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Not sure what to do...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by MrsBee4812, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. MrsBee4812

    MrsBee4812 New commenter

    Hi all,

    A colleague (TA) from a different department has confided in me that she is being bullied by another TA (this isn't the word she used but from the description it sounds very much like bullying) . She got upset and admitted that she is going home and crying every night. She is also looking for other jobs so won't be with us much longer. She doesn't want to tell SLT as some are close friends with the TA that is making her life a misery. I have also been told that this TA has been accused of bullying people in previous years but it had been put down to petty arguing. The TA that confided does not want me to tell anyone else as she doesn't want to cause a rift in the staff in her department (which has happened in previous years apparently)

    So what do I do? I really want to take it further as no one should be going home crying every night and bullying should not be tolerated under any circumstances. But I also don't want to go behind her back and her lose trust in me. I tried to persuade her to go to SLT and offered to support her and go with her/ for her but she was adamant that she didn't want to.

  2. bounceback

    bounceback Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't break her confidence. I totally agree that no-one should be going home crying every night, but as some of the SLT are friends with the bullying TA it is likely to make little difference if you report it. They will probably just say she is being over sensitive. I speak from experience as I once had some colleagues in a clique who would make snide comments to me. I did tell the HT but as she was particularly friendly with one of them she just told me they were 'throw away comments' and 'not to be so sensitive'. (Eventually a new head came and shook them up so much that they had other things to occupy them LOL!)

    Now that your colleague has confided in you she has someone to talk to which will help. It may be that eventually you can persuade her to report it - maybe once she has secured a new job.

    Some people are just plain nasty. They must have very miserable home lives to behave this way.
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I agree with @bounceback Your colleague needs a friend and some personal support but it might just make things worse if you weigh in, however well intentioned. If you demonstrate that you can be trusted to keep her confidence, that will be a big support to her. Keeping things to yourself is not easy but it's sometimes the best thing you can do.
    MrsBee4812 likes this.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Very difficult, but if you keep quiet you are colluding with abuse. I think you have to report this, maybe directly to HT, or to Governors...
    MrsBee4812, wanet and nomad like this.
  5. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    When we know so little about the actual details of this, I think that is far too strong.
    sophrysyne likes this.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I'm taking the OP's first paragraph at face value. Perhaps I should have said 'may well be colluding...'
    MrsBee4812 and nomad like this.
  7. sophrysyne

    sophrysyne New commenter

    She confided in you but didn't want you to take action. Sounds like she wants some support/ empathy. If you have offered to help then you can't really do more at this stage other than continue to be supportive.
  8. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I reported a teacher for bullying a TA and making her cry. I’d been unhappy for a while with what I’d seen in general and so it wasn’t just based on what I’d been told. I trusted the head to deal with it sensitivity and they did. They have altered their behaviour as a result and I’m glad that I said something.
    MrsBee4812, nomad and lindenlea like this.
  9. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Those two things are important.
    MrsBee4812 and nomad like this.
  10. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    You have two responsibilities here.

    One is a responsibility to the TA. She has said that she does not want you to tell anyone else as she doesn't want to cause a rift in the staff in her department.

    However, as an employee of the school, in terms of health and safety (i.e., the health and safety of the TA) you also have a responsibility for the TA. As an employee you have rights and you have responsibilities for your own wellbeing and that of your colleagues. The emphasis her is on wellbeing, rather than on safety per se.

    You will have to weigh up these and decide which is most important. Personally, I would suggest that if your colleague is going home crying every night as a result of what is happening in the workplace, your responsibilities for your colleage outweigh those to her.
    strawbs, MrsBee4812 and wanet like this.
  11. Jessaki

    Jessaki Occasional commenter

    I would speak to the union rep and the head teacher. I would say it has come to your attention that a colleague is being bullied, it is having a negative effect on their life. They confided in you, but are afraid of repercussions, because of the close working conditions and that some (senior) members of staff are close friends with the bully. How does the Head suggest you deal with this knowledge? You could say it without naming names. What the Head must consider is, what they say to you must also match what they would say to a student coming to them with a similar dilemma.
    sabrinakat and strawbs like this.
  12. MrsBee4812

    MrsBee4812 New commenter

    Thank you all for your advice!
    After thinking about it all night I agree with @nomad and @FrankWolley and I feel that I have a duty for the wellbeing of this newly qualified and very young member of staff. I actually witnessed some of the snide remarks for myself today in the staff room and I'm not sitting back whilst that happens. It goes against everything that I teach to my class day in and day out!

    I have spoken to the member of staff again today to see how she's doing. After our chat today she says that she is thinking of going to SLT to let them know.
    After what I witnessed in the staff room, I spoke to a very trustworthy member of SLT today to let her know that someone is having a tough time and that they are thinking of coming to speak to her. (I let the TA know that I was going to do this)

    Our school is a big advocate of staff well being and mental health (in both staff and pupils) and I know that this particular member of SLT will sort things out. The TA is quite new and is using hearsay and rumours to help her decide who is trustworthy to confide in. I really hope that she takes my advice and talks to SLT. Other members of staff in her department are starting to notice it too.
    strawbs likes this.
  13. Lucilla90

    Lucilla90 Occasional commenter

    If you have confidence in the SMT being supportive, I would talk to the TA again and try to persuade them that it would be best to get the situation dealt with.

    You could make a big point if how well she is valued as a colleague and that you don’t want to lose her in this role.
    MrsBee4812 likes this.
  14. MrsBee4812

    MrsBee4812 New commenter

    Thank you all for your advice! After numerous conversations with her, the member of staff decided to speak to SLT. She feels like a weight has been lifted.
    sabrinakat likes this.

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