations against another student and/or teacher. It does not appear the field of psychology is helping at all infact it is getting worse. Kids are born to molded not played with forever – they need structure, they need to learn boundaries and consequences – this just isn’t going to happen and our future is going to become very bleak. You need to listen to these the people in these posts – you need to look at the social networks of the parents of these kids and see for yourself what teachers are against. It is appalling!
    What say you?

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  30. Beth says:

    I’m starting to think that a small tape recorder should be every teacher’s friend. When a principal or administrator decides to bully, it’s just a matter of putting your hand in your pocket and pushing the record button.

    In many states, there are no longer teacher’s unions. That was the first thing the new governor eliminated when he got into office 4 years ago. States were looking at ours – Wisconsin – in hope we cod set a precedent, and we did our best.

    Teachers are now threatened with job loss because of test scores. Smart people know that test scores only represent how well or how poorly a child is doing on the day of the test….and only on the day of the test.

    I don’t go to a pediatrist if I have a toothache. Similarly, I don’t want administrators telling my child’s teachers how to do their jobs. Teachers don’t teach to get rich. They do so because they love their jobs. Unfortunately, I think there are fewer and fewer teachers out there who love their profession nowadays because they’re busy trying to do their jobs and keep their jobs.

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  31. TO all the devoted teachers, Principals and other bullied in their schools and not protected in their district.
    This website could help you after you experienced BULLYING FROM TOP SCHOOL OFFICIALS.
    I know it can be devastating and the worse travesty imaginable, but remember you are not alone.

    Remember by standing up for yourself and others you are a real HERO.

    I have read heart wrenching stories of Teachers and others that consider taking their own life over these actions of there bullying tormentor. We need good Teachers, Principals or other school staff like you and the perpetrator is not worth losing your life over. You would be missed in your classroom, on campus and in your school district and the lives of all the students you have touched, their families, your worthy
    co-workers, friends and family.
    Do not impower this bully by not being here any more and making such an impact in so many other peoples lives.

    I know things are very difficult in Louisiana and several other schools and districts across the nation.

    God bless you for the lives you have touched, the difference you have made with students and learning in your classrooms and on campus.

    Best Regards My Friend,


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  32. gr says:

    Rockland Public Schools, MA bullying of teachers and staff workers by administrators (the principal especially). Relentless abusive blaming tactics to try to push you out to cover up incompetence. The latest tactic to remove tenured teachers in a bad economy. Destroys health. Doc says I lost 20 lbs, depression, anxiety, illness. Staff is scared so everything looks fine on the outside, but rots underneath.

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  33. devotedbutdepressed says:

    It’s not just administration that bullies teachers. Parents do it too. And they do it because they have been given such easy pathways to accuse teachers and don’t have to provide any details or evidence. This has happened to me. I have been accused of bullying a student. Through interviews with students who were pulled from my room, with staff who are in my room most of the day, and through comments from other parents who are very happy to have me teach their children, it is apparent that I am not a bully. I’ve never wanted anything but the best for my students – and I’ve had a LONG career. I have high expectations (as we are supposed to) and my classroom is not allowed to become a circus. Unfortunately, because I won’t allow my students to behave any way they want, one set of parents has decided that’s bullying. They were easily able to file a report which is readily available online and were not/are not required to give any details. This has come out of the blue and is not only ruining my health but also my ability to teach. Because of the lack of support I’ve gotten, I feel I have no other choice than to “present” rather than “teach” the curriculum, allowing students to do only what they want and not pushing any of them to do their best. Just trying to keep a job until I can retire. It’s very sad what teaching has become. I would NEVER suggest that someone go into this field!

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  34. Rooney says:

    Hi everyone. Man, I thought I was alone. I just started to teach math at a middle school for gifted children in the Chicago public school system. I have worked literally day and night. My principal gave me a below average rating, even though I raised test scored dramatically. The principal (who is very young and inexperienced)hasn’t responded to any of my emails, and makes continues sarcastic comments I should step it up. I really don’t get it. I am pretty sure I am being let go very soon. I am on medication to deal with the stress. Again, I feel with my fellow teachers, who do a great job, but are getting bullied continuously. I truly love teaching, but being in my mid thirties, and still relatively young, I am ready to get out of teaching and take a lower paying job.

