To the editors:
As most teachers know, the climate of a school is set by the principal. When she or he is intelligent, friendly, and respectful, has integrity, or even is demanding, most often the staff will follow.
In every school there are staff who could do more or perhaps are trying to take advantage of “the system.” The administration has the tools to address those situations if they choose to.
However, if the principal is demanding but is lacking intelligence, friendliness, respect, or integrity, she or he will have a staff that does the job but is unhappy. In those situations, the principal may become a tyrant who gets results by pressure. Teachers, wary about their jobs, don’t speak out. If they do, they become targets for removal from the school by discipline or intimidation. We call that “teacher abuse.”
If you are in a school with a tyrannical principal, you know stories of staff that have voluntarily transferred, been forced out, or quit to escape abuse.
We are working with a nonprofit group, National Association for the Prevention of Teacher Abuse, and its website, to form a chapter for mutual support and to speak out about teacher abuse.
To learn more, attend a meeting at the Northwest Regional Library (Greene St. and Chelten Ave.) on Sunday, March 30, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The meeting is open to interested teachers, parents, students, and the general public. Your privacy will be respected. Please join us!
For more information write to P.O. Box 44332, Philadelphia, PA 19144, email Teacherkh@aol.com, or call 610-664-7211.
Jeff Smith and M. Shapiro
The writers live in Germantown and Montgomery County respectively.