A Piece Full World

Kim's Blog

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Preventing Bullying...

Comprehensive bullying prevention must be a community demand. For example, I work in Miami Beach.  If the City of Miami Beach were to say, "Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) we are disappointed in you.  You've not done a good job keeping our schools' children emotionally safe from bullying. We know that children need to feel safe in order to learn. We need more than your lip service. We need your action. Bullying children are at as great a risk for long term consequences as bullied children.   And what about the children watching?  They too suffer.  

We also know that teachers and their individual classrooms are critical to the process.  We want you to educate yourselves first on what it takes to institute a community wide bullying prevention initiative and then educate the teachers, administrators and counselors in our schools.  Show us that values truly matter to you.

We are here to help."

And if MDCPS were to answer, "Sure. We acknowledge that we've screwed things up. We will work with you.  Thank you. In addition to doing our very best at assuring all children are emotionally safe, we will also do our best to make sure teachers are safe.  We understand that children cannot be emotionally safe without their teachers being safe as well. We will, in fact, set up a program of teacher empowerment in regards to workplace bullying.  We will have a committee of trusted teachers in each school that will evaluate the leadership in all our schools. We know we have a lot of work to do to assure our schools' principals are trusted.  We understand that there are many principals in MDCPS in need of help. Counseling.  Referrals to the EAP.  We understand that when teachers feel safe, they communicate that confidence to children in their classrooms. Just as we will not allow teachers to scream at children, we will no longer allow principals to scream at teachers.

We admit we've made mistakes. Again, thank you for partnering with us."
Why is there more bullying in our schools?  

Schools and their principals are evaluated on standardized test scores.  Period. There is a "no teeth" anti-bullying policy and a "Values Matter" campaign, but if a school earns the much desired "A", principals can behave as egregiously and dangerously as they want. Because employees are used to a double standard when it comes to ethics--one set of standards for teachers and a different one for school leaders--there is much cynicism and fear.

I recently re-certified as an Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer.  I appreciated that there was a module that addressed the issue of perceived "no time" due to standardized testing.  That particular module, instead of a fatalistic viewpoint, looked to organized sports and PE classes as opportunities for character building.  The module acknowledged that teachers are just too anxious and too busy preparing children for tests to focus much time on respect building activities in their classes. 

According to that particular recertification module, there is, unsurprisingly, a lot of bullying in organized sports. When children quit sports, it's most often because they're not having fun. Sports are too competitive.  There is (like standardized testing!) too much emphasis on winning and not enough on team building and fairness.  There is disrespect and bullying. 

But bullying doesn't have to be "just the way it is" in organized sports. Coaches do not have to yell and scream.  Players do not have to mock and taunt each other.  Parents, too, can behave respectfully.  The locker room does not have to be a place of cruelty and sexual harassment.  Hazing and belittling need not be coaches' "go to" strategies.

Sports, like school, can be fun.  Children can be motivated and inspired.  They can learn.  Learn to be patient.  Kind.  Learn to mentor others.  

Another missed opportunity for school districts, is effectively shifting schools' cultures from ones of sarcasm, ridicule, mocking and unkindness (bullying) to ones of honesty and inspiration.  Adults can smile and greet children.  They can be present in bullying "hot-spots."  Mornings, as children wait for schools' doors to open, adults can simply be present in parks and playing fields. Teachers and students in classrooms can discuss issues related to bullying--direct bullying and in the cyber-world.  

None of this is easy.  There can be no box checking in regards to preventing bullying and creating respectful schools.  There is much work to be done.  Education too.  There must be a true commitment from the superintendent and the school board to end bullying in our schools.  

So: Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Miami Springs, Miami Lakes, South Miami, Pinecrest, Hialeah, Key Biscayne, Goulds, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Homestead, City of Miami, East and West Kendall, Florida City, and Coral Gables make some demands.  Respectfully demand that Miami-Dade County Public Schools take real action to stop bullying in our public schools. Step up.  Speak up. 

