The tide is turning. I think people are sick of being asked
to participate in school districts' "farce dances." I think we are all asking ourselves--I know I am--why
are children in ever greater peril from bullying: both perpetrators and targets? Why aren't policies working?
County Public Schools' "farce dance" is danced with a latin beat. "Uno! Dos! Tres!", 'la prevencion
de abuso escolar (bullying) rueda (wheel)' participants/employees cry out as we practice our farce dance steps. We spin
and dip. Female dancing employees are passed from male dancing employee to male dancing employee in a fast flurry of
quick, exhilarating movements. Our administrative "rueda leader" calls out the steps. He gets irritated
when one of us screws up. La rueda must continue...no matter what. Doesn't matter that we are exhausted. Doesn't
matter that we just keep going 'round and 'round in ever more complicated movements. It only matters that we keep dancing
and that our "prevencion de abuso escolar rueda" looks good.
Here's one of the dance steps with which we are having some
difficulty: the "Cinco Lecciones" step. The "Cinco Lecciones" step is causing us some stress.
It's really complicated and because many of us are just plain worn out from learning the "La Respuesta a Intervencion
(RtI) step, we want to stop. Regroup. Maybe consider a simple line dance step. . "Que sigan!", cries our rueda
leader. "Uno! Dos! Tres!" And so we dizzily dip and heartily stomp so that those who have faltered;
those who have maybe said, "Cinco lecciones! Por favor! I can't even get one done!", get the message
that getting the "cinco lecciones" done is NOT IMPORTANT! The important thing is that WE KEEP DANCING!
Even more important is having the dueño of the studio SEE US DANCING!
"Si, Si!" we exclaim, "We love to dance!
Cinco Lecciones is a particular favorite!"
"UNA BRULLA!", we holler in unison. "Uno! Dos!
all fall down.
Broward County Public School's Superintendent Robert Runcie is shaking
things up just north of me. He is using employee evaluations to assist in evaluating principals! The question
"Does my principal care about my needs?" from the teacher satisfaction survey will be used as one piece of the evaluation
am crazy for that man!
me tell you the Broward County Principals' Union is going nuts. All over that one! Outrage! Indignation!
"A witch hunt!," its leader cries.
I have often pondered principals' evaluations. In Miami-Dade County
Public Schools, principals are evaluated by their superiors: Regional Directors. Regional Directors rarely actually
see principals in action. They certainly don't check with schools' staff members.
I think, in general, they
are pretty much just friends with the principals. That's how principals are evaluated.
I know that's true for my and
many other victims'/targets' former abusive brute. He received accolades from his boss/friend: the Regional Director
at the time. They had worked together when the Regional Director was a principal and my and the other targets' abuser was
an assistant principal.
Following my taking a medical leave to recuperate from the emotional abuse I'd experienced,
I requested to see my tormentor's personnel file.
What amazing evaluations! What people skills! What fine leadership......
gooooood friend the Regional Director was/is!
There was no mention of the-who knows?--probably hundreds--of unanswered
cries for help from his victims/targets. Not one. Neither of the K.Ws' reports were there. I am one of the K.W.s.
J.P. was missing. No mention of M.D. No M.N. Certainly M.L. was not there. She was still in
the midst of her hell. J.B. was absent as well.
There must be a rug somewhere in the regional offices with my former principal's
name on it. It's got a lot of dirt under it. Each time a new regional superintendent takes over, he/she inherits the
rug and the broom. They start sweeping too.
The only thing in my former principal's file--yippee!--were exemplary
evaluations year after year after year. Some of the earlier evaluations are signed by a district superintendent. I've
not met her. I've been told though that she is the true protector.
So, although Broward is not using its employees' complaints
as part of its principals' evaluation process (that, Mr. Runcie is a mistake): I am thrilled. Finally!
Blackburn’s office has created a new matrix which ranks each principal in the district. Using the bottom 25 percent
(approximately 50 principals), he has determined that the principals ranked at the bottom are “poor performing”
or “low performing’ individuals. The criteria he chose to use to create the ranking is 1) a principal’s
VAM score; 2) the answers to the question, ‘does my principal care about my needs on the student customer satisfaction
survey; 3) the answers to the question “does my principal care about my needs “ on the teacher satisfaction survey;
and 4) the total number of complaints a has principal received by the area director, and for which the area director became
involved; i.e., had a meeting, made a call , etc.. Supposedly, these complaints do not include BTU complaints, but that is
unclear. Obviously, this criterion is non-scientific, biased, subjective and frankly nonsensical. Many principals on the list
had very high VAM scores and were rated highly effective at mid-year on the BASA instrument. Despite my repeated discussions
with the District regarding the fact that we do not believe this is a just or legal process, they are moving forward."
