A Piece Full World

Kim's Blog

"Ten Steps to Some Sanity" for Bullied Educators
Bullied By Your Principal? Start Here.
An Abuse Full World: Kim's Personal Story
Kim's Blog
Apologies to Dr. Seuss
A District's Bullying and Harassment Policy.....
A School District's Workplace Violence Policy
Kemp Mill ES
NEA Articles About Bullied Educators
The "Bully" Movie
Services/Contact Kim
Helpful Links


Archive Newer | Older

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Under the best of circumstances..."

Circumstances are not "the best" for many children. They're not even "the mediocre." They're just "the plain awful". Children pack their emotional bags with the circumstances of their lives, sling the bags onto their backs, and bring them to school.  Some open the bags for all to see their circumstantial contents. 

 "Look at this," they might say.  "Look at my pain." 

A twelve year old girl might open her bag and say: "Oh, that's my uncle touching my nipples when I was ten. He still does.  Last night he kissed them. He's my mom's brother.  Says it's our secret.  

He always brings me great gifts at Christmas.

And that? That's my mom wrapped up with the ribbons of her screams. Do you see?  I've wrapped her tight in my mind to shut her up but I can still hear her. She blames me for lots of stuff.  She's never ever said anything to my uncle but she knows.

That's the boy who calls me a whale and a cow. He's in my homeroom. He makes fun of me with loud 'moo's' as he walks behind me. Gets others to laugh too. 

I deserve it.  I'm fat and I'm ugly.

Those kids don't know about my uncle and my mom. I don't think they'd care anyway.

I got an 'F' on my last reading test."

Other children are reluctant to even admit they have their bags of circumstances with them. 

"I got no problems!", the thirteen year old boy might defiantly say. "I don't know why the fuck this bag's so heavy! So what me and my mom's living in a shelter.  So what I ain't seen my dad for six years. I don't care! I can take care of myself!..."

Because he always has. He, too, did not pass his last reading test.

The marijuana toking bad ass rich kid's got his bag of circumstances too.  It's filled with parental inattentiveness.  He just does what he wants when he wants.  He wants to ride skateboards, play basketball, have sex with his girlfriend, and smoke weed.  He does not want to do homework.

He passed his reading test.  He is not, however, "making required gains."  In fact, his test scores are slipping.

Children bring to school bags packed with "attitude" and disrespect.  They bring bags packed with fear; with insecurity.  They bring their anger and their frustration.

"Under the best of circumstances..."

Bill Gates' circumstances were pretty good when he was a boy.  He had two parents at home.  His mom and dad had enough money to send Bill to a prestigious prep school.  They probably assured he had nutritious  meals.  Maybe they limited his TV watching.  

To my knowledge he never experienced sexual or emotional abuse.  Probably an exasperated parent yelling at young Bill to finish his homework was the most challenging circumstance he faced.

Or maybe it was a failed attempt to make the prep school basketball team that led him to his garage filled with computer gadgetry. The "lemon" of not making the team led to his multi-billion dollar Microsoft "lemonade". One never knows how blessings will be disguised.

Bill now wants all children to have the same educational opportunities that he had at his private prep school. If children don't, then he says it's teachers' fault.  

"Great teaching", Bill might say, "will make up for any of those awful circumstances in those heavy bags children bring to school.  Teaching will take care of neglect and poverty and any one of the myriad of circumstances packed into those bags.  A great teacher will take all of that away!  Never mind, children, that you didn't have breakfast this morning!  Never mind that it is your responsibility to get yourself up and out of bed and to the bus stop by yourself because your mother is working the night shift and doesn't get home until after you're sitting in your homeroom bleary eyed from lack of sleep and supervision!  Never mind all of that!  Your excellent teacher will take care of you!  Will pound word drills and reading passages into you so that you will "demonstrate gains" and pass that assessment test that I and my team have devised!

So what you don't have any elective classes.  I can't measure guitar playing gains!  I'd have to talk to a teacher for that and that's something I don't do--talk to teachers.

That does bring to mind though, the pernicious issue of how to evaluate elective teachers' greatness; the guitar teacher and the PE teacher and the art teacher... Guess I'll just base their evaluations on your reading assessment.  What the hell?! Got nothin' else!

Anyway, back to you. young man living in a shelter. And you, sexually molested girl.  I'll take care of you and give you opportunities!  I'll do it through assessments and data and evaluations.

