Bad Apple Bullies

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

Discrimination on the grounds of political belief, race, sex, age and disability.

Discrimination on the grounds of-

 

Political belief.

" Politics is populated by ambitious operatives who specialise in sabotaging other people's careers for the sake of their own."

There are some changes you can't believe in, Ross Fitzgerald, Inquirer, p. 21, The Weekend Australian, July 25-26, 2009.

 

On 25 November 1999 I applied for a transfer.

I did not want to work at Lynch-Mob State College in 2000.

FOI Document 2733 File G Administrative Law Services Branch documents 49-51 (using the numbers at the bottom of the page) are copies of my application for a transfer to Brisbane to work as an English as a Second Language teacher.

I had very good qualifications in that area.

 

Why didn't I want to work at Lynch-Mob State College during 2000?

Acting principal Mrs GR and I were both active members of the Labor party.

I had met acting principal Mrs GR through the Labor party before either of us began working at Lynch-Mob State College - the school where she bullied me into ill health and out of work.

During 1998 I had organised groups of Labor party supporters to go canvassing for Local Member C on Sunday afternoons.

Mrs GR was in her first year as a Queensland teacher, working as a librarian at one of the local schools.

I understand she had previously worked in another state as a principal in a private school.

But in 1997 she had appeared in our town with no job.

She began doing casual teaching work at local schools.

Mrs GR's name was on a list of Labor party supporters, so I would ring her up to ask her if she could come and help with the canvassing.

She never helped.

I first met Mrs GR face-to-face at the party to celebrate Local Member C winning the 1998 state election.

 

The next year, 1999, I began working at Lynch-Mob State College.

And I found that Mrs GR had been appointed deputy principal at the school.

 

The next year, during Term 4 2000, Lynch-Mob State College usual principal Mr EL was on leave.

So Mrs GR took over as acting principal of Lynch-Mob State College.

And Miss AL, a reading teacher who usually sat at the desk next to mine in our shared office, was chosen by Mrs GR and Mr EL to be acting deputy principal.

 

to be continued

 

I worked as a teacher for 30 years in England, New South Wales and Queensland.

Durning that 30 years I never saw any principal behave towards any teacher in the way that Mrs GR behaved towards me.

She did not seem to be relating to me as a school principal normally relates to a teacher.

She seemed to be relating towards me as a politician relates to a political opponent.

 

For example:

Contrived Outrage.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman accused Labor members of Brisbane City Council of adopting a "contrived outrage" strategy to divert attention from an issue involving Labor councillor Kim Flesser.

"This is nothing more than contrived outrage to cover up the fact that their councillor has been caught out," he said in a statement.

 

How does the "contrived outrage" strategy work?

When you make a mistake you "contrive outrage" at some trivial thing that your political opponent may or may not have done.

The "contrived outrage" distracts attention from your own mistake.

 

So - when I tried to discuss the groups of Grade 7 children who were missing from the Grade 7 classrooms, roaming unsupervised about the school, disrupting the other classes, the acting principal did not respond in the way that a school principal normally responds to this sort of issue.

She did not deal with the groups of unsupervised Grade 7 children roaming about the school.

The acting principal responded in the way that a politician would respond to an issue raised by a political opponent.

She, who had not been into my classroom or looked at my program all year, suddenly "contrived outrage" about some real or imaginary "lots of allegations" concerning me.

 

Falsification of records:

For example:

Documents 2421 F 28-32 were described by the Education Queensland Freedom of Information officer, Stephannie Kalas, on March 23, 2004 as -

"Notes of meeting between (acting principal Mrs GR), (acting deputy principal Miss AL), (usual principal Mr EL) and (my name) on 27/11/00."

Stephannie Kalas refused to send me a copy of the document.

I made an application for an internal review of her refusal.

I said that the documents must be falsified because usual principal E.L. was not present at this meeting.

Usual principal Mr EL was not present at any meeting during Term 4 2000.

He was on leave.

 

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity-trained Education Queensland 'discrimination solicitor' who conducted the internal FOI review allowed me a copy of the document.

But it was not the same document.

It was headed:

"Meeting with (my name), (the name of the local QTU organiser), (acting principal Mrs GR) and (acting deputy principal Miss AL) 27th November, 2000."

These are different names in a different order.