Runcie! You ROCK!
Recent letter to Robert Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Schools
Dear Superintendent Runcie-
Thank you! Thank you for protecting your employees. By protecting your employees from the prevalence
of bullying principals, you really are protecting Broward's children. Mr. Runcie, I simply cannot tell you how grateful
I work in Miami-Dade County Public
Schools. I started A Piece Full World, www.apiecefullworld.com, as a resource for "all things bullying."
I link to the NEA's article about principals' bullying. It's on the menu bar. There are close to 750--let me write
that again--750 responses. That's hundreds and hundreds more than the next most popular article. That article,
too, is about bullying administrators. I communicate privately with lots of victims/targets from across the nation.
I also tell my own story of abuse. My story belongs,sadly,
to many MDCPS employees as well. I have learned much about the dynamics of workplace bullying in schools since then. Following
my experience, I attended The Workplace Bullying Institute's training in Bellingham, Washington.I needed to understand every
nuance of my surreal time as a bullied target of a well documented over years abusive principal. Many went before me. At least
two have followed me.
I've come to know that children will
never truly be safe from bullying if we can't/don't keep employees safe from the same.
I am also an Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer. I trained
with Aimee Wood. Aimee and I were selected to be trained through FASA's "Florida Bullying Prevention Initiative"
of 2009..Aimee was selected to be trained through Broward Schools, so she works for you! I was selected as a FASA consultant.
Aimee and I partnered in 2009. I assisted in an Olweus
training in Broward and she, then, assisted me with an Olweus training in Miami-Dade. She is simply the most dynamic,
fun, and supportive co-facilitator with whom I have ever worked.
Thanks again, Mr. Runcie. From what I read and see, you are doing the RIGHT THING. I often quote
one of my heroes: David Lawrence Jr. Here's a favorite quote. Maybe you will like it too.
"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)."
Sincere thanks, again,
Kim Werner, Creator
A Piece Full World
Workplace Bullying Prevention Trainer
Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Trainer
----- End forwarded message -----
Sent: Friday, May 28, 2010 6:06:27 AM GMT
-05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Fwd: Important/More/Again
I make note of this. I see how the stress of daily harrassment,
or the anticipation of that harrassment has affected my health. I hardly slept Tuesday night. In addition to my anticipation
of another meeting of bullying (see below), I was fretful about a fellow employee. I feel he and a female employee who had
asked for my help are being exploited and coerced by Mr. O. This however is not why I write. I anticipate O's wrath at my
having spoken to them. I have taken 3 days of my sick time to recuperate. I feel strenghened.
----- Forwarded Message
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:35:13 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Fwd: Important/More/Again
I add this. On Monday Mr. O swore at the morning meeting. "Jesus Christ!", he said as I answered
his questions about assisting a fellow employee. Ms. B, Ms. C and Ms. H present. Ms. H took this opportunity to say this--
"When are we going to have that meeting with Kim, Mr. O?" Mr. O stated that he would see how "this week went."
I felt insecure. I believe this will be another meeting of bullying. I am again sleeping poorly. I feel threatened and harrassed
by that comment.
Ten Key Indicators of the Almost Psychopath:
From: "Almost a Psychopath" by Ronald Schouten and James Silver.
1. Are they superficially charming and glib, with an answer for everything?
2. Is there a lack of empathy, i.e., an impaired ability
to understand and appreciate the emotions of others and the impact of their behavior on other people?
3. Confronted with a difficult moral choice, do they more often than not rationalize and arrive at
a decision to act in their own self-interest?
4. Do they lie repeatedly,
including when it is unnecessary or for minor reasons?
5. Are they conning
6. When they get criticized for something, is it always
someone else's fault?
7. When they cause harm or hurt to others, is there
a lack of true remorse?
Do they seem to have limited capacity to experience and express feelings for others or maintain relationships?
9. Do they find it easy to ignore responsibilities?
10. Do people and situations exist solely for the purpose
of gratifying their needs and wants?
Desperate notes to myself as I began to piece together the abuse I'd experienced:
I wrote this in the fall of 2010. I used these notes when I consulted
with an attorney. I also shared it with my regional superintendent when he and I met. We were alone, so he could deny that
I told him. His name is on no documents either. I guess, hypothetically he could state he'd never met with me.
I really don't care about all of that. I just keep telling the truth....even if, as Gandhi states, I am a "minority of
one," the truth is still the truth.
how I started my first conversation with my regional superintendent: I read what I had written in preparation for my meeting
with an attorney.
manipulation, coersion, threats, humiliation, upbraiding and more..."