Should I Be Honest with Principal

Updated on March 15, 2014
S.M. asks from Phoenix, AZ
26 answers

We decided our dd is not going on the out of town trip because the teacher she is assigned to doesn't,t properly supervise the class bully and our child doesn't.t want to go. She will have this teacher for some classes the next two years and would hold a grudge.
The woman made the bully and the bullied spend time together and do trust exercises!
The principal will be upset and want to fix it but I think this teacher is a dud. She also gave a project over spring break and we had to delay our trip which shows bad judgement too.

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answers from Washington DC on

Homework over a break I would not bring up to the principal. Many teachers do that and my sks almost always had a project.

The bullying I would bring up to the principal. What is school policy?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I disagree with you about the project. LOTS of teachers give projects over spring break. That's life - not bad judgment.

Now, the rest I agree with. Leigh's advice is spot on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

The honesty should be in telling the principal about the bad practice of homework over a break. As a long time teacher and parent, breaks are family time. Any parent who desires work should send a request to the teacher for her child only.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Richland on

I agree with Suz, you don't need to give a reason and this teacher does not sound like a dud. Trust exercises are a good thing, a lot better than most teachers do. Most just placate the parent by labeling the kid a bully and then keeping them separate. Then again it sounds like all you want is to be placated.

I have never heard of anyone delaying a trip just because of an assignment and my kids got plenty over spring break.

Sounds like your problem is more about the school doesn't bend to your will.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

If you have legitimate concerns you should certainly take them to the principal. You have recieved some ecellent answers already.
I would like to add that your daughter is going to have to work with bosses and co-workers that she may not like some day. Are you going to step in when she quits a job for being "bullied"?
The teachers response sounds very appropriate. Our schools have the 'bully' complete a think sheet then do the same. My ten year old mentioned a situation in her class that sounded to me as if one girl was being singled out and picked on for quite some time. I talked to the mother who was concerned-but the fact that another kid observed it led her to report it. The teacher had the offender complete the think sheet, and then spend time doing trust exercises. The girls 'hang out' often now.
The assignment over spring break is not bad judgement. My kid not telling me about the assignment until spring break is nearly complete-now that is bad judgement!

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I went to Catholic school. We always had homework to complete over breaks. Why you have to delay a trip for that, I can't be sure, but my family never altered their plans, I just worked on my school work wherever we went. Big Deal. That's the kind of dedication that got me into one of the best high schools in our state and a very prestigious liberal arts college (not to mention my BA).

Your complaints about the school trip are also falling on deaf ears here. The teacher handled it appropriately and your child (who isn't even being bullied!) now has the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons about forgiveness and tolerance. You don't seem to want her to learn either.

And any parent who says things like "This teacher is a dud" and doesn't want the principal to "fix it" is someone I'm not inclined to agree with anyway.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Having the bully and the bullied spend time together and do trust exercises together is an excellent way to handle a bullying situation. Punishing a bully isn't really effective. The bully is punished, and now resentful and ready to bully even more. Having the bully and the bullied spend time together and do trust exercises helps the bully develop empathy for the other student, something that many bullies are lacking. My son was bullied in grade two by a grade three student. The school used the restitution method, similar to what you have described, and my son and the boy have been friends ever since (they are in grade six and seven now). Projects during breaks are pretty annoying, but also very common.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i can't imagine why anyone WOULDN'T be honest with the principal.
that being said, the principal probably doesn't need to micromanage every single tizzy that entitled parents fly into.
you don't have to give a reason for keeping your child home. if i was uncomfortable with the supervising teacher, i'd do the same thing. class trips should be fun, and there's no need to force a reluctant child to go.
sounds as if your child has been encouraged to feel as if discord with a schoolmate is a huge emotional trauma and that coddling is called for. i applaud a teacher thoughtful enough to consider trust-building exercises, and who doesn't automatically punish and censure a 'bully', who may well be a child who is simply exasperated with a school chum who expects to get her own way all the time.
calling the teacher a dud, and assuming she will hold a grudge, indicates a rather large degree of spite. mirror psychology and so forth. this is borne out by your expectation that a child can't work on a project during a family trip.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

First of all, I have taught over 13 yrs as a regular substitute and in the past few years, the term "bully" is SO overused. Most of the time, it is a conflict between a couple of students and not bullying.

No one will be friends with everyone they come in contact with all of their life. There's always going to be that person who make you cringe inside but as an adult you handle yourself maturely.

You daughter needs to be able to stand up for herself because you, teachers, bosses, etc are not always going to help work out conflicts.

Have you communicated with the teacher and principal that you are not satisfied with the outcome of their attempt to repair the conflict? Do they know your expectations? How do you know for a fact that the class is not supervised properly? That is a big assumption and can come back to you if you do not know facts... (facts from ALL sides, not just your daughter's)

Would I lie to the principal? No, because when you start lying to someone, eventually you will be found out because it comes back around. We have a poster with a quote in our first grade class that says "If you always tell the truth, then you don't have to remember what you said". Plus, you daughter will know you are lying. What kind of example if that to model for your child? Be a big girl and be honest if you choose to keep her home. I am not saying make her go on the trip, just be honest. By not going, the people she has conflicts with will know she is not going because of them and it could end up worse for her. Can you go as a chaperone?

