April 19th, 2014
Let’s Talk for Kalola: The Bully is the Assistant Principal
Dear Kalola, My story began 3 years ago when we got a new assistant principal. The first incident that happened involved myself and my aide at the time. I was told by the principal I was moving grade levels but not to discuss it with anyone. So I honored the principal’s request. The assistant principal (AP) told her/his spouse about the change and the spouse told my aide who was shocked that nothing was said to him/her. My AP called me into the office and yelled at me for telling people. I pointed out that I did not and directed the AP to her/his spouse. The spouse admitted leaking the “secret”. Although small it really bothered me that AP heard gossip and based on that attacked me. The next events centered around MAP testing. He/She did not want us to use scrap paper. We fought and pleaded. We contacted our assessment coordinator who finally allowed us to use scrap paper. The same year my 2nd grade team scored extremely well on the paper test with the majority in the distinguished range. We were told that next year we would be given a harder test. So we teach 2nd grade but now we are given the immediate map test. Of course scores significantly dropped and we were told we were the issue. Our AP attacked us in a PLC meeting by yelling, throwing paper, and threatening us. We have went to our principal and superintendent several times and each time they state they are working on a solution. Our AP spreads mean gossip about myself and my team. The AP also has the resource teacher spying on us to create false accusations. They both turned us in to OEA Office of Educational Accountability) for cheating on a test with our building principal being the proctor. The case was unfounded because it was a total lie. The AP held our faculty Christmas party at her/his house and we were not invited. We were told not to have any contact with him/her so we go through our building principal who is just trying to sneak on out and retire in less than a year. My health has been affected tremendously. My blood pressure and anxiety meds constantly change. The AP terrorizes others in the building. Seven people have transferred because of her/him. I am working on getting out myself. The AP’s toxic leadership is ruining our once caring and achieving school. We are in desperate need of help. Another teacher from the same school wrote the following: I was initially bullied by the assistant principal (AP). The AP yelled at me for going to the bathroom before a meeting. I had been having problems with the AP for three years, it started when I wanted scratch paper and pencils for my students during a county-wide testing. The AP said “no” so I contacted the state department and was told why wouldn’t you use paper and pencil for a math test. The AP was furious that I went over his/her head to find the correct answer. He/She started isolating me from my peers and telling lies about me. The AP finally convinced our resource teacher that he/she should contact the office of educational accountability and turn my whole team in as cheaters on the test. The principal was our proctor and was very mad that she/he was also accused of helping us cheat. We finally got the investigation cleared after getting our district lawyer involved. Now I am bullied by both the resource teacher and the AP. I am not the only teacher bullied by the AP. The AP often accuses other teachers about talking about him/her and spreading gossip that was simply not true. We won’t answer critical questions to newly implemented programs. The AP is very obsessive and compulsive about what she/he does and very paranoid. He/she is a big person and once bullied a teacher by cornering the teacher in her/his classroom and wouldn’t let the teacher out. When the AP started screaming at me I walked away and he/she chased me telling me to come back or I would regret it. After the AP caught up with me I walked away again and I could hear him/her yelling at the top of her/his lungs to get back there. My blood pressure went up for days. I missed several days of work and I feel like I have PTSD from this episode. I currently have a cardiologist now and he is telling me to get out before I die of a stroke. The AP is not allowed to come near me but continues to bully others. The AP has a group of friends that are in the safe zone but actually no one is safe. He/She constantly belittles teachers. She/He has grandiose ideas that are never followed through. I have been teaching for 23 years and have had great success with my classes but my health is failing from all of the stress and anxiety.
Dear Concerned Teachers,Thank you for writing in and sharing your workplace bullying experiences, what you have observed, and how these experiences have affected your health. It is a rare instance when “Let’s Talk” receives more than one letter about the same workplace and the same bully. Instead of being ousted, too often, bullies in the field of education are either moved to another location or promoted. Seldom do these individuals lose their jobs. In order to try to oust the bully, it will take research and work to show that the bully is too expensive to keep. How many teachers and staff have transferred to other schools because of the bully? What are the recruitment costs to replace a teacher or staff member? What are the costs of calling in sick and not going to work? In your cost figures, do include the costs for a substitute teacher. As a result of the bully’s assertion that there was cheating that occurred during MAP testing, what were the legal costs incurred by the school district? Has the school district been involved in other legal cases involving the bully? The bully is the Assistant Principal (AP). What did the AP do?
- accused teachers of talking and gossiping about him/her
- yells at teachers and staff
- isolated a teacher from peers
- enlisted an accomplice to help bully and spy on targets
- at a Professional Learning Communities (PLC) meeting yelled, threw paper, and threatened teachers
- harassed a teacher by cornering the teacher in a classroom and wouldn’t allow the teacher to leave the room
- chased and screamed at a teacher who walked away all the while yelling at the teacher to come back or he/she would regret it. When AP caught up with the teacher, the teacher walked away, and AP yelled for that teacher to come back.
- accused a team of teachers of cheating and reported the team to a state agency, the Office of Educational Accountability (OEA) because the team allowed the children to use scratch paper and pencils during a Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing
- excluded some of the teachers from the school’s annual holiday party
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