Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple school principals and departmental officers bully classroom teachers into ill health and out of work.

Bad Apple Bullies create a culture of fear in Queensland schools.

Bad Apple Bully administrators create a culture of fear in Department of Education schools with their workplace harassment, bullying, mobbing, discrimination and victimisation or "payback", etc.  

 

How can we change the culture of fear in Queensland schools?

The Queensland Department of Education has a legal obligation to protect Queensland teachers from Bad Apple Bullies - administrators who harass and menace teachers.

The High Court of Australia stated in 2004 that an employer has an obligation to take reasonable steps to provide a safe system of work.

This duty is not discharged by delegation unless the delegate in fact provides the reasonable care which the employer was under an obligation to bring to bear. In Fuller V. New South Wales Department of School Education and training (2004) NSWCA 242 (16 July 2004) the court noted that the employer has a duty to take account of the possibility of inadvertent or negligent conduct of employees. QTU Journal 25/11/2004, p. 17

 

Since 2001 the Queensland Department of Education have developed a range of new policies to deal with the problem of Workplace Bullying and Harassment, etc. 

But there are significant problems with these policies -

 

  • Bad Apple Bullies do not follow the official Queensland Department of Education policies. They abuse them to harass and victimise classroom teachers.

 

  • The Queensland Department of Education policies are written and evaluated by administrators. So the policies are developed for the benefit and protection of administrators.

 

Queensland teachers will not be safe at work till -

  • the person who is responsible for dealing with workplace bullying in Queensland schools is clearly identified.

The main problem that an abused teacher has in Queensland is in identifying the person who is accountable for dealing with the workplace abuse -

The Premier advises you that it is the responsibility of the CMC.

The Minister says that it is not his / her responsibility and passes your complaint to the Director-General.

The CMC also pass your complaint to the Director-General.

But the Director-General has "much more important things to deal with" than the systemic abuse of Queensland teachers.

So he / she allows the Bad Apple Bully to investigate themselves (or tightly control an "independent" investigation) and find themselves innocent.

Then the Premier, the CMC, the Minister and the Director-General all declare the matter "finalised" and refuse to communicate with you again.

Months after the matter is declared finalised you are allowed to read the investigation report under Freedom of Information.

And you discover that the "investigation" was a sham.

But your protests to the Premier, the Minister, the Director-General and the CMC are not read and not recorded.

This "process" facilitates the abuse of Queensland teachers.

 

Queensland teachers are not safe at work because -

 

  • When a Bad Apple Queensland Department of Education administrator makes a mistake, they can easily make "red herring" allegations against a teacher to distract attention away from their own poor professional conduct.

And from that point onwards there is no hope of justice. Every other Queensland Government public servant has to pretend to "believe" the Bad Apple Bully's story.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can claim that "lots of" allegations have been made against a teacher, but refuse to explain the allegations. They can deny the teacher natural justice.

So you can never prove that you are innocent.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can easily manipulate the State Premier, Ministers, Directors-General and the senior officers of the Queensland Department of Education by providing them with misleading "Briefings" that 'spin" the facts and conceal what is really 'going on".

Bad Apple Bully administrators use Ministers and Directors-General like puppets to sign documents and "speak" words written for them by the Bad Apples. 

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can simply claim to have "lost" their own emails, letters, records of investigations and investigation reports when teachers make a Freedom of Information (FOI) application.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators conduct "Claytons" investigations.

 

  • Bad Apply Bully administrators can easily falsify a teacher's Official Departmental Record by secretly placing a mass of falsified "records" on the teacher's file, including records of imaginary conversations with them and concerning them.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators conduct secret "investigations" into a teacher, base decisions concerning the teacher on these secret investigations, and then "lose" all record of the secret investigation when the teacher makes an FOI application. 

But the decisions based on the secret investigation can never be removed from the teachers' file.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can  write two quite different versions of events in two different documents and place both documents secretly on a teacher's file, so even when the teacher manages to find the documents under Freedom of Information, the teacher still has no real idea which "official story", if any, is true.

The teacher still won't be able to respond effectively to these conflicting "official allegations".

