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Saturday, January 20, 2018

A tree house musing...

 
 
  I'd like to be done with this.  I retire soon and I just want to paint and read.  Exercise. Maybe write.  But not about workplace bullying and harassment in public schools!  

Another:  I am not done.  I may never be done.

______________________________________

"HELP ME," she wrote in capital letters.  She wrote it in her report to the district of the danger she lived at her school. "PLEASE HELP ME." She wrote the report to regional and district leadership in the worst of her days there.  He, as was indicated on the report, had screamed at her so loudly that his assistant principals had to intervene. "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?"  The two female assistant principals must have been in their offices--a short moment of respite from his oozing, leering, predatory misogyny--when they heard her and him.  They knew that she was his latest target. They also knew why.  She'd spoken up.  She didn't like it when he said "You need to teach your own kind" and told him so.

The assistant principals had to separate him from her in the hallway in front of his office.  He must have been bulging. Bulging everything but his eyes.  His red cheeks and neck bulged.  His mouth and tongue bulged. But his eyes were angry slits.  

The shaken assistant principals comforted her.  Soothed her. Took her into one of their offices.  She must have cried.  She must have buried her head into her hands.  Rocked back and forth.  "Why is he doing this to me?"  

And what, dear readers, is "this"?  "This" is a plot. One of his plots in this case, but a principals' plot nationwide. A standard plot instead of a standard test.  The plot rids the schools of the teachers.  The teachers who say "no".  "No I won't do that illegal thing; no I won't allow you to call me honey.... No, I won't drink champagne and talk about your first kiss.  I won't giggle at your stupid sexual innuendo either...."

But I now write again of my own PTSD "this..." That what PTSD does, it circles a round and back and through our bodies.  It does not let us rest.  It does, however, take its "rat-a-tat-tat-" pounding and lift nervous fingers to computers' keyboards.  

"Breathe, Kim.  Return to her story...."

"This" for her is a document. "This" is a letter.  An email.  "This" is a conversation with his suck up teacher friend.  A friend who'd loaded her ethics onto the district's barge of abuse. She lied in exchange for a classroom or grade level preference.  Maybe a "special assignment" or a "supplement."

"I need you to do me a little favor," he would say.  And what is that favor?"  Perhaps it's an "email of concern."  They'll sit together to write that poison.  They'll use time--their salaries--not to assist teachers in classrooms with better, more vibrant instruction, but to correct grammar errors in this friend's  "letter of concern."  

"What do you want me to write?" might ask his friend minion, the reading coach.  "Write that Werner saw everything.  Write that Werner supports me; that she and I talked about it.  That Werner could not believe what she saw her do."

Let's, together, imagine her life at that school.  She, an African-American educator, had been teaching for almost thirty years before she worked for him.  He, a white non-hispanic man, then in his forties, had been appointed to the principalship of a brand new school.  I imagine he looked to her to meet age and racial balance, for to hire primarily young white women would be frowned upon by his "higher-ups."  

What "infraction" lifted her to his list's top position?   At his former elementary school there had been many names on his list.... But this!  This was a new school!  New office!  New fresh teachers! Except for this one.  This outspoken African-American woman.  This glasses wearing, in her fifties, slightly overweight woman who simply did not comply.  Audaciously questioned him!  

"WHO THE FUCK DOES SHE THINK SHE IS!?"

Imagine.  Dear God, imagine.
 
6:40 pm est          Comments

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