I’ve been an educator for twenty years. I’ve served in roles as a teacher, as an instructional coach, as an administrator in charge of curriculum, and now as a school Principal, overseeing approximately fifty staff members and more than three hundred students on a daily basis. I make thousands of decisions each week that impact all of these people.
My job involves many unique tasks, one of which is speaking with parents (and extended family members) who might be concerned with one of the decisions that I’ve made. I have no problem with this part of the job. Throughout my time in the classroom, and now as an administrator, I have always tried to respectfully speak to parents (and other caretakers). I can say that I’ve never yelled at a parent. I try to maintain an even tone, remain calm, and explain the why behind a decision I’ve made. Sometimes, I’ve needed to be firm. If someone is questioning how something is done at school, I will spend time explaining why something is done in the best interest of all students in the school. Sometimes, the decisions I make for all students impact one student (or family member) in a specific way.
While I have no problem speaking with a parent to explain my decision making, I do have a problem with how some family members have begun to respond to me over the past few years.
I’ve been yelled at, cursed out, and threatened at an alarmingly increasing rate.
I never felt like I’ve had to say this in the past, but now I do.
It’s not ok to yell at the principal. It’s not ok to curse at them. It’s not ok to threaten them.
I do my best each day to make decisions in the best interest of all students (and staff members) in our school. A family member is entitled to disagree with those decisions. What they are not entitled to do is to yell at me, curse at me, and treat me in a rude, disrespectful way. It has been happening more frequently the past few years. Part of it is a societal change, one in which we generally treat others in this negative manner. Not happy with the service that you are receiving at a restaurant? Many will think nothing of yelling at the server. Dissatisfied with how your child’s school handles dismissal? Many will post (IN ALL CAPS!!!) on social media how terrible the school staff is. Mad at life in general and wanting to take it out on someone? Many will yell at others who had nothing to do with it.
I’ll say it again, and this time in all caps: IT’S NEVER OK TO YELL AT THE PRINCIPAL. Or your child’s teacher. Or the main office secretary. Or the school nurse.