Ask The Principal

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The parent /advocate of the bully

One of the teacher's or administrator's difficulties in dealing with school bullies is dealing with the parent(s) of the bully. Have you heard the expression "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" ? One cannot presuppose that there will be a level of cooperation from the parents of the bully. In fact, an almost automatic adversarial relationship often develops as soon as bullying behavior is brought up with the parent. Bullying tactics are then demonstrated by the parent toward the teacher or administrator.

The teacher or administrator often becomes "gun-shy" when it comes to getting on the phone to the parent of the bully to report another episode. Administering discipline becomes an arduous process and the skill of the attorney in describing why the bully needs to spend a day or two at home is needed. Then of course the savvy parent brings in other resources claiming that their bully is being mistreated by the school and his/her civil rights and right to a "Free and Appropriate Public Education" (FAPE) is being infringed.

I had a student whose "guardian" had the ACLU fax me a letter stating that I was giving the student an inadequate educational opportunity because I was wanting to limit his exposure to other students at the school. The superintendent didn't want a confrontation and so we just put everyone at school, staff and student alike, in a place where we had to "tolerate" this student's antics. As long as the student didn't physically hurt someone. The mockery endured by the staff resulted in anger and even tears of frustration. Thanks ACLU for being such a great reason for homeschool parents to continue homeschooling!

The pressures on teachers and administrators to maintain a positive learning environment are often tested, even overcome, by pressures placed on this educational venue by other outside sources that can trump the safe school attempt.


  • Mr. Principal,

    I quoted you in my blog today and I put a link to your post as well. I posted before I asked for permission- so please forgive me! If you would like me to take the link off my site please let me know.

    Thanks in advance, Imajackson

    By Blogger Imajackson, at Thursday, July 13, 2006 1:05:00 AM  

  • Dear Imajackson,

    You certainly have permission. Read your post and have to shake my head and smile. I've been where you are and where the AP and Principal had been. I can just hear that mother going off :-). Amazing how unreasonable the adults in the school seem to the mind of a parent whose child can do no wrong :-). Have a great day!


    By Blogger The Principal, at Thursday, July 13, 2006 1:26:00 PM  

  • Just checking in to say, I think you're doing an excellent job blogging. Your posts are very informative.


    By Blogger Spunky, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 8:12:00 PM  

  • Spunky,

    Thank you for your encouragements! I'd like to do more but you'll see why I'm partly restrained in my next post.


    By Blogger The Principal, at Sunday, July 16, 2006 4:54:00 PM  

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