We'll look at my specific case. Look
for my comments.
Ok everybody. Listen up.
I want you to understand what's going on here. It's important.
The questions asked IN the policy
are in blue and hi-lighted
The policy's answers to its own questions are in blue and hi-lighted in white.
are in yellow and hi-lighted in blue.
Hope this helps!
Workplace Violence Prevention/Intervention
· Why does (name
of school district) have a workplace violence policy?
Nothing is more important to (school district’s name) than protecting
the safety and security of its students and employees and promoting a violence-free work environment. Pursuant
to that goal, the School Board has approved a policy that prohibits threats (yep, that happened to me), threatening behavior (oh
yeah, that too), or acts of violence against students (screams
maybe?), employees, visitors, guests, or other individuals by anyone on school district property. The
School Board Rule which states this policy is (number of rule).
· What happens if someone violates
Any person who makes substantial
threats, exhibits threatening behavior (calling 911 to have
a parent removed? Swearing at employees? Screaming at children?), or engages in violent acts on school property
shall be removed from the premises as quickly as safety permits, and shall remain off school premises pending the outcome
of an investigation and administrative follow-up. (Oh, now this DID
NOT happen in my case!)
What kind of actions might be taken with a threatening individual?
The school district will initiate an appropriate response. This response
may include, but it is not limited to, suspension and/or termination of employment, reassignment of job duties, and/or criminal
prosecution of the person or persons involved. (Didn't happen in my
case. Nothing happened.....at least for my former school leader).
· What type of behavior is considered as threatening?
Threatening conduct takes many forms in the workplace,
varies in terms of boldness, and can be either verbal or non-verbal in expression. In order to be “ears
and eyes” for one another, we need
to pay attention to any behavior that creates fear in others, scares, intimidates or coerces others, and behavior that may cause emotional (quite a record at my former school.....) or physical injury to others (whether
intended or not).
Aren’t we over-reacting?
Sometimes people make threats and don’t really mean them.
It is understood that most often the person making threats is in need
of help. (THANK YOU! My sentiments exactly!)
It is far better for that person to get help NOW before a homicide, suicide, jail sentence occurs, and/or disciplinary
action is taken. The school district will consider all threats as serious. Whether intended to
be carried out or not, a threat creates psychological distress, is distracting, and disrupts productivity. (I am loving it! District leaders!! You GET IT! We,
your employees, simply cannot work effectively for brutal, violent and abusive school leaders!) Our
employees have a right to work in a safe environment. (Oh
yeah! You ROCK school district! )Violence or the threat of violence by or against students and employees will not be tolerated. through regular disciplinary measures, and/or refer to the Employee Assistance Program, Office of Professional
Standards, the appropriate police agency, or the school Police.
These behaviors include, but are not limited to: consistent arguing with co-workers (BINGO!), adamant refusal to cooperate with others (DOUBLE BINGO!), belligerence toward co-workers or towards
students (YOU HAVE WON THE PRIZE HERE SCHOOL DISTRICT
LEADERS! It might be a booby prize though if you continue to allow such leadership in your schools......),
fascination with or alluding to violent incidents, stating that he/she has been victimized by others, indirect
threats towards others, body language that is intimidating or threatening (Thu-ank Ya-oo!), recurring physical fights, suicidal threats, and posting or sending violent notes, newspaper
articles, or sensational literature to co-workers or management.
· Why should I
report threatening situations? I don’t want to “snitch”
Creating a safer workplace is
a shared responsibility and will not work if you do not get involved and make a personal commitment to the policy. Hey! I did that! You are welcome! It is imperative to encourage early reporting of a threat of violence, because the further along
the situation, the more difficult it will be to defuse.
What about confidentiality?
Your information will be treated as confidentially as possible.
Discussions will be with people who have a genuine “need-to-know.” This includes warning
potential victims, who may be unaware of the threatening situation. Oh
I am laughing! You better tell all the teachers at my former school. Anyone, as you know, can become a victim.
Many, many have....
Are there some things
I should do (or not do) if I’m confronted by an imminently hostile person?
Avoid heroics and avoid provoking an agitated individual
further. Known “triggers” of anger include encroaching on personal space, behaving in a condescending
manner with the person, an arrogant voice tone, lack of eye contact, not listening, and obvious (or perceived) disinterest
in what someone is saying Hey, who are you talking about here?
Because this is my former principal's--and more leaders from conversations I've had with friends-- everyday demeanor.....Oh.
You mean US talking to him! Trust me. No one EVER did this. It was too dangerous. If
possible, talk to him/her in a calm tone of voice. Yep. I
did that. Ask the employee what he/she wants or needs to have in order to get an issue resolved.
Hear and understand the employee. Try and build the person’s self esteem. OMG! If you can’t solve the problem, refer
the individual to someone who can. These techniques may help you defuse the immediate situation. In
any threatening event, it is important that you document exactly what occurred, what was said, and when it happened. Your
information will help others who may get involved in resolving these issues.
Other than the supervisor of the work location or the Police, who
else might intervene with a threatening individual?
Depending on the situation, there are a number of other appropriate resources
that might get involved with a threatening or troubling individual. The Employee Assistance Program has provided and continues
to provide support for individuals who need help in conflict resolution.
What is the role of the
Office of Professional Standards (OPS) in dealing with threatening or intimidating employees?
OPS will get involved when an investigation of a threatening situation has
been substantiated and possible disciplinary action (or maybe a promotion?
So sorry. Can't help a little sarcasm here....) may be forthcoming for an employee. If
emergency assistance is needed, the actions of OPS will be consistent with policy, guidelines, and practice in accordance
with due process.