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators manipulate the vulnerable - children, the sick, the disabled, the Aboriginal, inexperienced employees "in training" or the local Queensland Teachers' Union organiser - as puppets to "speak" their imaginary allegations against teachers.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can claim to have "lost" a teacher's letters and documents over and over again.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can undermine teacher's workplace bullying complaint by "spinning" the teachers verbal complaint to suggest that the bullied teacher is not credible.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators instruct each other not to read a teacher's letters and documents.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can claim to "misunderstand" a teacher's complaint and can misrepresent the complaint in their letters to the teacher.

Then they can place their own version of the teacher's complaint on the teacher's Departmental record.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can refuse to read the teacher's response and to allow the teacher the opportunity to correct their misleading "official record" of the complaint. 

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators send their own misleading letters to other public servants who then copy the misleading contents directly into their own letters to the bullied teacher.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators can repeat this strategy over and over again so that a totally misleading "official record" of the teacher's complaint is created.

 

  • Bad Apple Bullies do not bother to find out the facts.

They just copy their own gossip concerning a bullied teacher into official documents.

 

  • Then Bad Apple Bully administrators base their decisions concerning the bullied teacher on their own untruthful gossip.

 

  • When a teacher demonstrates that their letters, reports , 'briefings" etc. are gibberish, Bad Apple Bully administrators claim that the gibberish is "the best that they can do".

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators smile and give bullied teachers lots of false assurances. 

Meetings with them place bullied teachers at risk because nothing that the Bad Apple Bully administrators say can be relied upon.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators write letters to the bullied teacher that convey little real meaning or have multiple possible interpretations.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators abuse the Freedom Of Information process.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators continually move from job to job so that all of their records can be destroyed and they can't be held responsible for their actions / inaction.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators sign documents that they claim that they did not write, do not understand and for which they cannot be held responsible.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators collaborate to delay any investigation for as long as possible so that the Bad Apples can claim to have "forgotten" the reason for their actions / inaction.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators give the person whose abuse the bullied teacher has complained about total control over the investigation into their own conduct.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators conduct themselves in an unprofessional manner - snigggering about bullied teachers and "putting them down" to each other.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators "spin" the situation to portray each other as victims in the official records.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators never demonstrate any insight into their own bullying.

They never demonstrate any remorse.

Quite the opposite. 

Bad Apple Bullies are brazen.

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators are able to explain away behaviour that any normal teacher would consider to be corrupt as "good management of our limited resources".

 

  • Bad Apple Bully administrators defeat decent teachers because they claim that their corruption is not corruption. They claim that they are "incompetent".

And they know that  you can't prove that they have adopted their "incompetence" as a strategy to avoid being held accountable for their actions.

 

Queensland teachers will not be safe at work until -

... it is Department of Education policy that any meeting to discuss performance issues is tape recorded.

It is too easy for a Bad Apple Bully administrator to destroy a teacher by falsifying records of meetings. 

And it is too easy for a Bad Apple Bully administrator to continually change "allegations" made against a teacher.

Bad Apple Bullies can make verbal allegations at a meeting and then, if the teacher is able to disprove these allegations, significantly different allegations can be secretly recorded in the "meeting notes". 

 

... it is Department of Education Policy that allegations made against a teacher are stated clearly in writing and a copy given to the teacher before the teacher is asked to respond to the allegations.

 

... and the evidence to support the gossip / opinions / allegations should be provided in writing.

If an administrator is operating at the level of scribbles on a loose jumble of sticky-notes, if the administrator cannot explain or is not willing to explain in writing what his / her allegations are, the administrator is probably not thinking in a logical and professional manner.

He / she may have no substantial allegations to make. 

In this case the administrator's conduct is simple harassment.

At the moment it is too easy for a Bad Apple Administrator to impulsively fabricate sudden and unsubstantiated  "concerns about ... waffle, waffle, waffle " to distract attention from a mistake that they have made or an issue raised by the teacher.

One teacher claims that she was put on Diminished Workplace Performance in December 2000 and that, to this day, 4 May 2011, the Director-General of the Department of Education refuses to tell her why.

