Yesterday a parent of a former student wrote a scathing attack to the online article about my book. In the past, knowing full well the administration would do nothing about such an attack, I would crumble under the hurtful and many times untruthful accusations.
Yesterday was different. Reading comments about my bullying disabled children, teachers and parents did not crush me. It emboldened me! Let there be no doubt: entitled parents do attack teachers. Those attacks never come with positive suggestions or a balance of encouragement. No, instead parents sit behind those modern contraptions called computers and cast their nastiness on unsuspecting teachers. Yesterday, I found out you cannot even retire and escape the hostility.
What do we, as a nation, do about this growing blight on American education? We shame it publicly! One of my former students jumped on yesterday’s onslaught and told the parent, on no uncertain terms, she was out of line. Trouble is, students coming to a teacher’s defense will never defuse the problem. Administrators need to step up now and decide if they honor their staff or if they are willing to see this same staff humiliated by the lack of support. Perhaps during these summer months, administrators will begin reading my book or others like it and see how hungry today’s educators are for encouragement. But teachers must also hold some of the ownership to the wayward parent’s venomous emails.
Come together as a staff! Model the university system of a faculty senate. Elect people in your building to represent YOU. Not your department. Not your PLC’S, your subject area or your area of interest. Empower your staff to enforce civility at all levels: assessments, administrative decisions, parent communications and student life. It’s time American educators stopped taking the abuse and shout it out, “We’re mad as hell and we won’t take it any more!”