Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Schools confront bullying of teachers, staff

...Legal documents show the policy on workplace bullying arrives nearly 2.5 years after three elementary school teachers and one staff member settled a lawsuit against their school principal.
“I think it’s just a way to help address the way, how we are creating the best workplace possible for our employees,” said Barclay.
Barclay said the regulations will determine how Montgomery County Public Schools staff will address bullying.
“The policy is going to be the aspiration,” he said. “It’s going to be the regulation that will matter in terms of what ultimately will be the practice, and we have to see what systems are put in place.”   
The case was filed for reasons including “negligence, gross negligence and intentionally seeking to inflict harm upon any subordinate who dared to question his unchecked authority.”
Plaintiffs alleged Starnes tried to sully their names by “falsifying the teachers’ personnel files.”
A plaintiff who asked not to be named, said bullying is a problem in Montgomery County.
“I’m very uncomfortable in this county,” the person said. “We were the teachers trying to protect the children from the principal.”

Starnes continued to act as principal for two years after the case was settled.

Barclay said he could not talk about whether or not the suit and the policy were related.
Joan Kaltreider, retired teacher elementary classroom teacher from Kemp Mill Elementary School and a plaintiff from the case, said she would support the policy.
“If it’s a policy to protect teachers, I’d be highly in favor of it, but I’d be highly skeptical that it would be enforced,” said Kaltreider.
According to the law documents, Kaltreider received a negative recommendation from Starnes, and was later put on probation, after she reported to her union representative her concerns about her principal.
Kaltrieder said the negative recommendation was retaliation for talking about her principal.
She reasoned while she received positive recommendations during her previous 30 years of teaching and when the principal first arrived, her teaching was being scrutinized.


  1. It's not just principals bullying teachers. It's teachers and staff bullying and harassing students, especially vulnerable special needs students. Our child was bullied by his school counselor. Eventually, a contract was signed between MCPS and us (parents) that forbade any contact between this counselor and our child.

  2. AMEN! to the special needs part. It is pretty well know that restraint is first choice and usually as we have read here over and over that often leads to other improper things. Little to no knowledge of spectrum disorder nor an appetite to address the issues professionally is pretty much the rule at MCPS

  3. "“I’m very uncomfortable in this county,” the person said.. ."
    That's quite an understatement.


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