 

This second version of the 2421 F 28-32 'record' was written by acting deputy principal Miss AL.

It was not an accurate record.

So,

  • either acting deputy principal Miss AL was acting in the way that Education Queensland administrators normally act, because Education Queensland administrators normally falsify the "records" of meetings

or

  • or acting deputy principal Miss AL was acting in the way that a subordinate normally acts when they are under political pressure, because Labor politicians normally pressure their staff to falsify or change "records" of meetings.

For example:

"A former staffer of Belinda Neal has told how the federal Labor MP pressured her to lie in a statutory declaration by omitting damaging key details about what was said ...

Melissa Batten said last night she crumbled under pressure when Ms Neal directed her to rewrite a statutory declaration so it did not contain any unfavourable "loopholes".

She claimed the original statement was then shredded in Ms Neal's electorate office.

... Ms Batten said Ms Neal directed her to delete from her sworn statement ...

... With other staff of Ms Neal also required to fill out statutory declarations supporting the Labor MP, Ms Batten said she heard one of them say: "Any scrap stat decs, give them to me, and I'll shred them."

Ms Batten said that Ms Neal, during an earlier hour-long phone call, had also pressured her to change her story by not including ...

Ms Neal allegedly said to Ms Batten: "You didn't hear that."

The staffer said she felt pressured and did not include the comment later in her sworn statement."

  • Neal 'pressured' staffer to tell lie, Brad Norington and Mathew Franklin, p.1, and p. 4, The Australian, Tuesday June 24, 2008.

 

And discrimination on the grounds of -

 

Race

It is difficult to separate discrimination on the grounds of race from discrimination on the grounds of age.

English people do not have the same values and beliefs as Australian people.

I grew up in a small English town of 4000 people.

I have the values and beliefs of a person who grew up in that place, at that time.

When I was about five, I remember telling my father that some boys were bullying me on my way home from school.

So my father took me into our 'front room' and got down on his knees and tried to teach me how to throw punches.

I knew that I was never going to be throwing any punches.

Mostly I was just amazed at the sight of my father shuffling about on his knees. 

My father told me that if you were bullied it was very important to hit the bully back really, really hard, so that the bully learned not to do it again.

Now I realise that this must have been what my father - and his fellow airmen - discussed and believed during the second World War.

And every morning at my selective Girl's High School we sang, 'fight the good fight with all your might ...'

So there was nothing passive or Buddhist about my English upringing.

I was never taught that I must tolerate injustice in fearful silence.

We girls were told that we were going to be leaders of the community.

And that we had a responsibility to speak up if we thought that something was wrong.

 

I never, ever knew an adult in my community to lie.

I cannot imagine it.

We would have thought that the liar had degraded themselves.

They would have died of shame.

English children were taught that 'a man is as good as his word'.

And every morning at my selective Girl's High School we sang, 'fight the good fight with all your might ..

Before I was bullied in Queensland I had no experience of corruption.

That's why I couldn't believe the advice of the QTU that I should "accept the things you cannot change". 

I could not believe the QTU when they told me that there was no hope of justice because, they advised me, the Education Queensland Grievance process did not work. 

I believed in the Queensland Department of Education, the Queensland Government and the Labor party.

I believed the words that I read in the shiny Queensland government policy brochures.


There are similarities between my own experience, that of the Canadian teacher working at Mandurah High School, WA

and that of Robert Bartholomew, the American sociology professor working in the Northern Territory (as discussed on

http://www.badapplebullies.com/teacherstories.htm ) that support the argument that this is a genuine cultural / racial difference.

 

The Canadian teacher, the American sociology professor and I tried to deal with problems at our schools.

We did not realise that in the Aussie public service culture dealing with problems is not valued.

In the Aussie public service culture not talking about problems is valued.

Queensland classroom teachers advise each other to "go with the flow" and "don't rock the boat".

I suspect this is related to the convict roots of Aussie culture.

Every early Aussie convict had to work in silent obedience for seven years in order to gain his or her 'ticket of leave'.

And Queensland teachers are treated like convicts - sent out to remote areas, far away from their families, to work fearfully till they have earned their 'ticket of leave' - the right to return home.

Queensland culture still seems to value silent compliance with corruption.

And so problems in Queensland schools are allowed to fester for years, because teachers who try to deal with the problems are attacked and denigrated as 'arrogant troublemakers'.

