Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools

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

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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?

Comments

869 Responses to “Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools”
  1. Kim Werner says:

    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! :)

    Kim

    “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.”

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  2. Jonathan K. says:

    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”

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  3. EM says:

    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.

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  4. Catherine says:

    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.

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  5. PPK says:

    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.

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  6. Stcatz says:

    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.

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  7. Kim Werner says:

    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?

    First:

    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.

    Second-

    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.

    Kim
    kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com

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  8. montgomery county maryland abuse victim says:

    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.

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  9. EM says:

    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.

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  10. EM says:

    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.

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  11. EM says:

    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.

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  12. Jonathan K. says:

    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—

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  13. Kim Werner says:

    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.

    Kim

    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/

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  14. 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!
    STSS

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  15. Roberta Lazar says:

    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!

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  16. Jonathan K. says:

    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”-

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  17. Kim Werner says:

    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.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html

    Kim

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  18. Kim Werner says:

    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.

    Kim
    kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. Jonathan K. says:

    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 !!!

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  20. EM says:

    Thank You all…

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  21. Kim Werner says:

    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.

    Thanks,

    Kim Werner

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  22. Sue T. says:

    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.

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  23. Jonathan K. says:

    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-

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  24. EM says:

    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.

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  25. Kim Werner says:

    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.

    Kim
    kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com

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  26. Jonathan K. says:

    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!)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  27. EM says:

    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.

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  28. Kim Werner says:

    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.

    Kim
    kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com

    I truly feel that saved me.

    I

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  29. Jonathan K. says:

    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-

    KEEP POSTING!

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  30. Another year begins says:

    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.

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  31. Another year begins says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/500-000-jersey-school-kids-forced-eat-floor-014349593.html

    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.

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  32. JJ says:

    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.

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  33. Kim Werner says:

    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.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/08/14/students-split-500g-settlement-after-being-forced-to-eat-lunch-off-floor/

    Kim
    kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com

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  34. Jonathan K. says:

    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!

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  35. 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.

    http://theassailedteacher.com/2012/07/07/the-killing-of-mary-thorson/

    http://saveourschoolsmarch.com/workshop-panel-presentations/documentary-dying-teach/

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  36. Shelly says:

    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.

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  37. Stcatz says:

    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.

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  38. Stcatz says:

    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?

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  39. Samantha Stevens says:

    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!

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  40. Jonathan K. says:

    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?)

    KEEP POSTING!!!

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  41. Kim Werner says:

    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.

    http://neatoday.org/2012/02/07/how-bad-education-policies-demoralize-teachers/

    Kim
    kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com

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  42. RVG says:

    “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!

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  43. Jonathan K. says:

    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!)

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  44. montgomery county maryland abuse victim says:

    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?

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  45. Jonathan K. says:

    THEY STIR THE SOUP, BUT THEY NEVER SERVE IT!

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  46. Jonathan K. says:

    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?

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  47. Kim Werner says:

    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:

    http://www.nea.org/home/Bullyfree-Take-the-Pledge.html

    Hang in there everybody.

    Kim

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  48. Eastern NC teacher says:

    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?

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  49. Susan Nunes says:

    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:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/the-c-a-p-education-reform-proposal-save-america-s-schools-by-cutting-administrators-pay-with-federal-legislation

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  50. Jonathan K. says:

    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)

    KEEP POSTING!

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