Bad Apple Bullies

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

The Education Queensland Stage 1 Grievance process.

What happens when you make a Stage 1 Grievance to an Education Queensland District Director?

  • The person whose behaviour you are complaining about may be asked to investigate their own behaviour. Education Queensland do this again and again throughout their "investigation" process. When you tell officers of the Crime and Misconduct Commission that this is what is "going on", the CMC officers tell you that it is not their responsibility.

  • The investigator may change the wording of your Grievance. This seems to be a strategy to make it easier for the investigator to find his or her version of your grievance "unsubstantiated".

  • It also ensures that the official Education Queensland records of your complaint will not record your grievance accurately.

  • This strategy of mis-representing your Grievance / FOI application, etc. etc. is very commonly used by Queensland public servants.

  • Another common strategy is to "lose" your Grievance, or to "lose" all but the first page, or to "lose" alternate pages - there are many variations on this 'losing" strategy - and then to base an "investigation" on this falsified version of your Grievance. You may not realise that this is what has been done for several years. To protect yourself against this strategy, ask to see the copy of your Grievance that the investigator is using. And ask for a copy of the official record of your Grievance under Freedom of Information.

  • The investigator may also secretly decide not to investigate your Grievance. He may describe what he is doing as "an investigation" to you, but in the official records it may be described as / appear to have been something other than an investigation. In this way the "investigator" escapes responsibilty for actually investigating and finding out the facts. So he or she can claim to have come to any conclusion about the situation, however ridiculous.

  • When you first write to the District Director to ask for your grievance to be investigated, be sure to include the words: "I request that an officer be appointed to investigate the situation and to determine the truth".

  • Then, after an investigator has been appointed, even though it may appear to you that an investigation is in progress, you need to keep on asking for an investigation over and over again in writing. If you don't keep repeating your request for an investigation in writing, Education Queensland can claim that they "could not identify a specific request for an investigation of the matters".

 

The Real-Life experiences on which these conclusions are based-

December 14, 2000

I made a Stage 1 Grievance to the District Director that the Diminished Workplace Performance Process was being abused by Mrs G.R., acting principal of Lynch-Mob State School, to "pay me back" for trying to deal with problems at my school.

I asked the District Director to appoint an investigator to determine the truth.

The District Director sent my Stage 1 Grievance back to Mrs GR.

 

January 25, 2001

I gave a copy of my Stage 1 Grievance to Mr EL, the usual principal of Lynch-Mob State School -

 

"Confidential Stage 1 Grievance concerning the Conduct of Mrs GR, Acting Principal, Lynch-Mob State School.

 

My appeal is against the harsh, unjust and unreasonable behaviour of Mrs GR

 

Description of the harsh , unjust and unreasonable conduct -

 

Misuse of the Diminished Workplace Performance Process-

  • as a substitute for resolution of interpersonal conflict."

 

On 3 November, 2000, I had asked acting principal Mrs GR to support me in dealing with the numbers of children who were missing from the Grade 7 classrooms.

The Grade 7 teachers had adopted an "outcomes based philosophy" which consisted of allowing their children to roaming about the school in unsupervised groups, disrupting the other classes.

Acting principal Mrs GR had suggested that I discuss the sitution at the next staff meeting.

 

  • " to resolve disputation over management decisions."

 

Acting principal Mrs GR had refused to attend -

  1. the meeting that I had requested with the School Behaviour Management Committee to discuss allegations that acting principal Mrs GR had made concerning me during a staff meeting on November 10 2000.
  2. and a mediated meeting that I had been advised by the Queensland teacher's union, the Staff Welfare officer and two specialist advisory teachers to request with Mrs GR, to discuss Mrs GR's behaviour during the staff meeting on November 10 2000.

Acting principal Mrs GR had agreed to meet me, but said that the purpose of the meeting would be to discuss her own sudden "concerns".

 

My Stage 1 Grievance was that acting principal Mrs GR was abusing the Diminished Work Performance process to distract attention from her own behaviour during the staff meeting on November 10 2000.

 

"Failure:

  • to verify that there was substance to the complaint prior to initiating the DWP process."

 

During the meeting on 27 November 2000, acting principal Mrs GR had -

"stated that there were a lot of allegations, and that she had lots of pieces of paper to prove how things may have happened."

FOI 2469 F 92 - acting deputy principal Miss AL's notes on this meeting.

These falsified "records" were placed secretly on my official record and concealed from me till after 27 April, 2004.

 

2469 File F  The District Office documents seem to be the documents that Lynch-Mob State School usual principal Mr EL used in making his "decision" not to support my Stage 1 Grievance.

Mr EL did not show document 2469 F 92 to me before making his "decision", but he must have been aware that acting principal Mrs GR had made this statement.

Neither Mrs GR nor Mr EL ever showed me these "lots of allegations ... lots of pieces of paper to prove ..."

To this date, 3 December 2008, I have not been shown these documents .

Nor have I ever been told what the "things" were that "may have happened".

 

  • " to fully investigate the complaint.

  • to fully consider my responses to allegations.

  • to properly inform me of the DWP procedures and timelines

  • to address organisational causes of the problem.

  • to comply with the school policy on bullying.