The teacher claims that she was told that a "lot of" allegations had been made against her and that the principal had a "lot of" documents which proved "the way things may have happened".

The teacher applied for those documents under FOI in September 2003.

To this day - 4 May 2011 -  these documents have not been produced.

 

But a huge jumble of sticky-notes and loose sheets of paper have been found:

 

  • Some of these "documents" appear to concern the behaviour of another teacher. 

 

  • Many are falsified records that were not shown to the teacher before the decison was made to put her in a punishment program.

 

  • One "document" makes reference to another document which is missing.

 

  • Statements made in several "documents" significantly contradict statements made in other documents.

 

  • There is no document which explains what the "lot of allegations" were and what was actually "going on" at the school.

 

Do Bad Apple Bully administrators have a policy of documenting their abuse of the DWP in pencilled scribbles on loose scraps of paper?

Is this a Bad Apple Bully strategy to avoid accountability for abusive conduct? 

 

  • If all records are on loose scraps of paper they can be lost.

 

  • If they are written in pencil they can be continually changed.

 

  • If they are scribbled nobody can prove what the scribbles really mean.

 

  • If they are unsigned nobody can prove who made the allegation. 

 

  • If they are undated nobody can prove when the scribbled note was written. 

 

Is this shockingly low standard of documentation actually a clever strategy to ensure that a Bad Apple Bully may be found to be a poor book-keeper, but that their abuse of the DWP process cannot be substantiated?

 

... there are real consequences for Bad Apple Bully administrators who falsify records.

 

  • Any document placed on a teacher's file should be of a professional standard.

 

  • The document should be dated, signed and the name of the person/people concerned should be clearly stated. 

 

  • The document should be typed or written in pen. 

 

  • The meaning of the document should be clear to the reader.

 

  • Before a document is placed on a teacher's file the teacher should sign to indicate that she/he has sighted the document. 

 

  • There should be equal space on the document for the teacher to respond to the allegation.

 

  • Any later comments or responses should be typed or written in pen, dated and signed.

 

  • There should be serious consequences for Department of Education administrators who are in breach of this policy.

 

When a Bad Apple Bully makes malicious allegations about you in front of a group of other people, the shock and humiliation of the situation reduce your ability to respond effectively.

Targets need time to recover from the shock of abuse.

Bad Apple Bullies thrive in an environment where shock, threats, hints, bluff, lies and impulsive decision-making are the official practice. 

Classroom teachers need time to think carefully about allegations that have been made about them, time to seek advice, to gather evidence and to respond to the allegations in writing.

 

... the evidence that supports the findings of all Queensland Department of Education "investigations" is stored with the original, signed copy of the "report".

 

... and the "investigation" report is signed by the person who actually wrote the report.

 

At the moment, it is too easy for a senior Queensland Department of Education administrator to respond to a complaint about harassment with gossip / a letter / report / "Briefing for the Minister" which introduces many more false allegations against the complainant.

This is not administration, it is abuse.

It is too easy for the administrator, when the new allegations are entirely disproved, to claim that the untruthful letter/ report/ briefing for the Minister that he/she signed was not written by him/her but by another officer in his/her department who has now left the employment of the Department of Education.

It is too easy to claim that all records to support the untruthful letter/ report/ briefing for the Minister were destroyed when this other, junior officer left the employment of the Department of Education, and so now nobody can prove who is actually responsible for the untruthful statements made in the letter that the senior officer signed.

Senior officers should be prepared to be held responsible for the contents of the "reports" that they sign.

They should hold their own copy of the evidence that supports the findings of their "report".

They should be familiar with the evidence that supports the findings of their "reports".

A signature on a report/letter should indicate that the person signing accepts responsibility for the report/letter.

This is not the practice in the Queensland public service at this time.

Queensland public servants are able to claim that someone else wrote a letter that they signed.

By this means they are able to avoid responsibility for the contents of the letter/report that they have signed.

Ordinary Queenslanders have to be responsible for the documents that they sign and so should Queensland public servants.

 

... the Departmental "internal review" process is improved.

  • It is too easy for a "reviewer" to refuse / neglect to read / claim not to have been given the documents provided by the teacher making the complaint.
  • It is too easy for a "reviewer" to simply copy into his "report" the contents of  falsified documents that have been placed secretly on the teacher's file. 

