Bad Situation with Principal

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Pezalicious, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Pezalicious

    Pezalicious Rookie

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    Jun 10, 2011

    My husband is a 1st year science teacher at one of the best schools in the district. He was hired on a contract that said he is not allowed to look for a different school for 2 years and he cannot be transferred for 2 years. He was hired as 2nd choice for the principal, after some district delays meant he lost his 1st choice. On Monday, the principal called my husband into his office and said that he cannot bring him back to the school again next year and that he doesn't have time to explain why, but my husband will still get a job somewhere within the district (I'll believe that when it happens, though). When this happened, my husband told his mentor who told him to talk to his union rep right away, since this goes against the papers he signed when he was hired. The union rep arranged a meeting for today. Basically, the principal said that his 1st choice is able to be hired again, so he's getting rid of my husband to make room for her. He said, "if you think there's something you can do about this, you are sadly mistaken." When my husband tried to talk, he was immediately cut off. The principal mostly talked to the union rep about my husband with my husband right there in the room. It was clear he's super ******. He also said that if my husband tries to fight this, he'll sign a review giving my husband an unsatisfactory rating and that the district automatically fires first year teachers with that rating. This situation is so disheartening, as my husband loved his job, loved working with his students, and loved the school.

    Now we're faced with trying to find another job for him. Because of an education stipend, he has to teach in this district for 1 more year, so we can't look elsewhere. Does anyone know how much this situation could impact my husband's job hunt? I feel like the principal will likely be called since this is my husband's most recent job and now that the principal is ******, he'll give my husband a negative review. Is that how it works? We have no idea how teacher politics work and how long this situation could impact my husband. Any advice or tips?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 10, 2011

    Were these comments made in front of the union rep? I would share this with the administration above the principal.
     
  4. Pezalicious

    Pezalicious Rookie

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    They were, but they were subtle enough that my husband thinks that the principal could say that they were just "being nice" by giving my husband 2 satisfactory ratings. When they got out of the meeting, the rep just confirmed that getting an unsatisfactory rating does in fact lead to being fired. We don't understand why the union rep would say that to my husband, since he's got proof of being satisfactory. This is SO CONFUSING.

    But the principal has been in his position for a very long time and the school gets top ratings, so I don't see a new teacher really taking this guy on. I think there's nothing much we can do, without risking way too much. We just want to look to the future, but we're worried he'll have a hard time finding a job now. And we wonder how much it will effect him when we look in a new district next year.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 10, 2011

    It probably won't effect him too much when applying out of district, but would have more effect when applying within district.

    If the principal can get him another job in the district, no big deal. Does the union rep think that he is guaranteed a job in district?
     
  6. Pezalicious

    Pezalicious Rookie

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    Jun 10, 2011

    The principal isn't finding him a job. He just told my husband he's not being laid off, he just can't return to his current school. Site selection started today, so we're getting his resume together and are applying for jobs tonight. The problem is, there aren't many for his particular subject and most are at the worst schools. He'll take anything, but we're worried this will prevent other principals from offering him a job and then he'll have been laid off in a roundabout way.
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 10, 2011

    It sure is a crazy situation. I wish him the best and that he can find a job.
     
  8. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jun 10, 2011

    Some people are always so quick to scream that it's teacher unions that bring us down, but then we hear stories (frequently) of principals with too much power, too little knowledge and too few restraints. :( I'm sorry this is happening to your husband.
     
  9. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 10, 2011

    I'm confused. How does the principal have the power to replace your husband and not place him in another position in the district without any type of documentation of failure to fulfill his contract or duties as a teacher? There's got to be a policy somewhere about involuntary transfers and reduction in force. Most districts post their policies online, so I would start by looking there. Then I would request another meeting with the principal, with these policies in hand, and ask how they were being followed in my particular situation. Union reps are great, but the bottom line is you have to know your rights and assert yourself. (For what it's worth, I have been a building level rep for my district's union.)
     
  10. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jun 10, 2011

    I was thinking the same thing too agdamity. Is there another building rep or maybe even the union president he could speak with. If his contract clearly states the details you have posted, then the district (not the principal) must see that the contract terms are followed. I agree with agdamity, your husband needs to find his contract, RIF/transfer policies and schedule another meeting with either HR or his super. This just sounds really fishy to me . . . . like maybe the P is hoping since your husband is a new teacher, he won't protest too much and won't react to being bullied.

    Good luck and I hope he is able to get to the real truth
     
  11. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 10, 2011

    Additionally, I would have your husband document what was said in these meetings to the best of his recollection. Be sure to include quotes, dates, times, people who were present, etc.
     
