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Protection of Staff from Bullying/Harassment by parents - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by nataliejayne198, Jun 20, 2019.


Does your school do enough to protect teachers/staff from bullying and harrassment?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. nataliejayne198

    nataliejayne198 New commenter

    Hi Everyone,

    As a HOY, I am becoming increasingly concerned and frustrated by the sheer amount of abusive language and behaviour towards staff from parents. I feel that parents are adopting an almost call-centre type mentality; shouting at the member of staff on the other end of the phone until they either give up and agree with whatever inappropriate request is being made or are put through to someone more senior. This week, I received a vitriol of abuse as I set about reinforcing expectations re uniform. I have seen members of staff leaving parents' evenings in tears after being accosted by angry parents. I was also in a meeting whereby a parent was so aggressive that I had to physically sit on my hands to hide the fact they were shaking so badly. My thick skin is growing; I am becoming better at being able to rationalise things and put into perspective why parents may well act in a certain way... but I am also becoming more and more determined to make a change to the ways in which staff are treated by parents and students alike.

    Can I please ask anyone what your school is doing to help enforce protection of staff? What policies do you have in place? Do you have a triage system when an angry parent phones? What works/doesn't work? I would like to gather as much info and sharing of best practice as possible before making a case to my headteacher.

    Thanks everyone and keep fighting the good fight!
    drek and blueskydreaming like this.
  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    So stop the staff having to call parents!
    drek, jlishman2158, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  3. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    It seems to me that the OP is saying that staff are calling the school and having a rant. All I can think, off the top of my head, is that when someone calls in they have lots of line-holding and layers of people to go through before they get to a member of teaching staff.

    If it is a face to face meeting then hand them the form to withdraw their darling from the school, stand up and hold the door open for them.
    drek, jlishman2158, Marshall and 6 others like this.
  4. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Maybe it's this sort of misuse of language that's making them angry?
  5. princesslegend

    princesslegend Occasional commenter

    At my school, teaching staff do not have contact with parents unless it is through HOYs - passing messages etc. We meet at parents evening. If they get aggressive, we simply tell them to speak to HOY.
    We don't get emails from parents or anything.
    It's brilliant.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Not brilliant for the OP though as she is a HOY :)
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Do I take it you are ringing parents to tell them their child's uniform doesn't pass muster?

    I wouldn't do that. I'd send a note home. A really friendly note. Then another note. Then a letter detailing some consequences etc etc. The 'phone call wouldn't come until the parent was fully expecting it. OK, some students won't pass on the note. But I do hope you're not immediately going for the jugular with a 'phone call.

    A lot of it is "broken record" technique. "Sorry to keep nagging about this but s/he just needs to smarten up a bit. Sorry to keep repeating myself but......Sorry to keep harping on but.....".
    Marshall, pepper5, bonxie and 3 others like this.
  8. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Perhaps all the staff ,who do not teach and wander around with click boards learning walks should contact the parents. They have the time to undertake this task.

    I hope your staff are not expected to use their own mobile phones or home land lines to contact parents. It has been known for this to happen, but remember numerous people on here will be willing to undertake this task because they have been told it is part of your job.
    Lalad, jlishman2158, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  9. crocked

    crocked New commenter

    It doesn't sort the root ca
    Thank goodness you're here to correct their language use! Problem solved eh?
  10. nataliejayne198

    nataliejayne198 New commenter

    Goodness me - do you honestly think I speak to parents like that? More fool me for thinking this would be a sensible forum with colleagues to get an insight into the way schools operate re parental abuse.
  11. nataliejayne198

    nataliejayne198 New commenter

    I teach a full timetable and am a HOY. We are not expected to use our own phones. In the last week, I have had colleagues threatened in meetings/on the phone with violence and I am wondering what other schools do in these instances as we currently have no standard operating procedures.
  12. nataliejayne198

    nataliejayne198 New commenter

    I think the purpose of my original post has been misinterpreted which is a real shame. I came on here to seek some genuine insight into how other schools are operating, not to be berated for my OP or suggestions on how to improve my own practice. I am wanting to suggest changes to my Headteacher but would like some evidence of practices in other schools so it does not simply appear as though I am presenting a problem with no solution.

    It is simply pointless to say "don't phone parents."

    What I am trying to ascertain is whether or not schools have policies and procedures in place when a member of staff is verbally abused/threatened by parents. ATL suggest we should; my school does not, hence my inquiring.

    Thanks to those who have sensibly replied by way of helping. I appreciate it.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
    donnelly72, Marshall, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  13. nataliejayne198

    nataliejayne198 New commenter

    No. The phone call comes after repeated sanctions/comms re letters when no change has been made. But thanks. Again, point of my OP totally missed.
  14. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I sometimes found it helpful to speak to parents, and the vast majority of them were fine. What is needed is a clear policy which is communicated to parents. If they are abusive on the phone, then the teacher will simply end the call. Face to face meeting should take place in a room where raised voices can be heard by other staff and the teacher can summon help easily. If somebody becomes abusive, they are escorted from the premises and banned from returning, with the police being called in extreme cases.
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

  16. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    HTH :)
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Marshall, pepper5, bonxie and 2 others like this.
  18. nataliejayne198

    nataliejayne198 New commenter

    Thank you; I have indeed used Google and found many examples which are of great use. The real-life experiences are also very helpful in gauging how these policies play out in reality.

    And thank you for the Norah Jones song lyrics; it's made a new poster feel very welcome.
  19. IH11

    IH11 New commenter

    Plenty of policies out there but central to any successful management of the situation will be consistency of approach and support from the relevant people when faced with an abusive situation with parents.

    Unfortunately we seem to be in an age where disagreement has to be confrontational a large proportion of the population seem to have forgotten that it is natural and ok not to always agree on how something has been handled. The key part is finding a solution and ranting and raving isn't going to help that position.

    I also think schools need to stand up for themselves a bit more and if the broken record technique referred to doesn't work and the abuse continues provide the parent with the option to take the child elsewhere.
  20. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    An invitation to find another school is usually part of such a policy and sometimes invoked.

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