 

Copying out the contents of secret, falsified documents is not a "review". 

It is a continuation of the harassment, victimisation and mobbing.

 

  • It is too easy for a "reviewer" to claim to have "drawn the inference" from the falsified documents that the Bad Apple Bully's behaviour was not harassment at all and that the Bad Apple Bully's behaviour was justified.

 

  • Queensland Department of Education internal and external "reviewers" and investigators should not consider documents that have been secretly placed on a teacher's file in breach of the Public Service Regulations.

 

  • Any document considered by a "reviewer" or an investigator should be signed and dated by the teacher concerned, to indicate that they have had the opportunity to read the document and to respond to any falsified claims contained in the document.

 

An investigation that is based on documents that are known to be falsified is not only harassment, it is a waste of public resources.

Wasting public resources is a breach of the Department of Education Code of Conduct: Failing to consider the ethical principle of economy and efficiency in public administration.

Failing in the responsibility to ensure that public resources are not wasted, abused or used improerly.

"Work time is a valuable resource that must be managed effectively to create a productive outcome". (5.1.1, 5.1.2)

 

... the CMC / Department of Education "investigation" process is improved.

CMC practices facilitate the abuse of Queensland teachers -

When handing a 'case' to the Department for investigation, the CMC officers usually tick a box to indicate that they require "outcome advice only".

This indicates to the department that the CMC will accept anything that the department do in response to the complaint, however dopey.

The CMC officers then instruct each other not to speak to the complainant on the phone, read any further letters written by the complainant or take any action in relation to the complaint.

Department officers, knowing from the moment that the 'case' is handed to them that the CMC really do not care what they do, have no motivation to investigate the complaint properly.

As long as three years after the CMC has handed the complaint to the department for investigation, the Department may produce a "review".

CMC officers may be aware that

  • the reviewer has simply copied from a huge mass of falsified documents that were placed secretly on the complainant's Departmental Record in breach of several Departmental policies.

 

  • and that the complainant's response to the falsified documents was disregarded.

 

  • and that the "review" of the falsified documents was conducted by a junior Aboriginal employee who was "being trained" and very closely supervised by the person who was the subject of the complaint.

 

  • And that this very junior Aboriginal employee was selected to conduct the "review" despite the fact that the Department employed solicitors specifically trained and experienced in this area.

 

  • And that several documents and reports concerning the complainant appeared to have vanished from the complainant's Departmental file.

 

But the CMC will accept the review.

And copy into their records the untruthful gossip of the officer who was the subject of the complaint.

And then refuse to read or to record the complainant's response to the abusive "review".

 

At every stage of the Queensland CMC / Department of Education process, the complainant is refused natural justice.

 

... classroom teachers who report child abuse by another teacher are protected from "payback" or victimisation.

When a child discloses to a teacher that they are being sexually or physically abused by another teacher, of course the teacher must report the disclosure. But "dobbing" on a "mate" goes against traditional Aussie values. Administrators and other staff may react badly to the situation. They may not understand their own need to "payback" the teacher who reported the abuse.

There is a need for an official structure to protect teachers who find themselves in this situation.

  • The teacher should be given a formal statement that they reported abuse in accordance with Education Queensland policies and that they will be protected from victimisation for a period of longer than one year.

 

  • This statement should be placed on the teacher's file at the District Office.

 

  • There is a need to change the culture of some schools and to support teachers who disclose abuse of children by other members of staff. 

Queensland teachers and other school staff need to spend time reflecting on their own desire to "payback" a "dobber" teacher who discloses abuse.

It needs to be understood that the problem is the abuser, not the teacher who reported the abuse.

 

There is a need for research into the Education Queensland process of reporting abuse of children -

  • How effective is the process in stopping the abuse?
  • Do teachers who report abuse of children by other teachers suffer victimisation?

There is also a need for research into abuse of the DWP process to harass women teachers.

Are women teachers, particularly older women teachers, put on the DWP for trivial reasons?

Are male teachers treated differently?

