1. For sure, document each occurrence of abuse. Document others'
abuse as well, because seeing others' suffering affects you. Keep all pertinent emails. I documented much of my abuse by sending
emails to my union rep. I did not at that time realize that all of those emails were public records. Public records are a
very good thing.
2. Call your union. In my case, a wonderful and caring individual helped me. I think it
had more to do with her just being a caring individual than her being a union rep...still, having her support and help was
invaluable. If you are not a union member, that's okay. Find a wonderful and caring person who will stick with you.
3. Check to see
if your school district's "bullying and harassment" policy covers employees as well as students. I have provided
a link to all states' bullying and harassment policies from A Piece Full World's home page. Most school districts
adopt their state's model policy. Miami-Dade County Public School's policy is word for word Florida's model policy. It covers
4. If employees are "covered" under your district's "bullying and harassment" policy, take a
deep breath and....turn him/her in. You must do this before he/she takes action against you. I faxed my report to my district's
Director of Bullying and Harassment. I used Miami-Dade County Public Schools' "Anonymous Report", although I did
not choose to remain anonymous. The director did not know what to do...and so, handled my report ineffectively. She's gone
now though. Her employees turned her in for bullying. Trust me, the irony is not lost.
If he/she has already taken action against you
(my former principal starts with a "Memorandum of Professional Responsibilities" after he has gather fraudulent
"evidence"), turn him/her in anyway. You have nothing to lose.
5. Know this: if you feel you must stay on the
job, you have taken a stand by turning her/him in...and that may help. He/she would have started "documentation"
against you most assuredly. It is best to report him/her first so that he/she is on the defensive. Again, I did not know all
of that at the time I was experiencing abuse. I just knew my health was at risk.
6. But the best thing to do is to take time off,
if you can, and begin to recover. You have been through trauma and emotional violence. You will never be the same, trust me
on that. My abuser's face comes to my mind often. I was in great peril--emotional and professional peril. You probably are
6.5 (Because I added this step later...and I am still going to keep the steps at "10!") Research "workplace
bullying and violence." Check out A Piece Full World in detail. I've been at this now for three years, so please contact
me if you really want to communicate with a "been there/done that" experienced person. I welcome your emails.
7. Find a therapist
who understands the workplace bullying/violence phenomenon and who will really be able to help. You are not alone. There are
thousands of us out there.
8. If your abusive principal has a history of abuse--and mine had/has a years and years
long history of abuse--your district will probably transfer you to a different school. Do not think for a second that your
district will take action against him/her. District leaders are in too deep. If your district takes action against your abuser,
CALL ME IMMEDIATELY! I want to work there! :)
Also, do NOT allow district leaders to talk you into "sitting down" with your
abuser. That is NOT APPROPRIATE! Insist they recognize this as bullying and harassment.
9. If you are assigned
to a new school, go. Recover some of your lost enthusiasm. Decide then what your next steps will be. You are forever changed.
You are, however, not alone.
10. Share your story. You have nothing to hide. You have no reason to be ashamed. I have
found that matter-of-factly sharing with others has helped me. I think it is helping others as well.
I said this was a ten step process!) Accept that the world is a sometimes unkind place.
10.99 ( same reason as
10.5) Accept, also, that there is still a whole lot of good in the world. Find it.