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The new school bullies aren’t children, they’re parents


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#1 Burro

Posted 20 April 2019 - 06:27 PM

https://www.theage.c...416-p51ej1.html

#2 Burro

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:43 PM

‘Chill indeed. That's the message coming loud and clear from the nation's educators, as they face a crisis level of bullying, threats and abuse from parents. One in three principals have been threatened with violence by a parent, according to a nationwide snapshot of principal health and wellbeing undertaken annually by the Australian Catholic University (ACU). In the 2018 survey of primary and secondary school principals, 21 per cent reported having been bullied by a parent – a rate that's doubled since 2011 – making mums and dads the biggest bullies in the schoolyard.

In another 2018 study, yet to be released, La Trobe University looked at "teacher targeted bullying and harassment", or TTBH, as it is known in academic circles.

Its survey of 560 teachers found nearly two-thirds had been recently bullied by a parent. Parent-led bullying was more common in primary schools, with younger, female teachers the more likely victims. The most common form of parent-led bullying was verbal; yelling and arguing on behalf of a child. Physical attacks by parents on teachers were rare: while 8.8 per cent reported a parent standing over or invading their personal space, just 1 per cent had been hit or punched by a parent.

Parents are behaving in ways once thought unimaginable. In researching this story, Good Weekend came across reports of parents going straight to the state education department if a teacher failed to hang a child's unfinished work in the classroom, rifling through teachers' desks, and asking for extra roles to be created in the school play because their child had missed out. They are staging sit-ins, hatching coup-like plots to topple principals, and tailgating educators in the car park. There are parents who undermine through gossip, often online, others with threats of legal action. And some are persistent, vexatious complainers, who pen 10-page emails with more capital letters and exclamation marks than Donald Trump's Twitter feed.’

#3 *Melstar*

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:54 PM

It's true. All of it.

And young teachers are quitting the profession in droves. And older, more experienced teachers are taking leave. The job is not worth it.

And decent leaders don't want the stress and pressure of "the buck stops with me" so the pool of principal applicants isn't what it should be.

I started to type out some anecdotes... but then I stopped. Which ones to choose? There's too many to choose from.

#4 EsmeLennox

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:00 PM

I think it’s true, too. Many parents do have a tendency to fly off the handle and have an overblown need to make things easy for their kids and throw their weight around to do so.

However, I also think schools could negate some of it by improving their communication with parents. Often it feels like schools make a bunch of decisions which effect kids with no community consultation and it can lead to angry responses from parents.

Room for improvement on both sides.




#5 Mae55

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:00 PM

View Post*Melstar*, on 20 April 2019 - 07:54 PM, said:


I started to type out some anecdotes... but then I stopped. Which ones to choose? There's too many to choose from.

Me too.

I agree with EsmeLennox as well, but the worst cases I’ve seen are irrational and I’m not sure improved communication would have made much difference.

Edited by Mae55, 20 April 2019 - 08:02 PM.


#6 purplekitty

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:04 PM

It's become much worse in healthcare as well.

What has changed?

#7 Mae55

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:07 PM

View Postpurplekitty, on 20 April 2019 - 08:04 PM, said:

It's become much worse in healthcare as well.

What has changed?

I moved from healthcare to teaching about 7 years ago and was going to say the same thing. I actually had more issues in healthcare than I’ve personally had in teaching - though the trouble with teaching is the constant continued interaction that is required.

#8 cvbn

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:08 PM

Yes.

I took in our gorgeous young teacher coffee and biccies at out last P/T meeting and she burst into tears.

She had had it the neck for the last hour. :no2:

#9 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:08 PM

yep, i believe it. i see some shocking behaviour in parents at schools - i hope i don’t behave in this manner, i can’t judge my own performance - clearly, but i don’t think i do.as to what’s changed, dunno. i think there is a level of competition and pride in parenting these days that perhaps there was not in the past? children are seen as “projects” with teachers being one of the many “variables” that parents might seek to control. the principal at DS’s high school was very blunt about it actually at their opening assembly this year. it was quite extraordinary - i didn’t disagree with him. but he didn’t pull any punches.

