How do I Stop School Principals Who Bully Teachers?

Assorted book lot.jpg

The term “bullying” may bring memories of a hulking kid taunting a scrawny one on the playground. However, what many people don’t realize is that bullying also may occur by a principal toward a teacher. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), 37 percent of the U.S. workforce--an estimated 54 million Americans--has reported being bullied at work, and schoolteachers are no exception to this statistic. If you are a teacher who is being demeaned, harassed or mistreated by your principal, there are ways to take action.

  • Union representation

1 Document the incidents

Document the incidents. Remember to be as specific as possible about each time you are bullied. This includes listing where, when and how the incident occurred, and who was involved. Be sure to note any witnesses to collaborate your accounts of being bullied.

2 Get the support of your colleagues

Get the support of your colleagues. They may be experiencing similar events, but have been too embarrassed or scared to report it.

3 Report the bullying to your union representative

Report the bullying to your union representative. Unions are an invaluable source of legal and administrative support for workplace issues. If you do not belong to a union, an option is to report the incident to your human resources department.

4 Discuss with your union representative

Discuss with your union representative the best course of action. The union representative may suggest to start with a meeting with the principal. If this is not appropriate or not the recommended course of action, the representative may suggest filing a formal grievance against the principal.

5 Take time

Take time off if you need it. If the bullying and harassment is impacting your emotional, physical or mental health, take leave time. If you see a medical doctor, keep records of your files in case you need them to support your case.

  • Do not confront the principal directly if you feel physically threatened.
  • If you do not belong to a union, be aware that reporting the incident to a human resources department can result in the opposite of the intended effect. According to the Bully Free Workplace, human resources departments are part of the school district administration and sometimes side with school leaders.

Jennifer Brozak earned her state teaching certificate in Secondary English and Communications from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., and her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Pittsburgh. A former high school English teacher, Jennifer enjoys writing articles about parenting and education and has contributed to Reader's Digest, Mamapedia, Shmoop and more.