All children, bullied, bullying and on-lookers, are more vulnerable than ever to negative long term physical and emotional consequences from bullying.  Don't let schools tell you that they are doing "everything they can."  They are not.  And the bullying situation in our public schools is ever more dire.  It's time MDCPS made a true investment in preventing bullying.
2:23 pm est          Comments

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Moving on: A commentary on school board and district sanctioned predators.

I am moving on.  I will not seek to turn over to news organizations the public records of my and others' abuse. Ah! There! A fleeting feeling of my former flight attendant freedom!  Free from the putrid layers of lies my school district has piled atop me. 

I am peeking out from under the layers.  

I am so tired of my abuser. Tired of him still leading schools.  A different one now. Tired of saying, "He fraudulently used my name and my work to cover his ass.  He lied, school district.  That's my name...there and there and there. Why don't you hold him accountable at least for that? Don't you care?!"  Lately I've pondered to whom to give public records of his harassment. I've felt oddly responsible to the person for whom the school is named.  That name.  That wonderful name on that school is associated with a teacher terror so thick and dense that years from now there will be remnants of it. I myself felt the subdued terror the very first time I walked into that place. I still shudder. Evil does exist, dear readers.  And its was a full throttle existence there.

But the documentation of lies, theft, cheating, bullying, emotional assault, coverups and fear will stay in my drawer...unless someone requests that I open that drawer.  At a district or school board or news organization's request, I'll open the drawer.  

But I will not seek you out.

I'm just tired of it all.  Bullying and harassing hierarchal male dominated leadership in public school systems is so very common.  My experience as an employee and as a parent has been so poor.  So sad.  For me and for children....


1. I googled worst principals in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and found there a former assistant principal and the former principal of my children's elementary school.  

2. I've received emails from my children's current principal so full of haughty aggressive taunting, that even his supervisor scolded him. My emails to him, so you will know, were creative and respectful.  I sought help for my daughter and for that simple request, I was accused of asking for illegal and unethical things. Put in my place. 

I have, as you can see, "wriggled free" of "my place....."

3. I was put on speaker phone with others present on his side and ridiculed and threatened by a principal for whom I'd worked for six weeks.  As a community advocate, I'd sought funding for the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place For Hate" program for all of my community's public schools.  He was the high school's principal.
I'd been recently placed at the most dangerous school of all.  Received the call there.  "YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS THE MAYOR AND THE CITY MANAGER!  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!"

4.  A female leadership team rarely left offices. I'm not sure what the two of them actually did.  I know that when I needed help, I was turned away.  "You're the bullying expert...."   Our school's children ran wild.  The third floor of that school was a dangerous place to be.  

5. Screaming assistant principals and principals.  Screaming at children.

6. And, of course, my and your favorite!  The man who released KYM!  He, if he desired, could take credit for that.  He's my "main man" when it comes to the most awful public school principals.  I almost have a fondness for him now.  He's a mess of a man, I'll tell you.  He needs some "come-up-ance"!  But it's not coming from me, dear hearts.  Not me.  I'll just ruefully shake my head at another district required ethics training and....know.  I will know.  l'll know that it's all a big bogus boondoggle. I would, school district leaders, challenge you to live these ethics and get that dangerous individual outta our lives, but I'm moving on.  Better things ahead for this gal.  Retirement and sunshine and full hearts and forgiveness.  Not of him, big bosses, but of you.

Yep.  Moving on.
12:53 pm est          Comments

Sunday, December 10, 2017

My mortal coil...

 Life opens to us through simple things. This time a phrase read in a speech. Recently a friend spoke of being "on this mortal coil" and I looked it up.  Looking things up in the twenty first century is easy.  We just pull out phones.  We don't even need to spell correctly.   "This mortal coil" is, then, a Shakespearean world of burdens, strife and trouble.  According to Wikipedia, while alive we carry or abandon it.  At death we "shuffle [it] off."

But God can't.  He's got the "whole mortal coil in his hands."

I am still pondering how we can be "on" the coil.  It seems we can "carry" it, or, "abandon" it.  But to be on it brings to my mind balancing on a Slinky.