All Department of Education administrators need to be trained to recognise and to resist Bad Apple Bully strategies.

 

... Department of Education Administrators are trained to recognise and to resist the attempts of Bad Apple Bullies to suck them into a mob.

It is not sufficient simply to develop a "ceremonial" new policy or re-training course and then to passively hope that the Bad Apple Bullies will change their behaviour.

Bad Apple Bullies do not understand their own behaviour.

That is the problem.

Dr John Clarke, psychologist and criminal profiler, discussing the Corporate Psychopath (Bad Apple Bullies are corporate psychopaths in educational settings) has stated that it is - 

"almost impossible to rehabilitate the psychopath. In fact, there are studies in the United States which suggest that rehabilitation in fact makes them worse because it teaches them new social skills they can use to manipulate the people around them more effectively"

(Corporate Psychopaths, Catalyst, ABC Online, 5 May 2005)

Queensland Department of Education administrators need to be trained to differentiate between genuine professional discussion and unprofessional "grooming" by Bad Apple Bully administrators who are trying to suck them into a mob.

Queensland Department of Education administrators need to spend time reflecting on the characteristics and common behaviour patterns of a Bad Apple Bully and to develop strategies to deal with Bad Apple Bully behaviours.

 

... there is a closer relationship between the Queensland Department of Education official policies and the unofficial practices of Department of Education administrators.

One Queensland teacher claims that she was put on the DWP in two days by a Bad Apple Bully.

She claims that her complaint about this abuse of several Department of Education policies has now taken more than seven years to investigate.

Months pass with no progress. 

She further claims that, in the meantime, the Bad Apple Bully has been promoted and celebrated and many other teachers have been negligently exposed to abuse.

Is it the Queensland Department of Education practice to promote and / or publicly celebrate a Bad Apple Bully when a complaint is made about their abusive behaviour?

 

When responding to a complaint about workplace bullying, it is illogical for the Queensland Department of Education to announce "new policies to deal with workplace bullying" and then to promote the bully. 

This practice suggests a profound systemic dysfunction.

 

  • Is it the Queensland Department of Education practice to investigate claims of workplace bullying and harassment very, very slowly and reluctantly?

 

  • Is is the Queensland Department of Education practice to placate a complainant with false assurances and trick apologies, while actually doing nothing at all to resolve the problem? 

 

... the "merit selection process" is re-thought to identify and "weed out" Bad Apple Bullies .

... because Bad Apples promote Bad Apples.

 

  • When interviewing applicants for promotion positions, questions should be asked to identify the communicative style of an administrator. 

 

  • Applicants for promotion should be required to show evidence that they have a collaborative management style.

Times of management change are times when workplace bullying tends to flourish, possibly because the Bad Apple Bully is slightly overwhelmed and is reacting impulsively rather than rationally. The risk of abuse is compounded when the Bad Apple has selected a compliant and easily manipulated "off-sider".

 

... teachers who are interested in applying for promotion or for temporary "acting" positions are required to sit for a test on their knowledge of basic Department of Education Policies.

just as a learner driver has to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the road rules before he/she is allowed to drive a car.

A test of this nature would not only ensure that inexperienced Department of Education administrators -

  • have a basic knowledge of Queensland Department of Education Policies.

 

  • have a basic level of thinking, reading, and comprehension skills.  

 

If the test is passed, a "licence" could be awarded and the teacher would only then be eligible to apply for promotion or for "acting" positions.

  • The test would be impartial. 

 

  • It would assert the validity of the official policies, as opposed to quick and easy Bad Apple Bully practices. 

 

  • It would also ensure that a wider range of Queensland Department of Education Education employees had a basic knowledge of the official Education Queensland Policies. 

 

  • the Queensland Department of Education "merit selection process" is re-thought.

Because Bad Apple Bully administrators -

  • are irrational and impulsive decision-makers.  
  • are too lazy to actually read the Department of Education policies. 

 

Are semi-literate glib talkers being "merit selected"?

Queensland teachers are at risk of harm when they work with an illiterate administrator.

Greater emphasis need to be placed on "merit" selecting Department of Education administrators who can listen, think, read and write effectively.

