Pondering, then, about hats and lives...
How might a bullying principal justify his abuse to his superiors?
This, of course, supposes that his boss is not his good friend and on the school board. That was the case for me.
My former principal is a friend of one of my district's school board members. That member--before he knew that
I was "the one" who reported his buddy--seemed to like me a lot. Once when he was visiting my current school--and
I did not yet know how close he and my abuser were--he and I had a lovely discussion about how to end bullying for children.
He and I laughed together. It was such a great and invigorating encounter that I decided to share with him my having been
bullied by one of his principals.
He, sadly, did not, appreciate that.
He now doesn't look
at me or talk with me at my school. He was there last school year. I greeted him twice. I made eye contact and
I smiled. Each time he looked through me...as if I wasn't there; as if he'd just as soon I disappeared...
No smile of course, and, he has a nice one.
I think I am perplexing to him. I think he does
me; likes my enthusiasm; likes my authenticity. I got enthusiasm and authenticity--man, I can wax on and on about how
to stop bullying. I am articulate and focused when that's the topic at hand. But start talking Common Core and
Florida Standards and testing and data and my eyes glaze and water.
I am just not much interested
in that. Well, I am actually interested in Common Core. I am interested in getting rid of it. I am interested
in researching it and finding out the "Who's Who" players in that debacle destroying our public schools' teachers
and students' vibrancy.
But that's a topic for another blog... Today's is devoted to (Oh yes! Again!)
bullying principals; men and women who should be arrested and instead lead schools, torment teachers and emotionally
"She's not a team player," my former principal might have said about me to his boss buddies,
as he ruefully shook his head. In his testimony after charges of ethics and responsibilities violations were brought
against him, he and his assistant principal stated that I had an "assertive way" and could be "confrontational".
I still marvel at that. I was simply trying to help children. He (and she--for she follows his every lead;
her name on so many documents against guiltless teachers) was not. He screamed at children--now that's "assertive".
He used profanity--now that's "confrontational".
Now, all of that is sarcasm and
I'm not good at sarcasm.
Saying: "No" to his demands to commit fraud is neither assertive
nor confrontational. It's courageous. It's rare.
Saying: "Please treat me
respectfully" when derisively called "honey" over and again is not confrontational. It, too, is rare.
Helping a colleague who was scared out of his mind that his night shift boss might physically harm him was not meant to
be confrontational--oh no!--it was meant to honor a man who'd come to me as his only source of assistance. He'd reported
an incident of his night shift boss threatening him with a hammer; following him in his car (remember there were only two
men and one woman working at night) to our administrators only to be told in essence that he was the problem.
He, too, folded,though, and wrote a letter of apology to the principal.
"That's a life
you can hang your hat on..." You'll not, at least, hang the hat of accepting abuse on this life of mine.
You will though, I hope, hang the hat of working hard to help other abused educators on this life...
Ah, now that's a pretty hat!