In my church going youth in a small Ohio village, we'd sing a song about God having the whole world in his hands.  My mirthful mind pictured the whole world of people piled together like cheerleaders' pyramids. People of the "whole world" standing on the shoulders of the next.  Although I had only a glimmer of knowledge that there were "whole worlds of people" of different languages, colors and customs than mine, I imagined piled people from all over my small classroom's map.  God (a slim man with large hands) just languidly balanced us all there.  All of our worldly sniping and snarling at each other--"Hey!  Keep yer balance, dammit!"--did not faze God.  Now, because I work as a public middle school counselor, I can almost see God rolling his eyes.  He doesn't of course because he's God.  He just patiently carries this mortal coil of his call humanity.

I (a corpulent woman with medium sized hands) am not as patient as God.  I want to pull my hands in and put them in pockets.  Keep them warm.  Get on with helping others with their mortal coils.  My children, for example.  Spirited independent children. Their adulthood is just beginning.  Please God, don't roll your eyes when I ask that their mortal coils loosely wrap them!

My cold chapped hands, though, carry an exasperating coil of mortal workplace harassment.  I have frightened educators piled in my hands. I put my virtual hands out through A Piece Full World (www.apiecefullworld.com) and they piled in. They don't have support from their school districts or their unions. They're from all over my childhood's classroom map, particularly the United States of America.  Many from Florida where I work in the tip of that sunny peninsula.

But there's an education harassment hurricane brewing in that sunny place.

"Leave it alone." I've been told as I look for help with my educator people pile. "Move on. You're safe now. Put your damn hands in your damn pockets. Keep them warm. You don't owe anyone anything.  GO ON A DIET!  Take care of yourself.  You have no obligation to that helpless heap. God's got it.

Dump them."

Or just say your abuser's name.  Say it to newspapers and TV shows.  Now's the time, dear hard working, honest, corpulent Kim. You need your hands to hold weights instead of piled people. Saying his name might just release you and them. The time is right. Say it and see.  Show someone somewhere all of the disgusting public records. They stink. 

See what happens to your mortal coil.  Maybe you can "shuffle it off" before you die.

Please God, don't roll your eyes.

7:22 am est          Comments

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Power imbalance. Harassment and bullying.

 This will not be about the male dominated hierarchy of institutionalized abuse.  Not this time.  This will be about women working for sanctioned predators.  

They're tumbling.  Men who abuse power are being kicked from their power perches.  Kicked with stilettos.  Nikes.  And orthopedics.  Fed up women are having their day.  Coming together.  Helping each other.  Requesting that men help them. That those men kick too.

Men are kicked from news organizations anchor couches and senate seats.  Board rooms and silver screens.  They've not been kicked out of Oval Offices, but probably should be.  

Men have certainly had their day.  Their decades long day of snide, smirking misogyny is now exposed like an erect penis.  And it's pathetic.
A ladder of abuse.  Let's start at the top rung: 

"Kiss this" to a young intern.  She cannot leave as the door is locked. 

"God, these are beautiful" as breasts or buttocks are groped. You pick your "b" word.

"What a cunt, bitch, whore" over heard by others. Snickering.  Some of it nervous.

"This is where I got my first kiss....." as champagne is offered to a female employee.

We are about midway down the ladder of abuse...


"JUST DO IT!"  Only screamed once, but SCREAMED over and over and over in a PTSD diagnosed woman's mind. She stood before him and simply said "I won't..." He wanted her to lie. Document work never done. For her, this is a tippy top ladder rung, as that menace and fear have defined her.  Eight years later, she likes that she said "no".  It was difficult. Frayed her telomeres. She's now embraced her diagnosis and her experience.  She's one of the female kickers.

Getting close to bottom rungs.  Let's explore how women feel when their male bosses leer and smirk; threaten and coerce.  


The women really are alone.  All the other complicit ladder holders are gone.  Their day is doomed. 

Come on ladies, gals, girls, WOMEN!  Put on your kicking footwear and back up the ladder we go.

Men, you're invited too.
8:11 am est          Comments

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