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Feeling unsafe due to angry parent
Old 02-09-2020, 04:48 PM
 
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A couple of weeks ago I was called into a meeting with a parent in my partner teacher's class. We switch classes for one period per day so I don't usually conference with parents from her class. I went to my partner and asked her what it was about. She told me she didn't know. Later that day my Principal warned me that parent was upset with me and he didn't want me to meet with them alone. So the meeting happened with the parents, the principal, and my partner teacher. It was the worse thing I had ever experienced.

The parent had nothing specific, but said I was mean to her child, that I picked on her child, when I was having a bad day I took it out on her child, and that I was causing her child to ask for therapy. I was floored. When I tried to ask a clarifying questions she held her hand up to my face and wouldn't allow me to speak. She basically asked that I be fired and a new teacher be brought it. She threatened to bring in more parents to say I was mean and a terrible teacher. She said she had met with my partner teacher about this at the beginning of November and it had been continuing. I had never been informed and she had nothing specific to say that I had done.

My Principal has been in my room several times and said he never saw anything like that. I know he doesn't think I have done anything to the student so my job is not in jeopardy. However, I am having a hard time feeling safe at work. I worry about this parent showing up (she works for our district) or her causing others to get angry. The student still attends my class and I have never seen anything that makes me think the child is uncomfortable or anxious in my class.

My principal has asked me to let him know what I need. I don't know. What would you all ask for in a situation like this to feel safe?



Last edited by Tiki; 02-09-2020 at 05:07 PM..
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:03 PM
 
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I think, at the minimum, I would want clarification from my administrator that this parent will not be allowed anywhere near you without an advance appointment. Is your office generally good about keeping visitors corralled? Is there an option to remove this child from your classroom so the parent doesnít have additional time to fabricate stories? If not, then I think I would start keeping written records of any contact you have with this child, positive or negative. That way, if this comes up again, you have documentation.
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:28 PM
 
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With the permission of your principal, I would have the guidance counselor (or maybe the principal) speak with the child to find out specifics about what the parent inferred. It sounds to me like the child is going home and saying things that are not true. The parent believes these untruths.

I would also speak with the other teacher to find out the nature of the meeting that was held in November. Perhaps this teacher could give you some specifics. I wonder why this teacher did not tell you about the meeting that happened in November.

I also wonder why this teacher had no idea about the nature of the meeting that happened a couple of weeks ago when it is possible that this teacher did know having met with the parent once before about these matters.

I would definitely make sure this parent cannot come to your room any time during the day, and that any future meetings with this parent are attended by the principal and other teacher.

I get the feeling from your post that you were not allowed to speak. I would have hoped your principal would have stepped on that behavior so you could have your say.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:46 PM
 
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My partner teacher knew what the meeting was about, she lied when I asked. She told me later that she was uncomfortable and hoped the principal would tell me. In November the parent made the accusations at parent teacher conference.

Both the principal and the guidance counselor have met with the child who says she is not afraid of me. The parent claims the child is afraid to speak to them too.

I will ask to only meet with them if the principal is available.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:52 PM
 
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Wow!

I'd be tempted to ask to not have the child in my class/group anymore.

Absolutely ridiculous!

Keep us updated!


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Old 02-09-2020, 07:34 PM
 
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I agree with the good advice given.

Your teacher partner is not to be trusted. Not only didnít she back you up but lied to your face! I would have a very hard time working with her. I wouldnít continue the teaming next year.

I also would not teach that child any longer. Youíd have to be super careful around the child. Your words or actions could likely be misconstrued to use against you. You have a right to feel safe at work, and the parent has already threatened to bad mouth you. Since she works for the district too, this could affect your reputation. The principal should not have allowed her rude ďhand in faceĒ gesture to go unchallenged. Iím fuming for you!

Stand up for yourself now! This parent doesnít seem likely to drop this. If this parent shows up in your room, walk to the office. Tell her she needs to make an appointment. Do not ever be alone with her. I would also let key people know what was happening: neighbor teachers, all office staff, custodian, support staff - let the school community be your support system. Listen to your gut telling you that youíre feeling unsafe.

Iím sorry this is happening to you. Teaching is stressful enough. Unfortunately, itís becoming more common. Iím hoping you will be supported and be able to resolve this to your satisfaction.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:52 PM
 
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I'm so sorry this is happening to you. Great advice given from PTers. I would also tell the back-stabbing partner teacher that you don't want to switch for that one class any longer. It will be more work for both of you, but worth the aggravation to get this parent out of your face.