 

Consultancy firm SHL work for about half of the top companies in Australia. SHL are developing online ability tests and personality questionnaires -

"In the dog-eat-dog world of job seeking, it seems that more than half of applicants think it's acceptable to lie, exaggerate or withhold information during the recruitment process.

There has been a lot of research done on embellishment and exaggeration of CV's, which suggests a CV could have a 30% to 40% exaggeration factor.

 ... SHL is trying to solve the problem by developing a series of tests that can be used online, to gauge the cognitive abilities of candidates and their personalities, but each is individualised. ...

SHL generates unique new questions for each candidate, while the test is presented in a different order.

The questionnaire is timed - usually 30 to 45 minutes - and folds itself up and disappears once completed or when the time lapses.

A verification test, which can be done on a laptop at the place of interview, takes only five minutes."

(Giles Parkinson, Primal Screen, The Innovators, P. 56, Business, The Bulletin, 03/10/2006)

 

The Queensland Department of Education needs to employ a company such as SHL to weed out promotion applicants who -

  • lie in their promotion application.

 

  • demonstrate the characteristics of a workplace psychopath.

 

  • have no knowledge of Queensland Department of Education policies.

 

  • and who are not good listeners, thinkers, readers and writers.

At the moment illiterate administrators can pay companies to write their job applications for them. Or they can volunteer to work on a selection panel and collect examples of applications to copy out. Or there may simply be so few literate applicants that any applicant is accepted, however obvious it is that they have poor listening, thinking, reading and writing skills.

The problem of illiterate administrators is going to be compounded as increasing numbers of OP19 teachers filter into the system. Bad Apple Bullies will find OP19 teachers easy to groom. OP19 teachers will do exactly as they are told. They will not engage in professional discussion or need to be punished because of their "wrong thoughts". OP19 teachers will be good fodder for the Mob - and will probably be rapidly promoted.

 

... all Education Queensland administrators are required to demonstrate logical, reasonable decision-making skills.

Principals with weak reading/ thinking/ listening/ writing skills need more support to structure their decision-making strategies.

Support of this nature would prevent public time and money being wasted on the grievance investigations that result from poor administrative decision-making.

Queensland Public service morale would be lifted if administrative decisions were seen to be more rational.

A form needs to be developed which would logically structure the reasoning and the actions of a Department of Education administrator who is deciding how to deal with a problem.

The form should be signed and dated at every stage of the decision-making process by the principal and any classroom teacher concerned.

Putting a classroom teacher on Managing Unsatisfactory Performance may be the quickest and easiest way for an administrator to deal with a problem, but it may not always be the most effective way of resolving the problem.

If it is genuinely necessary to place a teacher on MUP, the reasons why it is necessary should be clear to everybody concerned.

A form of this nature would help to protect the Queensland Department of Education from complaints of negligent and malicious abuse of the MUP process.

  • A collection of forms of this nature, witnessed by the teachers concerned, should be required to support an administrator's application for promotion.

 

  • The forms would demonstrate an administrators real-life capacity to make logical, reasonable decisions based on facts rather than impulse.

 

  • Documented examples of "upward evaluation" by classroom teachers of administrators in real-life situations should be required to support promotion applications. The Queensland Department of Education must make it clear that that the Age of Bluff and Spin is at an end.

* * * * *

Queensland Department of Education policies are written by administrators.

So Department of Education policies are written for the benefit and protection of administrators.

The interests of classroom teachers are not properly represented when new policies are being developed and evaluated.

Administrators are represented by the principals' associations and the Queensland Teachers' Union.

Classroom teachers are only represented 50% by the QTU.

The QTU have a conflict of interest because they represent the interests of administrators and classroom teachers.

So Education Queensland policies are largely developed by administrators to protect the interests of administrators.

There is a need for a lobby group to properly represent the interests of classroom teachers when new policies are being developed, etc.

The stage of the DWP process during which a principal actually decides to place a teacher on DWP is the stage at which the policy is most vulnerable to abuse. 

And a DWP process that starts with abuse will continue in abuse.

