Uniting School Administrators to Create a Better World

Be the Good Cop First – What I’m Learning as a School Administrator – Journal #3

I was the only administrator two of the last three days this week.

And guess when all the craziness happened?

Yup – On those two days when I was the lone administrative representative.

Here’s a short summary of the highlights of this last week:

1. I dealt with a bullying issue where I had to investigate who said what and who did what.I ended up having to send a student home for the week.

2. A principal from another school called to find out information about a student who was at their school last year. The student was in foster care, and had been separated from her brother in the transition to our school. It was really a sad situation, and it brought me down a little. I concluded that I was going to initiate a program at school where students who need some extra TLC can connect with a teacher on campus. Finding the time to get that started is going to be the tough part, however.

3. A parent called in to the school and asked us to release her 13 year old son to walk home on his own to be at the house when her 4-year-old is dropped off. According to mom, she couldn’t be home in time, so she requested that we let her other son walk home from school. I told her that we couldn’t do that. We can’t let a student leave school in the middle of the day to walk home alone without a parent signing him out. It was a tough call, since mom now had to find some other way to make sure her 4-year-old gets home safe. It was the only call I had. What if something happened to the boy on his way home? We would be liable.

4. A parent came in to complain about the actions of one our teachers. According to the parent, the teacher’s actions were inappropriate, and he wanted something done about it. There was nothing I could do about it, other than listen, document, and promise to give all the information to the principal when he returned. In cases like this, I have to be careful not to guarantee any action other than to relate information. I also have to be careful not to take sides or to agree or disagree. It’s a tough place to be in, because you have to protect the teacher’s rights, while at the same time, respect the parent’s concerns. I think I handled it pretty well. The parent went away satisfied that I would let the principal know of his concerns.

5. Worked on completing all the schedule change requests for the new trimester. It’s a long tedious process, but it’s part of my responsibilities.

6. On Friday, I chaperoned a dance. I spent the whole two hours walking around, telling students to stop dirty dancing and sending students out who had brought in drinks. I used to like school dances, but that was when I was a teacher, and I could just hang out with the kids. As an administrator, I have to be more of a policeman.

7. I had to apologize to a parent for accusing her son of being part of a bad group of kids. I had spoke to him during my investigation of the bullying incident described earlier. I have to use threats of possible consequences to some students when I think they’re not telling me the whole truth. I did this with this particular student. Mom called me the next day to tell me that she was offended that I would automatically assume that her son would lie to me. She went on to list all the academic awards he had won and high marks he was receiving. I had to admit that she was right. I had played the bad cop with her son the day before, and I should have tried being the good cop first. I told the mom that although it wasn’t my intention of accusing her son of being a liar, I understood that it may have appeared that way. I apologized to her, and she accepted it. I later found the student and made a personal apology to him.

It would have been nice to have had another administrator there to handle the other stuff, but I managed.


Lessons Learned:

Be the good cop first. All students need to be believed before they demonstrate otherwise.

Pick Your Brain:

What do you do when you have a parent who is complaining about one of your teachers? Now, I can just send the complaint to my principal, but what will I do when I am principal?







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