Friday, November 18, 2011
I've Changed My Mind.....
For those of you new to A Piece Full World and to my blog,
this post follows previous posts about my experience of workplace bullying.
8:04 pm est
Here’s what happened in
2008. Soon after I started at my former school, I came upon two teachers arguing in the hall.
I asked if I could help. The dispute was about how to allow students to leave classrooms and others
students to enter to most effectively clear hallways. Both teachers had good ideas. Both
discussed the issue. One became exasperated and walked away. She then returned and apologized.
I was impressed with her return to say she was sorry. I thought the issue was resolved. I
was very, very wrong.
What I did not know at that time was that
my principal had his sights set on her; that he truly would do anything to exact revenge on those who he felt had been disrespectful
or disloyal to him. He felt she had been so.
I know now that she, like me—though not yet--
too had stood up to him and requested to be treated respectfully by him. I have seen her reports.
I have read of her desperation.
I did not know yet of how his perception of being a team
player—and not being a team player—depended upon doing things he demanded, saying things he required and in all
instances asking no questions.
Thinking that inconsequential interaction
over and done, I was surprised almost a year later to receive a call from my school district’s Office of Civil
Rights. My principal had named me as a witness in his actions against this teacher. His
goal was to remove her from the school; the district and pretty much assure she never worked as a teacher again.
Shocked to hear he’d
written in official documents that he had “debriefed” (my word) me on the issue and that what he’d stated
I’d seen and done was untrue, I told the interviewer--with great distress (I was, after all, refuting my principal's
testimony)-- the truth. I told her that he’d not spoken to me about it and if he had, I would
have told him that the targeted teacher’s behavior was appropriate.
I hung up
the phone that summer of 2009. I looked at my husband. I said, “It’s going
to be a difficult year.” Sure enough, at the payroll sign in sheet the first day of the 2009-2010
school year, my principal stood. “You didn’t support me,” he said as I approached. My heart pounded. I asked that he look me in the eye. I said “Please look
at me. I told the truth.” He responded, “That’s a problem.”
It was a problem.
Before I begin to tell you of my surreal year of hell, I step back. For you see, 2009-2010 was
my second year “under his command.” 2009-2010 was my work life’s defining year.
And I did, in the end, okay. In the end, I escaped. I escaped with my honor.....and my job.
Please do not think I use words too heavy for this situation. I do not. This then is a part
of holding onto my honor and integrity.. This memoir is a piece of my healing.
Until next week,
P.S. Why have I decided to tell my story? Because I have asked to do so. Simple as that.
Click here for my district's bullying and harassment policy. You will see I have made comments....