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Explaining why you won't meet parent alone
Old 09-13-2019, 12:43 PM
 
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I have a parent who I'm unwilling to meet with alone. In his emails he comes across as very intimidating, and almost aggressive. My school counselor, thankfully, is very helpful in situations like this and is always willing to join a teacher in a parent conference.

My question is, if this parent questions why I never meet without someone present, what is the best way to explain without escalating anything?


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Old 09-13-2019, 12:49 PM
 
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If parent asks can you give some line like “we are all working together to help your child so counsellor will sit in on this meeting.” Spin it that it’s for best interest of child?
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Parent meeting
Old 09-13-2019, 03:40 PM
 
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First, there’s a chance the question won’t be asked if you and the counselor act like this is every day, normal,behavior.

If it is asked, go with “the more minds we have working together, the better plan we can make to help Suzy Q.”
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:57 PM
 
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Thank you both for the suggestions; I love both of those phrasings! Unfortunately, this person already expressed a desire to not have the counselor present (I mentioned it via email when confirming our conference, hoping that it would be helpful and also defray any "surprise").

The manner in which it was said though confirmed me in knowing that I need her there (or admin). This person is legitimately almost scaring me. The others I have been consulting with at school agree and my school counselor is also, and AP will be made aware as well.

I'll keep those phrasings in mind for the meeting though, and any future interactions. I do want this parent to see that I'm on the side of the child and not out to get anyone! I promise I didn't go into education because of a hatred of children.
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Don’t meet alone
Old 09-13-2019, 04:58 PM
 
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If he’s that intimidating, get anyone to be in room with you. They don’t have to talk. Sounds like he’s trying to intimidate you and harrass you into doing things his way.

And you only have to say “this is my choice. Please respect it.”


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Meet in a more public area
Old 09-13-2019, 05:55 PM
 
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If you truly feel threatened or intimidated, I’d would encourage you to meet in a more public area.

If your school library isn’t too small and in a central location, maybe you could meet at a table, away from others who might be using it, but where other adults such as the librarian could be watchful from a distance without being too obvious. Some schools have conference rooms w windows in the office area. Maybe those or other similar locations are options for you?
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Get admin
Old 09-13-2019, 08:08 PM
 
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If the parent is really that intimidating, your principal or assistant principal should be there.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:17 AM
 
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You should have Principal involved. It should not have gone as far as the parent stating he does not want others with you. Scary.
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Old 09-14-2019, 05:25 AM
 
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Thank you all for the feedback! I will definitely see what admin has to say. The meeting isn't scheduled until Wed so we have some time to work out the best plan.

Quote:
Sounds like he’s trying to intimidate you and harrass you into doing things his way
This sounds like exactly what's happening!
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Do not go alone!
Old 09-14-2019, 09:14 AM
 
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Quote:
If you truly feel threatened or intimidated, I’d would encourage you to meet in a more public area.
I agree. The parent saying he doesn't want others there is totally scary!

On the off chance he just doesn't want a "counselor" present because of some perceived stigma, the principal could participate instead. - But honestly, I'd lean toward having the school resource officer there as well.


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Old 09-14-2019, 10:34 AM
 
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Last year a teacher came into my room and was pretending to look through some of my files. She stayed in my room the whole time and was just like “sorry I have to do this now but it’s really important.” Parent was fine. Sometimes the principal will just happen to come in. That happened with a coworker. The parent did question it, but the principal was just breezy and said “oh I just like to sit on meetings sometimes.”
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