Although Managing Performance - Teaching Staff and School Leaders 2.6 briefly explains how a principal might reach the conclusion that a teacher needs to be placed on the DWP, a glance at 4.1, the flow-chart illustrating the DWP process, demonstrates that the official DWP process starts with the identification of  areas for improvement in the teacher

The presumption made here is that any problem can be corrected by shooting a scattergun of demands for "improvement" at the classroom teacher and demanding that she/he "improve". 

This Managing Performance Policy was written by administrators for the quick convenience of administrators, and it really shows.

An earlier stage needs to be inserted into flow chart 4.1.

At this earlier stage the principal needs to spend time identifying the problem and thinking about how to deal with the problem as a whole, rather than simply isolating and shooting the classroom teacher.

For example, if a classroom teacher asks for the principal's support in dealing with the number of unsupervised children roaming about the school, disturbing other classes, what would be the most effective way to resolve the problem-

  • To stop unsupervised groups of children roaming about the school, interrupting other classes. 

 

  • To tell class teachers that allowing their children to continually roam about the school is not acceptable.

 

  • And then for the principal to monitor the situation for a few weeks.

or 

  • For the principal to "set" other teachers at this teacher, asking them to secretly make notes on his / her behaviour.

 

  • To put the teacher who asked for support in dealing with the roaming groups of children on MUP.

 

  • To secretly record your opinion that this teacher is "inflexible, rigid in her views and unable to effect change".

 

  • To tell the teacher that "We have to do this to you. It is a supportive process. We want to change the way that you are thinking."

 

An effective process needs to be developed to deal with a principal who has a mental health problem.

Let's Deal With The bad Apples recognises that there is a problem with the abuse of Section 85 to bully public servants.

But at the moment there is no official process by which a teacher can report a concern about the mental health of a school principal.

This situation exposes teachers and students to the risk of harm.

* * * * * *

Changing the Bad Apple Bully-Friendly Culture of the Queensland Teachers' Union

The QTU Code of Ethics states that Queensland "teachers shall assert their professional, industrial and civil rights and support their colleagues in the defence of these rights".

This website aims to support Queensland teachers whose professional, industrial and civil rights are being abused.

Bad Apples Bullies who abuse Department of Education policies to harass teachers are in breach of the QTU Code of Ethics.

Classroom teachers' union dues should not be used to protect Bad Apple Bully administrators. 

Administrators who are found to be in breach of the QTU Code of Ethics should forfeit the benefits of union membership.

The interests of classroom teachers are not being properly represented when new policies are developed and evaluated.

Administrators are represented by the principals' associations and the QTU.

Classroom teachers are only represented 50% by the QTU.

The QTU have a conflict of interest because they represent the interests of administrators and classroom teachers.

So Queensland Department of Education policies are largely developed by administrators to protect the interests of administrators.

For example, Managing Performance - Teaching Staff and School Leaders 4.3.2 states that a teacher should be given a copy of the policy after the principal formally advises him/her (verbally and in writing) of performance areas identified as requiring improvement.

So the teacher can find themselves in the middle of the MUP process before they are given any information about the nature of the process!

And, importantly, at this stage it will be too late for the teacher to make a grievance about the abuse of the "process" by which the "decision" was made to put them on MUP.

(Because once a teacher is actually involved in the MUP, they cannot make a grievance about the MUP process.) 

MP 4.3.2 was written by administrators and is very convenient for a Bad Apple Bully administrator.

There is a need for a lobby group to properly represent the interests of classroom teachers when new policies are being developed, etc.

 

Once a year the back page of the QTU Journal should contain an evaluation form for each member to complete and mail to an external agency in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the service that the QTU and QTU organisers are offering. 

This evaluation form would give a voice to the many (women) teachers who are unable to attend union meetings because of family responsibilities.

