Survey: Teachers feel bullied by campus administrators

HOUSTON - The Houston Federation of Teachers released a survey Wednesday that shows many Houston Independent School District teachers feel they are the targets of bullying at the hands of their own campus administrators.

More than 2,500 teachers responded to the survey, which asked, "Is your boss a bully?"

The overwhelming majority answered yes and blamed school principals and assistant principals.

"The most common administrative abuse is screaming at employees to correct them or reprimand them," said HFT President Gayle Fallon. "That's not how you treat people."

Survey responses were sent from nearly every district campus and included comments such as:

  • An administrator allegedly makes fun of pregnant teachers; publicly tells them they should plan their pregnancies for the summer when they're off.
  • Disrespected a co-worker by placing a hand on their face and not letting them talk.
  • When there are dangerous situations, such as weapons on campus, we are prohibited from telling anyone.

The teacher's union said it will officially ask the school board and superintendent to adopt a policy to protect teachers that is similar to the anti-bullying policy that protects students.

HISD released a statement in response to the survey.

"Campus principals are the key to the Houston Independent School District's effort to place a quality teacher in every classroom. HISD's Effective Teachers Initiative is the primary driving force behind the strong academic achievement made by HISD students, which led to the recent announcement that HISD is among four national finalists for the most coveted award in public education – The Broad Prize for Urban Education. As principals continue leading their campuses toward stronger achievement, they are expected to treat teachers with the dignity and respect they deserve as professionals. HISD has policies in place that are intended to guarantee all employees a healthy work environment, and the district is committed to enforcing those policies."

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