A Piece Full World

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"Ten Steps to Some Sanity" for Bullied Educators
Bullied By Your Principal? Start Here.
An Abuse Full World: Kim's Personal Story
Kim's Blog
David Lawrence Jr.
Apologies to Dr. Seuss
A District's Bullying and Harassment Policy.....
A School District's Workplace Violence Policy
Kemp Mill ES
NEA Articles About Bullied Educators
The "Bully" Movie
U.R.A.J.E.R.K.
NAPTA
Services/Contact Kim
Helpful Links

 "There is no perspective when it comes to abuse. 

There is only abuse."-K.W.

 

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"Public education is being mobbed and bullied."
--Kim Werner

Click here for your state's model "Bullying and Harassment" policy!

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A Piece Full World's goal is to end bullying in our schools.  When employees are safe from workplace bullying and children are safe from school bullying, we transform our schools into places of honor, courage and character. Ultimately, we transform our world. One school at a time, we put together the pieces of....

A Piece Full World.

Click "No Place for Hate!" The Anti-Defamation League has terrific resources for creating a school wide bullying prevention program!

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"Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct or for being years ahead of your time. If you're right and you know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth."
--Gandhi
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Click for Minding the Workplace

"Real progress requires pushing and shoving and urging and cajoling and coaxing – and then pushing some more (courteously when you can, not so mannerly if the former doesn’t work)."  
--David Lawrence Jr., The Children's Movement 
 
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School Board Rule:Responsibilities and Duties states: All persons employed by the School Board of (School District's name) are representatives of the (School District's name). As such they are expected to conduct themselves, both in their employment and in the community, in a manner that will reflect credit upon themselves and the school system. Unseemly conduct in the workplace is expressly prohibited.

School Board Rule: Code of Ethics states: All members of the School Board of (School District's name), regardless of their position, collective bargaining status or role, because of their dual roles as public servants and educators are to be bound by the Code of Ethics..to create an environment of honesty and integrity...the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all..strive for professional growth and seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity...to achieve and sustain the highest degree of ethical conduct.

Teacher w/pre-school students
Click for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

 

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"Be ashamed to die before you have won some battle for humanity."

Horace Mann

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Click here!
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Join the movement!

Click here for U.R.A.J.E.R.K: A humorous play starring Mr. Bully Boss and Captain Effective Leader.

 

"You only need a high school diploma..."

It's been eleven years since I retired from a major airline and took up this "do-gooder" cause of school counseling. I was a flight attendant.  I worked hard.  I loved it.  Language qualified in French, Portuguese, and Spanish, I traveled the world, danced salsa in places one would just not think salsa would be danced; ate foods pretending I'd understood answers to my "What is this?" questions, and met people who, although one might think we'd have little in common, were really just like me.  They just happened to live somewhere other than where I lived.  We shared laughter and smiles. We'd sleep (if we were lucky on those cramped silver tubes with wings) and awaken in new places--both passengers and crew--jet-lagged and exhausted, but excited; either to be home or to be a visitor.  

I was paid to do all of that.  Paid well.  Paid to stay in superb hotels, eat wonderful meals, visit places that this girl from rural Ohio would never have visited otherwise.

It was a good life.

I gave all of that up to "make a difference". "Life is short," I said to myself when offered a full time public school counseling position.  I'd spent a year in a temporary slot at a local high school and was invited back full time. "If I don't do this now at 48, I will never do it," I thought to myself and so, with an opportunity to retire with 26 years of salsa dancing around the world behind me, I filled in some paperwork, punched in numbers on a fax machine, and watched that paperwork "beep-beep-beep" its way (face down!) through and out of the machine. I watched in fascination as I became a retiree of one job and a "newbie" of another.

"On to better things!"

It's been eleven years and I look back now because another retirement is, I believe, coming.  I feel it.  I feel the inner push to get out of this oppressive place of public education.  Feel the need to breathe.  Feel the need to say: "Get off of me layers of people--superintendents and school boards and directors and principals and governors and Bill Gates/Eli Broads/Jeb Bushes--GET OFF!"

For you see, I am at the very bottom of a heap of the "naked-like-the-emperor" people of public education and its reform...and it stinks down here.

It's been eleven years of being a public school counselor in a large urban and diverse district. Looking back now at both of my careers--the one for which I needed only to have a high school diploma and the one for which I needed a master's degree--I find, again, the inner mirth rising.  

I made more money, had more independence, felt more respected, had a more profound impact, more fun and more opportunities to contribute at the job that required only a high school diploma. I slept better at night, ate better meals (mainly because those meals were prepared in wonderful restaurants around the planet and the meals I eat with my current employment are meals I cook in my kitchen, but nonetheless...). 

At the "you-only-really-need-a-high-school-diploma" job,  I participated in lots of special projects. I hired flight attendants, trained them to be leaders, and worked as a liaison to management. I'd make my own travel plans, find my own transportation, and "set up shop" all on my own.

I was trusted.  Didn't have to check in with anyone-just had to be where I was expected to be.  My company knew I'd do a good job.  That's why they'd selected me.

I've had a different experience at my "you-must-have-at-least-a-master's degree" job. I make less money and have no independence. I feel frustrated and disrespected. I have little trust in anyone of my district's leaders and my district's school board for they have an agenda clearly different than what they say that agenda is. They say they care about children and then they place violent principals in their schools.  They say that employees must live ethical lives, but they themselves don't live ethically, for--and again--above all else, they protect their principal friends, even with the irrefutable evidence of the danger those principal friends bring to the teachers of those schools and the children those teachers teach.

I've had six principals in my school counseling tenure.  Three of those principals have been excellent and I will write about their excellence later. Two have been abusive, bullying, and violent individuals--unpredictable, histrionic, petulant, and dangerous men; dismissive and misogynistic.  Downright scary.

One principal was unavailable, ineffective, and rarely left her office.  She'd raise her hand, for instance, and tell me she did not want to know anything about any bullying case. Once I took pictures of graffiti that'd targeted teachers--it had spilled from bathroom walls to the school's hallways--and again, I was rebuffed.  So, yeah, I was frustrated. 

As has often been the case, it felt odd that I was seemingly the only one noting that the school's tumble into mediocrity could be laid at this principal's office door.  She was celebrated, literally, for being a queen.  At her retirement, a throne was put on the school's stage and red carpet laid out as she regally took her seat. It was, at best, perplexing.

I felt vindicated, though, when I was copied on a parent's email to my superintendent.  That parent's frustrations at my principal's inaccessibility, lack of warmth and, really, lack of leadership was exactly how I, an employee, had felt. 

I've had a principal threaten to write me up simply for introducing myself to parents (I'd done it without his permission--imagine that!).  I've had principals call me and "forbid" me to meet with community members wanting to partner with our school.  Imagine that.  I've had a principal for whom I DID NOT WORK call me and ridicule and threaten me--put me on speaker phone with others present--about my efforts to partner with my community's leadership and my community's public schools to create a bullying prevention program for all of us. "You're not the only one who knows the police chief and the mayor..." Imagine that...

I've had regional leadership call me.  I thought it was to thank me--how naive--but no: they'd called to tell me "I did not represent the district." I've had directors of my district's "bullying and harassment department" (because that's what it is--they bullying with the best of them) visit me in my office and call me on the phone--all to shut me down.  Their naked behinds are the first in the stinky heap; the first I want to GET  OFF!

I've having a hard time pushing though and so, It looks as if I must retire to get out and get some fresh air.  

Next up: three excellent principals...and thank you, Jesus, I work for one of them now.