#10 EsmeLennox

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:10 PM

I think what’s changed is that we are ‘allowed’ to question stuff these days. You know, when I was a kid you would never have questioned a teacher/doctor/lawyer. Now we are much more likely to seek a second opinion, follow stuff up when something seems ‘off’ etc, ask them for evidence, data etc to support what they are saying. Usually, this is a good thing.

Of course, there’s always the ones that have a massive sense of entitlement and then behave in highly irrational ways/aggressive ways and have to ‘win’ at all costs. And parents often go into ‘protection’ mode, big time.

A lot of people don’t know the difference between assertive and aggressive.

I’ve raised a number of things with my kids’ school, and I’ll call bullsh*t when I see it, but I’ll always be very polite about it, because I’ve also been on the other side of the equation!

Edited by EsmeLennox, 20 April 2019 - 08:11 PM.


#11 Sweet.Pea

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:11 PM

View Postpurplekitty, on 20 April 2019 - 08:04 PM, said:

It's become much worse in healthcare as well.

What has changed?

I think parents are spending less time with their kids, so they don't see their capabilities. 20 years ago, there were a lot more SAHP.

School age is around the time kids learn that they can manipulate a situation.

I'm not judging people who go to work or stay at home, it's just a difference I have noticed and think contributes.

#12 Burro

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:11 PM

View PostEsmeLennox, on 20 April 2019 - 08:00 PM, said:

I think it’s true, too. Many parents do have a tendency to fly off the handle and have an overblown need to make things easy for their kids and throw their weight around to do so.

However, I also think schools could negate some of it by improving their communication with parents. Often it feels like schools make a bunch of decisions which effect kids with no community consultation and it can lead to angry responses from parents.

Room for improvement on both sides.

There’s never been more communication with parents and students. Most schools use phone calls, diary’s/journals, email, publish newsletters, Facebook pages, have websites and use apps, committees, parent nights, surveys... but it’s never going to keep every family happy.

#13 BadCat

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:15 PM

I don't think it's about communication.  I think it's about parents who think their child is THE most special thing in the universe.

I wouldn't be a teacher for all the tea in China. Hats off to you guys for putting up with kids who aren't allowed to experience failure and parents who feel inadequate when their kid isn't feted as a genius and take it out on school staff.

#14 ~J_WTF~

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:16 PM

After an experience recently, I have no doubt at all.

These parents were gunning for this teacher and were willing to take them down anyway possible. The poor leadership team that had to deal with them :omg:

I stayed out then got accused of not supporting the cause.. Umm yer nah mate I dont agree with your crusade!!

It was like a pack mentality.

I think what plays a huge part in why people behave as they do because they can get support easily online now, so instead of going home stewing for a bit, calming down then approaching the school. The go to social media, it fuels the fire and they go in all guns blazing wanting someones head on a platter!!

#15 EsmeLennox

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:16 PM

Funnily enough, I had to have some frank conversations with my eldest’s teachers just recently. More than one commented on the fact that I was ready to acknowledge that said child is being a lazy prat and that he is really at risk of effing up Year 11, big time. They all started off very tentatively as they raised his performance issues...my response of ‘ yeah, look, let’s be honest, he’s not doing what he needs to do and he’s incredibly lazy’ was met with some shock. One teacher laughed and said ‘Oh my god, a parent that gets it!’ Clearly they are used to parents that either make excuses or have a go at them. We were then able to make some really productive plans about managing said child’s lazy behaviours.

#16 Lesley225

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:16 PM

View PostSweet.Pea, on 20 April 2019 - 08:11 PM, said:

I think parents are spending less time with their kids, so they don't see their capabilities. 20 years ago, there were a lot more SAHP.

School age is around the time kids learn that they can manipulate a situation.

I'm not judging people who go to work or stay at home, it's just a difference I have noticed and think contributes.

Did parents actually SPEND more time with their children back then.  Yes they were home more but were they this intense and did they pay that much attention?