 

and also-

The person who was chosen to conduct an 'internal review' into my complaint during 2004 identified as an Aboriginal.

This was concealed from me for several years.

So, not only was I trying to communicate with an Australian, I was (although it was being concealed from me) trying to communicate with an Aboriginal Australian.

A young man of quite a different race.

 

A young man who identifed with a primarily oral culture, not a written culture

- and I was never, ever allowed to speak to him.

But the senior Education Queensland officer whose negligence I had complained about was allowed to meet the Aboriginal "internal reviewer", discuss my complaint about his own conduct, read his draft "reports"-

and to liaise with the CMC concerning the "internal review" of my complaint about his own behaviour!

 

I wrote to the "internal reviewer" several times to tell him that a mass of documents on my "official record" had been falsified and placed secretly on my file without my knowledge.

But he decided to copy from the falsified documents.

And to ignore - "not to consider" -  my responses to the falsified documents.

 

My experience of Aboriginal people in public service positions of responsibility has been positive, very positive.

I have observed their skill with language and their kindness and attention to the individual.

 

But I had reported child abuse by a male teacher at White-Wash State School in late 1999, one year earlier.

And -

"... in remote Aboriginal communities,

where vigilante justice is aimed not at perpetrators but at whistleblowers, and reporting child sexual abuse is so terrifyingly dangerous

that even the strict secrecy codes of the nation's top crime commission cannot encourage those who know to speak up. ...

Inquirer was told of a case in another central Australian community of a child witnessing the rape of a toddler. The alleged perpetrator was a 12-year-old boy. After a child witness confided to an adult about the incident, it was reported to authorities.

The whistleblower was hunted for weeks by members of of the communities powerful families. ...

Australian Crime Commission chief executive Alistair Milroy says the National Indigenous Violence and Child Abuse Intelligence Task Force ... has discovered high levels of under-reporting of abuse.

"Intimidation, fear and threat of retribution is a key cause of under-reporting," Milroy says.

If you live in a small community and disclose abuse, there is the real possibility of retribution from the offender's family, from your own family or from your community."

  • Secrets in the shadows, The intervention: One year on, Natasha Robinson, p.22, Inquirer, The Weekend Australian, June 21-22, 2008.

 

And Indigenous academics at Australian universities also report that 'their mob' engage in bullying each other and that indigenous academics do not support bullied people because of fears of 'payback' -
 
 
61 per cent of 172 indigenous respondents to a survey of racial discrimination reported experiencing 'lateral violence', or problems with indigenous university staff  bullying each other.

Survey comments included: "It becomes very competitive with your own mob at times and they don't support you if you are getting bullied or anything because they don't want the trouble to come to them."

Indigenous people are said to feel that 'lateral violence' is a crippling problem in their community.

 

Indigenous staff air concerns over bullying, Jill Rowbotham, The Australian, 23 November 2011 :  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/indigenous-staff-air-concerns-over-bullying/story-e6frgcjx-1226202933221

 

I have always presumed that the Aboriginal 'internal reviewer' was simply being used as a puppet.

The fact that all copies of his September 2004 "draft internal review" seem to have vanished from the official records suggested to me that his original September 2004 "draft internal review" had been re-written by somebody else, possibly by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity-Trained Education Queensland "discrimination solicitor".

 

But this newspaper article suggests that it was discriminatory for Education Queensland senior officers to select an Aboriginal person to conduct the "internal review".

Because of -

  • his very different language background.

 

  • his oral culture.

 

  • his different thinking style.

 

  • the different values of the aboriginal community with which he identifies - in which whistleblowers - such as myself - are hunted down and attacked. 

 

  • the different values which might also cause an Aboriginal employee to particularly fear being attacked by his public service community if he reported that I was being bullied. Because then he would have become a "whistleblower" himself.

 

And discrimination on the grounds of -

Sex.

The principal of White-Wash State School made no written record of this disclosure concerning a male teacher.

A male teacher who, the principal told me, had a long history of warnings for this sort of behaviour.

But one year later Lynch-Mob State College acting principal Mrs GR claimed that this same principal had told her that he had concerns about my relationship with children.

And had encouraged her to put me on Diminished Workplace Performance.

I complained that this was discrimination and "payback".

 

And discrimination on the grounds of -

Disability.