Good luck and I hope this all blows over.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:41 AM
 
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Are there other classes in the grade level? This child should be moved immediately. You have the right to demand that your principal does that.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:10 AM
 
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Would it be legal for you to have someone either observe or tape your class several times with a special focus on all the students? It could be useful as back-up should the parent continue to be difficult.

However I agree that first you should try to have the child removed. Does this parent have a history of being angry with others? I doubt this is the first time she has acted this way.

At least the child is easy to work with. I always felt I could survive as long as only one, the child or the parent, was the bully. The only time I ever requested for a child to be removed was when the child was as difficult as the parent. Infrequently I had a parent threaten to have their child removed but after conferencing which allowed the parent to blow off steam we all made it through the year. If you think it might be worth one more conference with just the 2 of you, be sure to have someone nearby, just in case. Treat it as a terrible misunderstanding that you would like to work out with her.

Do what's best for you! June is right around the corner!
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Classic mean girls
Old 02-10-2020, 05:36 AM
 
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Like OPs, I would do what I can to cut off the other teacher. She is clearly afraid of the parent or part of the parent's clique. I've been the victim of a parent spreading lies to other parents, but luckily for me, the Princ had my back.

Getting the child moved may satiate the beast. Continuing as is will mean that things won't change.


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Old 02-10-2020, 05:04 PM
 
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Unfortunately I am the only teacher at my grade level teaching this subject so the student cannot be moved out. If the parents really believed I was being mean to their child they could transfer to another school in the district.

I will not share students with this teacher next year. She clearly does not know how to deal with parents and be honest about issues.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:23 PM
 
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Another poster recommended splitting your teaming up for the remainder of the year. Youíll have another subject to teach. Only you can decide if itís worth it. Good luck!
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:22 PM
 
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Quote:
My principal has asked me to let him know what I need.
He needs to suggest the parent transfers the student to another school. You have other children to teach. You don't have time for this nonsense.

It is wrong that the other teacher the principal did not confer with you what this is all about. It is also wrong that the parent would not discuss exactly what she disliked. You have a right to know about the accusations against you.

I'm willing to bet this has nothing to do with you, but it has something to do with some trouble that the mother is going through in her personal life. She's probably taking it all out on you.
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Old 02-11-2020, 01:58 PM
 
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I've been in similar situations a few times, and it's very stressful.

I once knew of a situation in which a parent had an intense dislike (not based on anything rational) for a teacher. Classes switched from teacher to teacher as they do in your situation, but the student didn't switch. Instead, she remained in the preferred teacher's room and did work the disliked teacher sent for her to do. It wasn't an ideal solution, and other students knew all the details, but it kept the parent happy.

You might consider filing a police report and/or contacting an attorney. Putting a hand in another person's face to prevent that person from speaking could be assault and/or battery.
https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/i...i-2373320.html
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Another adult
Old 02-12-2020, 09:28 AM
 
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Is there an associate that could spend that period in your room. You could then both document any interaction between you and the student.
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:05 AM
 
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I've been following this... and while several have noted that the partner teacher may be the source of the problem, I haven't seen much mention of the fact that the parent (Mom) also works for the district.

Since the principal has offered "what you need," I would request that both employees (mom and the partner teacher) be confronted--either individually or together. It sounds like he knows there's a problem but is avoiding doing anything... I'd be inclined to make it HIS problem. He is responsible for creating a safe teaching environment just as you are responsible for creating a safe learning environment.

You might have a few basic requests, such as others have suggested. One big one is that Mom is not allowed to be in your classroom--let's get her role as a parent separate from her role as a district employee--without prior arrangement. It'll be harder to enforce but you might also request he instruct both parties (Mom and the Partner Teacher) not to discuss you.

I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist but I suspect there's something going on between the partner teacher and Mom. I also suspect the principal hasn't figured out how to handle Mom as a parent because she's also a district employee... but it's not necessary to figure it all out. All that's necessary is to figure out what will make you comfortable and insist on it.

I wouldn't be TOO worried about the accusations--you've already indicated that you don't feel your job is threatened. So don't get overly defensive regarding how you're treating the child. That's almost a non-issue. The issue isn't your behavior, it's the partner teacher's and her friend (Mom). Don't get distracted!
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