I have a theory that with more being spent on education parents  feel they have more say.  And I also think some schools are more intense and more picky about tiny things.

Uniform is far more strict than in the 70s when i went to high school.

#17 seayork2002

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:17 PM

How many teachers spend more sorting out parents than they are able to spend more hours teaching?

#18 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:20 PM

i wonder if it’s the commodification too of education, seeing it as something you pay for, and hence you get to dictate as “the customer is always right’ - it’s that neo-liberal ideal of throwing everything to the market with “KPI’’s” and “value for money” - could be what’s creeping into health care too.

#19 blueskies12

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:21 PM

I agree the level of communication expected of a teacher between school and home is really high. I think schools are communicating even more of what is going on in the classroom and I wonder if this is contributing to parents thinking that they can have more of an opinion of what happens in the classroom.

I really wonder why things are changing, but I have definitely witnessed this over my teaching career in the past 12 years.

Edited by blueskies12, 20 April 2019 - 08:33 PM.


#20 EsmeLennox

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:22 PM

View PostBurro, on 20 April 2019 - 08:11 PM, said:



There’s never been more communication with parents and students. Most schools use phone calls, diary’s/journals, email, publish newsletters, Facebook pages, have websites and use apps, committees, parent nights, surveys... but it’s never going to keep every family happy.

I agree...but so much of it is fluffy communication. A lot of it is PR...schools spruiking their awesomeness (which has its place), but it’s not the information or consultation that parents actually need/want. For example, making a change to school starting times/finishing times without community consultation isn’t going to go over well with a lot of parents. Happened at my kids’ school last year. Parents were understandably ‘WTF’? So while communication has definitely increased, schools still make blanket decisions without consulting their community or providing adequate detail about stuff.

#21 blueskies12

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:25 PM

That is true, communication can often be about selling the school. It is sad that it has become that.

#22 Burro

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:26 PM

View PostEsmeLennox, on 20 April 2019 - 08:22 PM, said:



I agree...but so much of it is fluffy communication. A lot of it is PR...schools spruiking their awesomeness (which has its place), but it’s not the information or consultation that parents actually need/want. For example, making a change to school starting times/finishing times without community consultation isn’t going to go over well with a lot of parents. Happened at my kids’ school last year. Parents were understandably ‘WTF’? So while communication has definitely increased, schools still make blanket decisions without consulting their community or providing adequate detail about stuff.

Some of it is marketing. But there’s more consultation and reporting then ever.

What was the reason given for changing the start/end times?

#23 WTFancie shmancie

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:37 PM

Some parents I've met (as another school parent) and dealt with as a school admin staff member are obnoxious a*s*holes.  Not just in their dealings with teachers and school staff but in all aspects of their lives.  Their obnoxiousness is something they are really proud of and want to share with as many others as possible.

#24 EsmeLennox

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:42 PM

It was an ‘operational change’. Seriously, that was it. It didn’t actually bother me, it’s just an example of where school communication has failed the parent community. And there are lots of situations where school communication fails parents. Schools are excellent at telling parents what they want them to know. They are often a little reticent to be upfront about other things.

I am quite aware of what consultation/reporting does (and doesn’t) occur in schools and what sorts of information is (or isn’t) consulted on. I have a foot in both camps.

While some parents definitely need to pull their heads in, I do think there are things schools could do better.

Edited by EsmeLennox, 20 April 2019 - 08:44 PM.


#25 WaitForMe

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:49 PM

View PostLesley225, on 20 April 2019 - 08:16 PM, said:

Did parents actually SPEND more time with their children back then.  Yes they were home more but were they this intense and did they pay that much attention?

I have a theory that with more being spent on education parents  feel they have more say.  And I also think some schools are more intense and more picky about tiny things.

Uniform is far more strict than in the 70s when i went to high school.

Actually yeah you're right. There was an article a couple or so years ago that looked into it, and parents spend more time childrearing than they used to.

ETA: This is not the article I was thinking of, but its possibly the same data:
https://www.economis...as-50-years-ago

Edited by WaitForMe, 20 April 2019 - 09:10 PM.





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