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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I have peeked behind the wizard's curtain...

I am amused, now, at how scared we, school employees, are of "mucky-mucks." We--schools' employees--think our muckies know what they are doing and that what they do is effective for children. We are mostly wrong. What most of our muckies do is effective for each other.

My formally reported case of abuse by a known and well-documented-prior-to-my-case principal was a big, fat, and hot potato tossed from one mucky to the next. Muckies calling me. A Dr. Mucky called me. A district mucky didn't call me. I had to call her. She was in charge of our bullying and harassment policy so it made sense to contact her. She's recently been fired from her position, though, because her employees reported her for bullying. That's a story for a later time.

A district supervisor mucky--he was mucky in covert icky and dirty ways too--called me. He was the mucky who outright lied and said in formal documents he did not know I was the one at whom my principal was screaming when he (the mucky) was right outside the door and had witnessed me entering my principal's office. He was the one who said my principal's "voice was raised" but he didn't know "with whom he was conversing"... Ha!

A superintendent mucky met with me. He's not the muckiest of the mucky. Still. On the mucky totem pole, my case ended up pretty high. As high as it could go in my region. Climbing that high--although totem pole climbing is not a particular strength of mine--was effortless for me. I had a lot of help. The hard evidence and documentation of lies and altered documents pushed me right on up to near the top of my district's mucky-mucky totem pole.

Once I got there I spent some time with a nice man, my region's superintendent (there are only three of those now--so, as I said, pretty darn high on the mucky totem pole) who I know now was not really interested in helping me be safe....he was really interested in knowing what I'd documented and what I knew. Wanted to meet alone with me. I think he may have been a little scared. I think he may have been scared because, this time, documentation and evidence had pushed someone all the way to him. He, instead of me, appeared to be the deer in the headlights.

He got over the being scared quickly though. Behind the mucky scenes, he had a lot of help.

I didn't. I just had papers and emails and documentation of abuse by a man who has had a lot of practice at abuse.

I think my superintendent missed a grand opportunity to do something great for his region and for his employees. He had an opportunity to rid a school of an abusive principal and by doing that make a statement. The statement to his teachers would have been this:

"I support our children. I support you. I will not allow abusive leadership to interfere with your classrooms.

For those of you who have been targeted for abuse, please accept my apology for not keeping you safe. I will not allow abusive leadership to ruin your careers and your health. I know all about these leaders. I know of all of your reports.

For those of you who have become your abusive leaders' followers, know this: I understand. I apologize for not keeping you safe either. I apologize for putting your integrity at risk. Know that I understand that you aligned yourselves with bullying principals because you knew that was the only way not to be targeted.

For all the rest of you who are watching and waiting to see what I do, I apologize to you too. And know this: I will remove them from your schools. I will keep you safe.

I got your backs."

That message would have reverberated throughout my district. That message would have been a salve to the battered and wounded educators in schools, not only in our district, but throughout the state and perhaps the nation. That's how powerful that honest and simple acknowledgement would have been.

My regional superintendent, sadly, did not have my back. And by not having my back, he showed other employees that he did not have their backs either. He only had the abusive, almost psychopathic principal's back.

I was really hopeful that he would have our backs. Even through the hell of the emotional abuse I experienced, I knew/know myself to be "half-glass full" living. I thought then to myself, "Wow! Look at this! I am meeting with my REGIONAL SUPERINTENDENT! He seems nice. He seems to want to help keep me safe at my school. I am going to tell him everything."

I trusted my regional superintendent. I trusted that he would do the right thing. I even asked him, in some innocence, at one of our meetings--in so many words--if he had my back.

He didn't. Instead I believe my region's superintendent folded to powers above him. Powers that masquerade as friendships. Powers that protect abuse. Powers that probably are abusive themselves. Powers that allow abusive principals to reign terror in schools because really, really high mucky mucks are "beholden."

I think my regional superintendent, like me, was bullied. He has bosses too. And I believe it is one of those bosses who has warned him to keep his hands off of that pile of hot potatoes--the many reports of bullying and abuse by this man-- that he inherited. I think there is someone above him unwilling to admit a mistake; unwilling to say something like: "Ok abusive principal who I have known since you were a baby, you had your chance. You blew it. I will have to tell your mother on you."

I think, instead, that district leader said to my regional superintendent, " DO NOT TAKE ACTION AGAINST MY DARLING....EVER. For if you do, you will be sorry."

I suppose, then, it was a courageous thing for my regional superintendent to sit alone with me. Was he or I to be the lamb to slaughter? Who was to be "sacrificed" this time to keep the abuser safe?

I imagine that after he'd met with me, he discussed my case at length with district attorneys and district mucky mucks.

"What can we do to keep this quiet?" they must have pondered--all of them; all the $200,000 plus muckies doing what they do best--protecting each other. "What can we do to protect the boss' darling? What must we do to "shut her (me) up, like all the others?"

I don't think my former principal is my regional superintendent's darling. I think he is a district darling. I don't know why. I am honestly thinking there is some kind of "we grew up together" thing going on here; or a "your-mother-and-I-were-cheerleaders-in-high-school-together-and-I-told-her-I-would-take-care-of-you-no matter- what" kind of thing going on.

Frankly, it is most perplexing, with all the reports and the documents and the lies--and the good and fine people more and more willing to tell the truth--that my district continues to protect my former abusive leader and others like him. So being cheerleaders together in high school, or football players for that matter, is pretty much the only thing that makes any sense.

That protection makes me think my district's leaders, because of all the reports and all the good and fine people more and more willing to tell the truth, are simply allowing him to stay put because if they don't he will "TELL ON THEM" too.

Ah. It is ugly. It is awful. It is the way things are.

For now.
6:28 am edt          Comments

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Click here for my district's bullying and harassment policy. You will see I have made comments....