Harassment by Principal
A member has a concern about some parents who complained to the principal that he is incompetent. The parents have contacted the area superintendent with a list of demands and want the principal to transfer him immediately. The besieged teacher feels that the principal is part of the problem.
OECTA’s couselling staff helps the teacher clarify the issues and advises the teacher to review the board’s harassment policy and the collective agreement with the local OECTA president. The unit president will also help the teacher manage the criticism and ongoing supervision by the principal. If the principal is not adhering to board policy and procedures and all parameters of the collective agreement, it is possible that a grievance against the principal can be filed. An OECTA representative should attend any meetings convened concerning the parents’ demand with the teachers.
Parents have the right to present their concerns about a teacher’s methodologies and performance to administration. If concerns are raised in an adversarial manner, conflict can often be resolved with the assistance of a local OECTA representative who ensures that school administrators are not perpetuating harassment through inappropriate evaluation and supervision or by permitting badgering by parents.
Teachers have a right to a workplace free from harassment. This right is embodied in the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, school board harassment policies and, in many cases, collective agreements. When teachers, as professionals, have fulfilled their responsibilities regarding curriculum, assessment, and evaluation of their pupils, they have every right to expect the school administration’s support in addressing parental concerns. The responsibility for performance appraisal rests with the principal, not parents. The principal must follow very prescriptive timelines and parameters for performance appraisal. Failure to follow these procedures could be grounds for a grievance against the principal.