Student safety comes first
Protecting the students’ rights with the fear of retaliation? is a very intriguing, and frustrating question plugging the public schools. As a parent, and NYCDOE teacher i have experience both sides of the spectrum. with that said, I have seen many times how teachers change their attitude and perception of students simply because the students’ parents complaint about the teacher.
For instance, when a parent has a concern about their child, they call the school to talk to the teacher, this brings attention and “heat” towards the teacher and their teaching skills comes into question, or so the teacher believes. Thus, most teachers, of course not all, take a different stance towards the students almost immediately. For example, when this things happen there is almost instant retaliation towards the student, as a consequence of the parental complaint or public concern.
It has been proven that parental involvement provides a support network for children. It allows students to perform better and furthermore leads to the building of stronger relationships within the school. Relationship that so many teachers taint as soon as they include their personal/ emotional state into their practice. So then, how can parents interested in the educational well-being of their children freely practice this right? When the vulnerability of their children is at the hands of of teachers is evident.
Retaliation and the Moral Concern
There are many ways in which i have seen teachers retaliate against students in school as a result of something the parent said, or the student told the parent which resulted in a public concern. For instance, teachers, most not all, often exclude the student from fun activities which may not be seem as retaliation, but rather as a usual discipline action.
Additionally, I have seen teachers isolate students and take other harsh steps based on retaliation or some sort of payback. There is the moral argument, but in the end, teachers are human beings with many character flaws that can been seen throughout the NYCDOE system. I have seen this first hand.
The school administration allows this to happen. I have experience working in many schools, and with many administrators, and the mostly stay out of this situations, and later claim they were unaware of it. For instance, I experience a case once in which a student was crying and shaken because he wanted to go to the bathroom but was afraid to ask.
When the teacher in charge met with the administrator and the student to address the issue, the student said “I was afraid to ask because my teacher embarrasses me in front of the class, and says mean things when we ask”, and the administrator rather than to say something to the teacher, smile and said next time ask, and everything ended there.
This is the mentality that drives most public schools. Administrators are teachers who were promoted to administrators, almost every time, within the same school, allowing them to keep their relationships with teachers, or even family members working there. Thus, makes it very difficult to remain unbiased, and to focus only on the general wellbeing of the students, both academically and emotionally.