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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Acute Specific Stress Disorder

March 16. 2010.  The zenith.
  Him.  Screaming.  “JUST DO IT!”  Raising up from his desk. 

Menacing.  Seething. 
 Did I imagine the hatred in his eyes?  Do I now?  I have lived this moment many times since then.  

Me.  Ashen faced I am certain.  


Me. Passing his—our—boss, the "next layer of bosses", visiting from our region, in the corridor outside of his office.  I passed the boss entering.  I passed the boss leaving.

 Him. Not knowing our—his-- boss was there.   

Me.  My words.  “I will not.” 

Him.  His words.  “JUST GET ME THE DATES!!”

The “next-layer-of-bosses” boss hearing; probably shaken to have chosen that moment to visit us.  

He heard.  He saw me.  

 Me.  Jaw clenched.  Face pale.   

I looked at the “next-layer” boss. Our eyes met twice. I said nothing either time.  Not entering.  Not leaving either.

This same boss later advised I call the police to accompany me into the school to clear my office.   

 Me.... me.   I brought dates to my bully.  Real dates for real things I had done.  Two dates. Not ten dates. I made certain my assistant principal to whom I handed the form knew I’d made a copy.  

 I returned to my office.  I cried.  I felt desolate and alone. I did not then know how courageous I had been in that moment.   I did not know that even more would later be required. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- May, 2010.  A parent.  A man.  Limited English.   

This same man.  Assertive.  Deliberate. 

Children going to their classrooms. 

This man’s words to my principal.  “This is not just your school.  This is my school.  This is my son’s school too.”   

Him.  Him.  Calling 911. 

Him.  Hell bent on getting this assertive man out. 

Me....me.  In disbelief. 

 I recently read about how in moments of horror, we sometimes freeze.  I froze that day.  I simply could not get my mind around my school leader throwing out one of our students’ parents. 

I simply could not comprehend children, small children with book bags on their backs—some with damp hair—some clutching parents’ hands-- witnessing that.
 I simply could not believe that following my witnessing that egregious act, I was to “go about my business” of counseling children.

It was as if he rubbed his hands together in acknowledgement of a “job well done.”  

My god.  My god.

  How easy to pretend.  Years of pretending had wrapped themselves around this man. 

In that moment I felt raw fear. 


P.S.  Readers, here's a very, very sad thing: My experience is just one of thousands.  I'm just willing to share it in hopes it helps someone out there. 

I ask for your stories of workplace abuse. I look particularly for stories of school leaders' abuse.  There are many.  I will publish them, with little editing.  I will publish them anonomously or not.  You decide.  Just send me the stories at kimwerner@apiecefullworld.com 

You know what?  I'd also like stories of effective leadership.  I now work for an effective leader.  He's simply a nice, fun and respectful man.  It's really that simple!Laughing

Stay strong. 
6:05 am est          Comments

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