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  35. Ralph Thiel says:

    Living this bullying nightmare right now. Nearly 30 years as an award winning educator and being stripped of teaching the subject area I received my Master’s Degree in. Our staff is voiceless and scared or playing up to the new boss. Looking for another teaching position currently… going to be nearly unbearable if I must teach at my present school next year. Considering retiring at 55… long before I had planned! Seeing district HR Director.
    Hoping to get some sort of relief from this stressful situation… I hate feeling this way!:-(

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  36. LearningBetter says:

    I am in a situation where a small group of teachers who share my same job description are rude to me when together, but most act fine when I talk to them individually. At one point I was accidentally included in an email where there was gossip about me. I did the dumb thing- I ignored it. At this point I should have at least kept a copy of the email and it would have been better to involve a union rep. Although I get along well with others, I may have looked like I was having difficulty because of my avoidance of working with this group. I think my trouble started after I shared a relevant idea with one of these teachers who shared the idea with administrators as her own-this made me look like a liar when I shared my idea as my own. The other teacher is young and beautiful. I can understand that she would be believed in a heartbeat. Plus when the administrator asked me where my idea came from, I could not remember where the seed of the idea came from until afterwards. I tried to bring it up at a later time, but the administrator was not interested.

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  37. Newport News Virginia says:

    My principal was determined to get rid of me, even though I was a highly performing teacher. She came into my classroom repeatedly looking for problems and couldn’t find anything. She even had to give me good scores on my observations. She finally got me, though. I forgot to bring two pieces of paper to a data conference, and she wrote me up and put me on an improvement plan. I decided not to put myself through the misery of her ‘plan’ that was obviously intended to get rid of me anyway, so I never went back.

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  42. hi there says:

    Hi, I’ve been reading the post and comments and I have a question. How can a student report bullying from a teacher or school administrator? I am curious because administrators at my former high school bullied the students a lot, and I went to one of the lowest ranking and poorest high schools in California. I think that is why they felt they could bully the students since many of them are minority students whose parents are mostly immigrants and from low-income backgrounds. I want to know what can a student do to protect themselves and if they have resources and people out there who will look out for them when the people (I.e. administrators) who are supposed to protect them are their bullies. I still hear from current students at this former high school of mine of being bullied by the administrators. I don’t know how to help them, so hopefully someone here will have some advice. I have been trying to look things upon online about it but there is nothing on it just as some if the commenters on here said that there is not much on work place bullying in education.

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  43. What to do now? says:

    After 19+ years teaching I’m now having to file unemployment, create a resume, and try to decide what I’m going to do next…I’ve been “laid off”. Years of well educated students, parent requests and great evaluations has come down to being labeled “ineffective” because “…has her window cracked open and some children appear to be cold” – for 19 years I have cracked open the one and only window (the emergency exit window) in my room for fresh air, when it is not frozen shut that is. NO ONE has ever complained about my window being cracked open in all those years and I have NEVER been cited for having a cold room. I’m “ineffective” because,”…she finds the music I play annoying and not conductive to learning” – again for 19 years I’ve played music in the class from classical to meditative to nature sounds and again NO ONE has ever complained. These are just two of the many outrageous statements on my evaluation which is full of “it appears”, “it seams”, and other statements that are completely subjective in nature. I have had a target on my back for no less than 5 years when I began to push back against treating children as a score and a dollar amount. I did not blindly follow without questioning “The Powers That Be” (Principal, Superintendent, and all their buddies).
    So, here I am, single, just been deliberately labeled the worst teacher in my building/district in order to be laid off after 19+ years in my district, and now trying to figure out what to do next . I’m sorry so many others have had similar experiences but also relieved to know I’m not alone and that the anxiety, panic attacks, health issues, fear and emotional stress are, unfortunately common for many of us who have been bullied. My fight is not over, union lawyers are working to see what legal steps can be taken against the unfair and unprofessional evaluation I was given.
    I’m considering retiring, I’ll have 25 years in when everything has been calculated. I’m wondering though, what career path to some of you take when ending your teaching career? Teaching is all I’ve ever wanted to do….

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  1. [...] Current Event: Teachers are now being victimized in schools and 25% of employees in medium-sized schools have reported being bullied or seeing another employee being bullied.  A teacher from Augusta, Maine told her story and proved that administrators do bully teachers. http://neatoday.org/2012/05/16/bullying-of-teachers-pervasive-in-many-schools/ [...]

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