And if you don't pass high stakes tests--those you must pass to be promoted or to receive your high school diploma--I'll give you lots more opportunities to pass them! I'm fair!  I'll let you be a sixteen year old eighth grader!  I'll hold you back until you get it right! 

Because I," Mr. Gates seems to say, "I run the show."

Next up: Money talks...and is defining education policy.

9:23 am edt          Comments

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Last year...

 Elizabeth Fox says:

"I need information where I can go for help, as an educator who is being bullied. My union has done nothing. Please help me. I need to know where I can go to get help, as an educator who has been bullied/harassed for 2 years, now in the third year. My union has done nothing. Please help."

Penny says:

"I too have been bullied at the school where I taught. My principal questioned my integrity, why I was a teacher, specifically told me I was not able to teach, and pulled me from my teaching assignment twice in one year. I went to my union rep and have been consistently told there is nothing they could do because a principal bullying a teacher is not illegal. I had great report with my students and their parents. I still do not even know why I was singled out like I was. I have only been a teacher for 2 years and this was the 1st year with this principal. Since I was not tenured she kept using the I can write you a non renewal letter and you won’t teach in this city again. Well she wrote the non renewal and not only can I not teach in that city but all the surrounding cities. As my 1st principal gave me good evaluations, i cannot believe that because of this one person I am unable to get a job. I am a good teacher. I get good scores and have success with struggling students. This is unjust and a shame."

kim werner says:
Penny and Elizabeth-

I am a former bullied target. My former principal is a “known-by-my-district-and-my-union” brute. In fact, my union has told me he is our “Number One” abusive principal. Finally, finally, finally: sleepless, freaked out, stressed out, “I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me” me took a medical leave. Found out about many others who he’d targeted over the years (did that through public records requests), got some sleep…and got mad. Check out A Piece Full World at: http://www.apiecefullworld.com for specific guidance on what I believe are the best steps. If your district’s “bullying and harassment” policy includes employees–and mine did–then turn him/her in. Trust me, you have nothing to lose. Better to have him/her on the defensive. Even if you continue to work there, his/her abuse will then look retaliatory.

I have been through the fire. I am reaching a hand into the flames. Hold on. Kim

7:46 am edt          Comments

Saturday, June 14, 2014

An example of how awful it can be in our nation's schools...

 Cronyism and favoritism from school boards and districts' superintendents allow abusive tyrants into schools. Pleas and prayers from desperate staff and parents of children within those schools--and huge numbers begging to get out--go unheard.  In fact, it is those reporting--68% of the staff in this case--who are deemed "the problem".

This is from 2011.  This time in Texas.  In 2014, the same principal reigns...


Golbow Elementary Administration Accused Of ‘Bullying’ Tactics, Teachers Say They Work In Fear

Saying they have been bullied, belittled, disrespected and forced out, more than 50 teachers, parents and former educators from Katy ISD’s Golbow Elementary School showed up at Monday night’s school board meeting to plead with trustees to investigate the situation at the north Katy campus.

The speakers said the current campus administration has created an atmosphere of fear among teachers and parents with tactics of intimidation and retaliation.

Even a retired principal from Golbow took the podium to address the school board about the situation.

The one thing nobody mentioned publicly were the names of the people they blame for much of the problem. Privately, they identified those individuals as school principal Ann Smith and her top administrators, assistant principals Ceci Perez and Felicia Sheedy.

Even before being invited forward to address the school board during the public comments portion of the meeting, Katy ISD Board President Judith Snyder issued a warning to those who had signed up to speak. Snyder told speakers if they attempted to voice “complaints against specific personnel, we’ll have to ask you to cease at that time.”

Third grade teacher Cynthia Cameron was the first to speak about the problems at Golbow, telling trustees the staff felt “bullied” and intimidated.

Less than 20 seconds into Cameron’s remarks, Snyder interrupted with yet another warning, telling the veteran teacher “employees may not complain to the board until all (internal) appeal processes have been exhausted.”

Cameron persisted, saying Golbow employees were “being bullied and treated like we’re not trusted.”

“It has become difficult to work at Golbow because it appears the district does not trust us,” she said.

One parent told the board “teachers are scared for their jobs” and parents were “frustrated” and felt unwelcome on campus.

“Teachers are preoccupied with toeing the administration’s line,” he said.

Former teacher Cindy Petrowski, a 21-year educator, told the school board she resigned after last year because of the “atmosphere of fear” at the school. She also said teachers were routinely non-renewed or pressured to resign over their perceived support of the school’s administration. One of the teachers forced out at Golbow took a position in another school district, only to be recognized as a teacher of the year in that district.