As for the project, get over it. That makes you look like a complainer and there is no reason to delay your trip just because a child has some homework. That is called time management. Just because it is spring break does not mean students are meant to do nothing educationally such as keeping up with reading/math logs and work in progress on assignments that they know will be due at a specific time. Most everyone on Spring Break has some sort of project/homework. Our students bring in handwritten reports on what they did for spring break with show and tell if they choose and then share with the class.

I don't know how old your daughter is but if you are having this much trouble, maybe it is time for a school transfer for next year and start over.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Your job as parent is to help your kids deal with the struggles in life, not pave the easiest path for them to walk.

Projects over vacations, teachers who you don't always agree with and mean girls are all reasonable challenges for a 12 year old. It's her life and she needs to be the one managing it.

You're there to love and support her. Your job is to help her see that her attitude towards adversity will dictate the level of her happiness and success. You cannot fix it for her. Stop building a case against the teacher, bully and life and let your daughter stand on her own two feet.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like both the teacher and the principal want to help the kids get along (which is their job) but you just want them to keep your child separated. I don't see how that helps your daughter, or the situation. Try working WITH the school instead of simply writing the teacher off as a "dud" and you will likely get better results.
And I don't see how having a project over spring break shows bad judgement, or why you would have to delay your trip. I would simply have my child bring her work with her.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Why do you need to give him a reason to not send your daughter? Just don't send her if she doesn't want to go.
If you have issues with the teacher in general, discuss THAT with the principal AND the teacher.
Assigning projects over mid-year breaks is not poor judgement on the teacher's part. It's just part of the educational process. Trust me, when your daughter gets to college, she will work on MANY projects over her breaks.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Frankly the only one here who seems to be exercising is bad judgement is you. Assignments over break are totally normal and having a "bully" (so overused) and the "bullied" child work together is effective conflict resolution strategy when used correctly.

If you daughter doesn't want to go, then simply opt her out. You don't need to provide an explanation.

If you have legitimate complaints about the teacher, then by all means raise those concerns with the principal. But I don't see issues with what you wrote, nor do I see how this relates to whether or not your child goes on a trip.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Your daughter is 12?
Is she being bullied?
Or she just doesn't care for the actions of this other kid?
You can be honest. Just be prepared for the consequences.
At 12, I think your child needs encouragement and guidance toward independence and the skills for dealing with ALL types of people.
Is letting her skip the trip and expecting the assignment rules to bend for her in exception doing that?
Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Fact is, your child is going to face bullies their entire life as a child, teen and adult. Have you ever been to a PTA meeting? There is always a bully doing and saying something!! :) Same thing with work environments. So pulling your kid out of situations like this is not the answer. You need to teach your child how to handle the situation and cope and deal.

Also, the teacher will never change if you don't say something. Seems to me that if you mention it to the principal, perhaps the bully will be better chaperoned. You don't have to blame the teacher - just show concern for the overall situation. Don't mention names.

Good luck!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hmm the teacher and principal are trying to bring the girls together. It think that is great. It's a shame your daughter is not going. I think it would have been a good thing for the girls. Teacher does not sound like a dud. A project over spring break is not bad judgement. Why would you delay a trip becAuse of it? Does not make sense. Just bring project with you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

Why wouldn't you tell her the truth? Yes, be honest. If you aren't honest, the problem will persist. And it is 100% your right to keep her home! even if the principal tries to fix it. And honestly, it is her job to try to fix it, and the teacher was also doing her job by trying to instill conflict resolution skills. But don't lie where your kids are concerned.

Eta - assignments over break are the norm in many schools.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Okay, just so I'm not reading something into this--

I think others have touched on the over-use of the word 'bully', so I'll go from there....

First off, it sounds like the identified 'bully and bullied' are not your children, right? You don't mention that your child is being directly affected by that situation, just that you didn't like how the teacher handled it. If the two kids involved were former friends, perhaps the teacher was trying to tap into that and build some empathy there. I don't know, except I know you didn't think this was appropriate.

How would it feel to approach the teacher with a genuine concern "My daughter would really like to go on this field trip, that said, she's worried because it seems that So and So is a bit out of control. What kind of plan can we come up with so that she knows what to do if So and So is giving she or other kids a hard time?" If you make this about the teacher, yes, the teacher will likely take it personally. If, however, you say "I see a known, identified concern here and I want to know how you are planning on handling this"--- that puts the focus on the problem, period.

If, of course, you feel like your own kid is being targeted and is vulnerable and not safe, you have every right to ask the principal if you can be a parent chaperone. I would never send my son into a situation where I didn't feel he was safe. Although I'm expecting your daughter is maybe in middle school or so? (Mine is in first grade.)