  12. Teach'em

    Teach'em Companion

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    Jun 10, 2011


    I'm sorry this is happening. :( In my district, if you are "displaced" or not rehired by your current school, you are on a "displaced list" that all principals then receive and can interview from. These teachers must be placed in a school before the district can get any "new hires." Many of the displaced receive another job by interviewing at other schools, but if the person has not found a job before school starts, the district does anything they can to place them in an open position. So basically they say, "Oh, this school needs a high school science teacher and you are certified in 6-12 science and social stuides." The match is made and everyone is happy because it's 2 days before school! :) Best of luck to your husband!
     
  13. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jun 10, 2011

    I cannot believe that with the protection of the union things like these can happen. I've had my share of experiences with horrible principals. I wish good luck to you and your husband.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 10, 2011

    I know what it's like to be fired unfairly and for the supervisor to take on an "intimidating" role to "scare" the employee into not fighting back. In my situation, I knew the boss was making up a BS reason for firing me and, looking back, I do wish I had called him on it because I'm convinced he would have backed down once he found out I wasn't going to be intimidated by him. But I was already very fed-up with that job and the boss anyway and begun looking for another job on my own.

    In this case, the P realizes your husband DOES have a leg to stand on in fighting this - specifically, the contract stating he cannot look for another job or be fired for two years. If your husband was the one wanting to leave the position for a different location, you can bet your bottom dollar the P would be using the same "scare tactics" telling him he CAN'T go anywhere else and is sadly mistaken if he thinks he can.

    I'm disappointed the union rep didn't bring that up and defend your husband more vigorously, but maybe (s)he was trying to hold their cards close to the vest.

    So, let's look at the facts (not the P's bully tactics). Your husband signed a contract that states he cannot look for another position OR be fired from his current position for two years. Whether the P likes it or not, HE will have a hard time fighting that, although his tenure and school success will obviously give him a lot of leverage.

    Secondly, I agree you need to get copies of the official district policies and make sure the P has followed them to the letter. If you can find one example where his actions do NOT follow official district policies and procedures, that is another factor in your favor, rather than his.

    The P also admitted - in front of a witness - that he will give you a bad review IF you choose to challenge his move. That is extortion. It also contradicts the existing reviews in his personnel file. Of course, the P will claim those earlier reviews were just being generous, but the fact is - once it is in writing, your HUSBAND is the one that can say "There was no problem with my performance UNTIL I resisted an unfair move by the principal" and will have the documentation to back him up.

    Basically, the P knows he is out on a limb and is depending on his reputation and authority to bully your husband and get his "first choice" back in the position. Your husband actually has the better leverage and documentation in this situation, but the P is trying to scare him into thinking he doesn't.

    Now, whether you want to follow through on standing up to him or not is a choice you have to make. If the district finds in your favor, then the P is probably going to do everything he can to make the next year miserable for him so he can justify getting rid of him next year. On the other hand, that will just give your husband even MORE ammo to use against the P and show his actions are purely vindictive.

    My mom told me about a worker at a different office in the company she worked for that went through something similar. The woman was NOT liked by her coworkers and, by most accounts, was not a good worker, but when the boss at that office got rid of her, he didn't follow proper procedure and she took him to the Labor Board. The Board found in her favor and she got her job back, which made all of her coworkers dislike her even more. But any time ANY of them tried to do something to retaliate..or her boss made even the hint of a threat about her actions...she would pick up the phone and say "I'm sorry, do I need to call my attorney about your actions?" And the boss would have no choice but to back down.

    Now WHY she would want to work in an office where everyone hated her is beyond me, but that was the choice she made and there wasn't anything the boss or coworkers could do about it.

    So, don't let your husband be intimidated by this bully of a P, but DO decide for yourselves if it is worth fighting him. Personally, I would want a meeting with the super, union Pres and union rep and explain the situation. The fact your contract states your husband has that job for two years will be HUGE in his favor and the super will most likely realize it is in the districts best interests to make SURE they either keep him in this position or find him a guaranteed placement in another school. I would also talk to the union about legal representation and filing a lawsuit against the district if all else fails.
     
  15. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 10, 2011

    Is it possible that your husband will be put on a must-place list? This is a list for teachers who are considered a bad fit for a particular school, but who are still under contract. The district will allow the school to hire someone new, but the district "must-place" the teacher at another school.
     
  16. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jun 11, 2011

    :yeahthat: It's scary & disheartening. It's very difficult to battle a long standing P (no matter how wrong they may be), especially if you're new.
     
  17. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I'm not that good at standing up for myself. I had a horrible principal for my first 3 years of teaching who gave me a satisfactory rating just because she was evil. Even when she recognized how well I've done in front of other teachers, she still gave me this rating.

    Last year I had the same thing. I worked very hard, my students made great gains, but the principal got mad at me because I was leaving to another school and she didn't give me a higher rating. I wouldn't be so upset if it wasn't because she gave a coworker of mine a higher rating when she had missed about 20 days and she had a bad year teaching. Again, some teachers who fought back were able to obtain higher ratings.

    I'm learning to write down and list my accomplishments so if I ever need to fight back I can do that.
     

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