  • Is it time to re-think the old-style union meetings? Do they restrict control of the union to a few members?
  • Is the QTU too big?
  • Do organisers and senior officers take on too many directorships, etc?
  • Is the relationship between the union executive and the Queensland Public Service too close?
  • Is an executive position at the QTU seen as a career springboard into the well-paid senior ranks of the Queensland Public Service?
  • Would a member of the executive who was applying for senior positions in the Queensland Public Service feel able to properly represent the industrial interests of union members?
  • Are teachers able to get effective advice and support in their hour of need?
  • Are QTU members' problems actually resolved, or are members simply advised that nothing can be done about their problem?
  • Can organisers represent the interests of members properly if they can't / won't take the time to read relevant documents, listen to the member explain the problem, ask questions, find out the facts, etc
  • Can QTU organisers actually harm members interests?
  • Can QTU organisers really represent the interests of both the bully and the bullied at a meeting? 
  • Are (older) women teachers experiencing discrimination?
  • Are older women teachers being bullied into early retirement? 
  • Why do so many younger teachers leave the profession?
  • Do the QTU hide behind their administrative members in order to justify doing nothing about abusive management practices?
  • Is it logical for school management to be in the same union as classroom teachers? Is this the way that unions are supposed to work? Who benefits? For example, when an Bad Apple administrator bullies a classroom teacher, the QTU considers it to be a "member versus member situation". The classroom teacher is given no support. Who does this policy benefit? Does this QTU policy actually expose classroom teachers to abuse?
  • Teachers pay large membership fees over a period of many years. Do they think that they are getting value for money?
  • Are QTU organisers responsive to the needs of members?
  • How are organisers selected? Are some organisers selected because they are good at shouting other people down at meetings? Do some organisers lack the patience and the experience needed to support a member in distress?
  • Do members really need two types of QTU organisers / officers - one group of organisers to talk confidently at large groups of members, and a different group of organisers to listen to members and actually help them deal with problems such as workplace bullying?
  • Are teachers being properly advised of their rights by union officers before they are led into meetings to discuss performance issues? Are they being given a copy of the DWP policy? Of the Code of Conduct? Of the Grievance Process? Of the FOI process? Or are they simply being led to slaughter?
  • Each year the role of the QTU solicitor should be evaluated. Members need to know more about QTU legal support.
  • Who is being given legal support? QTU Officers? Senior departmental officers? Administrators? Classroom teachers? Men? Women?
  • Who is being refused legal support? Why?
  • Are classroom teachers and administrators given equal access to legal support? For example, Are classroom teachers who are bullied refused legal support, but administrators who are disciplined for bullying given legal support?
  • Who makes the decision to grant or to refuse a teacher QTU legal advice? How is that decision made? On what factual basis is it made? Are QTU members given natural justice when this decision is being made?
  • Is there a need for the QTU to develop a form to be filled out by members when applying for legal advice, so that the decision-making process is more transparent and the decision-makers are more accountable?
  • Can a QTU member be refused legal support as a punishment for complaining about a lack of QTU support?  
  • What right of appeal does a teacher have if they are refused legal advice by the QTU?
  • How many classroom teachers are being sent threatening letters by the QTU solicitors each year?
  • Why are classroom teachers being threatened?
  • Are these threatening letters the main form of "legal advice" given to classroom teachers? 
  • How many threatening letters are sent to administrators each year?
  • Is the QTU accountable to members? How? What accountability mechanisms are in place?

 

Changing the Culture of the Queensland Public Service

Right To Information ( RTI )  can give you some accountability if you are prepared to hang on, going around and around in circles like a driver in an  "enduro".

If you go around and around in circles for long enough, applying and re-applying for the same documents over and over again, you will eventually get at least some of your documents.

Up to February 2005 we had an RTI (then called Freedom of Information)  process in Queensland that worked reasonably well.

If there is no Right to Information, there is no accountability.

The Bad Apple Bullies are in control.

Are the CMC and the Ombudsman understaffed? 

Do they have time to read letters and documents properly?

If the CMC and the Ombudsman's departments are understaffed, this is a Bad Apple Bully-friendly situation.

There is not a lot of point in distributing shiny re-assuring brochures about the Queensland CMC and the Ombudsman if they are so understaffed that they do not have time to read complaints properly.

Or if the officers are too afraid, too incompetent or too corrupt to read disclosures properly.

 

Dealing With the Mob believes that "accept the things you cannot change", "go with the flow", "don't rock the boat", etc. are inappropriate values for the Queensland public service.

If a Queensland teacher can be destroyed for trying to do his/her job effectively - we need a better government.