From the looks of it, honestly, it does look a little like you are finding things to be upset about in regard to the teacher. Homework during spring breaks is pretty common for older kids. Maybe she should have handed it out sooner if you needed to gather materials? I think, though, if you have a fundamental problem with the teacher, what Leigh said is right-- it does need to be addressed. From the gist of your post, things do feel a bit arbitrary, but I don't know. In any case, if it were my kid, if I had real concerns about guidance during a field trip, I'd make it my responsibility to go along with them or to speak directly to the problem.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I don't think you need to give anyone any reasons about why you don't want your daughter on the class trip. Unless you feel like telling the principal, in which case, you can assume the principal will share your reasons with the teacher in one way or another (I work in a school, that's the way things go). Yes your principal will probably want to find a way to fix it. It's their job.

I also want to add that you are correct in thinking that having a kid who bullies and their target do trust exercises is a terrible way to handle the situation. As a school counselor I have been to countless trainings on bullying, and you are right, that is a very misguided way to handle a bullying situation. If a student is feeling threatened or harrassed by another student, they need to know that they will be protected from that other student, and should not be encouraged to "work it out" or spend MORE time with that student. In a true bullying situation, there is always an imbalance of power, with the bullying student having a leg up somehow- usually by status/popularity, but also by size, age, social maturity, or numbers (2 on 1 eg). To put them in a "mediation" type situation totally disregards this imbalance and creates a completely awkward situation for the target student.

Sorry to go on a rant there. Just wanted to have your back on that one.

The HW over spring break, I don't have your back on, unless it was assigned Friday at 3pm to be due the morning they return. Which is usually not the case.

The teacher may very well be a dud. I would quietly bow out of the field trip and not try to make a big thing of it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

What a great opportunity for you (or your husband) to be a chaperone on this field trip. You stated that your child will have classes with this teacher for the next few years so it is an excellent investment of your time to really see for yourself how she handles the students and establish the fact that you care. She may be doing the best she can do in the circumstances she is in. After, if still an issue, you can bring constructive criticism to the principal.
Every single teacher that my children had, and still do, give assignments for every break starting in middle school. Start worrying if they don't. It only gets worse, in college--finals after spring break...
If the project was given over spring break and not assigned at least 24 hrs before the last class dismissal for break then there should be a school policy for that, for example, you would have 24 hrs after the first day back. Otherwise it is called an in class assignment.That could be cleared up easily in the school handout, or a phone call to the office on policies..

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I would address the issue w/ the teacher and principal. If you have no other choice of a teacher for that grade, you will want to make the next two years the best you can. Work with them and it will be best for your daughter. Good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think you should be honest with the principal about why she's not going and also about your feelings that the teacher will hold a grudge. But, before doing that, go to your local police department and ask them for any printed materials they have on bullying or get some on line. When my grandchildren were being bullied we went to the Police Dept and they had GREAT handouts on how to deal with bullying. And I guarantee you having the bully and bullied doing "trust" exercises is not one of their recommendations for stopping the bullying. Take that information with you to a meeting with the principal and let him know that your daughter will not be going anywhere with the class until the school implements some good anti-bullying tactics.

As for the project, we had one assigned over the xmas break. Talk about bad judgment! Not only did we have to find time, but we also had to find money to purchase supplies. Totally thoughtless if you ask me!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You don't need to go in to details. Just let them know that your daughter can't attend. No need for extra info.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Just say, you have family plans.. I wouldn't send my child... and don't feel the need to explain too much... Just yesterday my son didn't attend a field trip because I couldn't chaperone.. my thought process being that the teacher and other chaperones don't watch the kids as thoroughly as I might like.... when I see that changing, I;ll reconsider my position..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My older daughter attended 13 years of public school and she had a project every spring break and most winter breaks. She also had a summer reading and math assignment every year (due the first day of school) from 1st grade through 11th grade. Guess what? We didn't delay a single trip and she got her work done.
We even took a family trip outside the US that caused my daughter to miss a few days of school. Her teacher created an assignment just for her. This was before everyone (it seems) had tablets and smartphones and most hotels abroad didn't have internet access. The assignment got done on planes, busses, and small cafes. It was no big deal.
As a teacher, I rarely assign projects specifically to fall during breaks, but sometimes we have long term projects due right after break. If families decided to wait until the break for the child to work on the project, that is their choice. Most families who will travel plan ahead so they can complete the project in advance and then go off on vacation.
With all of the snow, your child's teacher might be behind in the required curriculum through no fault of her own. If so, spring break may be the only way for her to fit the project in. If the principal is concerned about the quality of teaching, the teacher falls under an evaluation system with periodic reviews by a supervisior. If she's a true dud, your daughter won't have her for the next two years because she will be removed.
So my advice is to focus on the bullying. Your child's teacher is legally required to address bullying. Perhaps the trust exercises are part of your district's approved anti-bullying program?



answers from Oklahoma City on

Tell the principle no, also no to the project over vacation. Tell him the teacher has no right ruin your family plans and it will be done when your family gets back.

Tell the principle that you're changing schools next year because you fear this teacher doesn't have a clue about managing a classroom. Then find another school for her.

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