Fifth grade teacher Tobias Whitman told the board he had fallen into disfavor after being asked for his “honest opinion.” Whitman said after he voiced an opinion the school administration did not like, he was “targeted.”

Because of the stress of working at Golbow, Whitman said he has been placed on medication for high blood pressure and depression.

“Teachers are constantly threatened and constantly living in fear of their job,” Whitman said.

Possibly the most compelling testimony came from retired Golbow principal Terri Majors. She told trustees “there is an unhealthy, psychologically damaging work and learning environment at Golbow that has been created and fueled by the current administration.”

“Behaviors and actions of Golbow’s three administrators injure the staff’s self-esteem, cause anguish during work hours, are perceived as hostile, unwanted and unwarranted. These actions defeat the goal of providing a happy, positive learning environmental for the students,” Majors said.

She also said the school district’s human resources department was complicit in the retaliation against teachers.

“There is documented ongoing support for Golbow’s current administration by the district’s human resources department despite the large volume of teacher resignations, transfers and non-renewals that far exceed the norm,” Majors said. “At the end of the school year, 68 percent of the teaching staff at Golbow when the new administration was hired will be gone.”

Majors also noted teachers were reassigned to “incompatible positions” to force them out. Examples included an art teacher with no classroom experience reassigned to first grade; an ELS teacher with one year experience assigned to special education; a fourth grade math teacher transferred to second grade and others.

Majors also said the ongoing controversy is also affecting students.

“Students are taught in an atmosphere in which teachers are bullied by administrators and fear for one’s job is palpable. Recognition by students of their teachers’ emotional distress impedes their ability to learn at optimal levels,” Majors said.

Majors and the others asked the school board to conduct an investigation into their complaints and the situation at Golbow.

Board members did not respond to any of the comments and no action was taken.

7:09 am edt          Comments

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I unabashedly claim workplace bullying expertise...
I am an expert in workplace bullying.  I make that claim, not from the extensive research and training I've done and had on the subject--although I've done much and had much since my horror--but from experience.  

I am a workplace bullying expert because just thinking of my former principal makes my eyes close as I shiver.  I am an expert because my jaw clenches at thoughts of him; him with a spreading leer--starts right under his nose and extends up and out across his face--and squinted eyes.  

I am an expert because I sat in my office at that school alone often; excluded from the "goings-on" in the main office by him, his counselor friend, the assistant principal, and her counselor mate.  I am an expert because, although at that time--at least at the beginning--I was perplexed, now I am grateful for their exclusion of me.

The lawsuits were on the horizon and they'd not handled them well.  As an aside, though, it didn't matter how they handled the lawsuits.  It didn't matter that they outright lied and formerly documented lies for all are either still in their positions or are being rewarded for their allegiances to his brutality. His "second-in-abuse-command" (maybe "in command", for I am only now beginning to truly recognize how dangerous she is) counselor buddy and the assistant principal's counselor buddy--the assistant principal and her "matey" once told me they'd bonded by together going through years of his fire--are still in their positions at that school. The assistant principal is now elsewhere a principal. 

He is still the principal there.

I am an expert because memories such as the following will never leave me: I saw him lean over, his mouth inches from cowering and sweating children's faces, those he'd made stand in corners--or rather told someone else to make stand in corners--and scream loud and harsh words. I'm an expert because I was scared at this almost daily greeting to my entering the main office.  

I'm an expert because I did nothing.  I let those poor children stand there --guilty of something; running through hallways perhaps; a roll of their eyes, but not deserving this--and endure his wrath.  I once saw his spittle, like dust in rays of sunlight, strike a child.

I am an expert because I reported my abuser.  I turned him in; turned him in to the power players of my district. I spoke honestly and forthrightly about his bullying.  I laid it and my job on the line thinking that my district's big shots, working to keep me safe, would applaud my courage and truth.

I am an expert because when they didn't do that; when they kept him instead of me safe at that school, I was hurt.  I was surprised.  I got mad. 

It is my anger and outrage that educated me; had me gobbling up all tidbits of insight into my horror; drew me to angry and outraged others--job security be damned!--had me audaciously seek and share public records. 

Ah! those records are enlightening!  

I unabashedly claim expertise in workplace bullying.  I claim it because I earned this outrage and this anger.  I claim it because, I, like my former assistant principal and her counselor friend at that school, went through fire.  

My integrity has not yet been burned by his fire.  

But theirs has been burned to a crisp.
2:56 pm edt          Comments

Archive Newer | Older

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