Chapter creates blueprint to ensure staff respect
Members at St Thomas More College in Sunnybank have developed an initiative to ensure respect for staff is central to all relationships with parents and the broader school community.
IEU Chapter Staff Representative Anthony Murnane at St Thomas More said the Chapter decided to develop its Parent Partnership document, after increasing instances of inappropriate treatment of staff.
“We were hearing of more and more instances of staff being spoken to inappropriately by parents, by phone, via email or in person,” Anthony said.
“There were no clear guidelines in place for the school to fall back on when dealing with these instances.
“Parents were essentially doing as they saw fit – blowing off steam at teachers' expense.”
The Chapter was supported by the College Leadership Team, and particularly the Principal, in developing the document. Anthony said the Parent Partnership intended to provide clear support to staff and set transparent expectations for all members of the school community.
“The Parent Partnership makes it explicit to staff that they are backed up by a document that supports them, given there are similar documents already in place for students in Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) schools.
“Similarly, it provides parents with a guide as to what is and what is not acceptable, along with how to best communicate with teachers and other school staff.
“It also provides a clear idea of the processes in place for dealing with problems that may arise with teachers and students.”
Anthony noted the support of IEU Organiser Alica Walters in drafting the document and said it had now become an exemplar for potential use in other schools.
“From our Chapter's perspective there was a clear gap in policy in this area directly linked to staff wellness.
“While the finer points of Parent Partnership may not fit neatly within all school contexts, we think it will serve as a nice starting point for others.
“Teachers in classrooms have the greatest impacts upon the kids they teach - let's do everything we can to ensure they are looked after and backed up 100%.”
Members with concerns about the treatment of school staff by parents or others in the school community should contact their IEU organiser for support.