  • to provide a supportive working environment.

  • to provide a safe working environment.

  • to communicate effectively.

  • to fully inform me on matters concerning me.

  • to give me notice of allegations against me.

  • to provide a copy of the complainant's written statement.

  • to give me an opportunity to respond in writing within 14 days of receipt of the copy.

  • to take appropriate action.

  • to monitor my performance and provide accurate and constructive feedback."

 

Acting principal Mrs GR was supposed to be my supervisor but she neither came into my classroom nor looked at my program once during 2000.

 

Acting deputy principal Miss AL was usually a reading teacher.

She had been sitting next to me in our shared office during Terms 1, 2 and 3 2000. 

Acting deputy principal Miss AL never, ever saw me teach or looked at my program.

 

Lynch-Mob State School usual principal Mr EL had not looked at my program once during 2000.

He had not been into any classroom where I was teaching during Term 1 and 2, 2000.

He had been into my classroom for five minutes during Term 3 2000. He had watched two children acting and laughed. 

He had been on leave during all of Term 4 2000.

 

  • "to treat all records and material concerning complaints about me confidentially - misuse of this requirement to my disadvantage."

A copy of my Stage 1 Grievance can be found at 2469 F 90-92 (numbered backwards on top right hand side).

 

16 February 2001

Usual school principal Mr EL's "Investigation Report" was delivered to my home on the day before the Queensland state election.

2421 File  C 198 and 199

But this report was not what it seemed to be.

I thought that the report was poorly written, but in 2001 I simply presumed that Lynch-Mob State School usual principal Mr EL found it difficult to express his ideas in writing.

I now realise that the report was actually very, very cleverly written to convey one meaning to me and a quite different meaning for the official records.

 

It is headed -

"Report: Grievance Meeting Stage 1 - 5/2/01"

This did seem to be an odd heading for the report.

If this document purports to be a record of the meeting, why does Mr EL make no reference to the five separate times that acting principal Mrs GR threatened that she would take action against me if I continued to complain that she had not supported me?

Mrs GR's threats took up quite a significant part of the meeting.

 

This Report is actually a typed copy of the hand-written "report on his investigation" that Lynch-Mob State School usual principal Mr EL had read to us at the start of the meeting.

It was not a report on the meeting.

Because it had been written before the meeting.

But -

More than four years later, after 6 April 2005, I was sent a copy of Education Queensland officer K.E.'s "internal review".

This document was attached to letter to me from Education Queensland /  Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission -trained discrimination solicitor M.E. dated 6 April 2005.

and I discovered for the first time that -

Page 20 -21

"60.

f) the principal chose not to commission or undertake a detail (sic) investigation but to meet with the parties and resolve the issues;

g) it is not clear whether the Complainant had accepted this approach by the Principal before it was implemented;"

 

I knew nothing about school administrator E.L.'s January 2001 decision not to investigate my stage 1 Grievance till after 6 April 2005.

 

Lynch-Mob State School usual principal Mr EL's "report" continued:

 

"(My name ) appealed over the harsh, unjust and unreasonable behaviour of Lynch-Mob State School acting principal Mrs GR during Term 4.

This was in relation to strategies used with various students during (specialist) classes."

 

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

Mr EL had a true copy of my real Grievance (see above) because it was among the documents that he seems to have used in making his "decision" concerning my Stage 1 Grievance.

 

Lynch-Mob State School usual principal Mr EL's "report" continued:

"The aim of the process was to :-

Discuss and clarify with support people any identified facts. ..."

 

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

 

Seven teachers who had seen me teach for periods of up to two years (all of the Grade 5 and 6 teachers) had asked Lynch-Mob State School acting principal Mrs GR if they could have a meeting to discuss her behaviour.

These seven brave teachers astonished each other by how clearly they spoke to Mrs GR.

 

Mrs GR had not been into my classroom or looked at my program all year.

Lynch-Mob State School acting deputy principal Miss AL had never seen me teach and never looked at my program.

Lynch-Mob Stae School usual principal Mr EL had been on leave all term.

 

The seven teachers told Mrs GR that she was making a mistake.

They told her very clearly and firmly that there was no problem with my "classroom and behaviour management practices" (these were the "specific concerns" identified in G.R.'s letter to me dated 29 November 2000).

I understand that Mrs GR told the seven teachers that I was not being put on the DWP for the reasons given in her letter.

She told them that there were "secret other" reasons to punish me.

 

I asked Lynch-Mob State School usual principal Mr EL to speak to these seven teachers who had actually seen me teach and who all supported me.

They could explain to Mr EL what had been "going on" at the school while he was away.

If he had any doubt at all about any detail of my complaint, Mr EL could have checked the facts with these teachers.

But Mr EL told me at the meeting on February 5, 2000 that he had not spoken to the teachers.

When I asked Mr EL why he had not spoken to the seven teachers who supported me, he said that the teachers had put nothing in writing.

And Mr ELtold me that it was now too late for the teachers to put anything in writing.

Mr EL had never mentioned to me that this would be necessary.

 

So E.L.'s "report" is misleading in that he does not make clear that he refused to consult the seven support people who had seen me teach for periods of up to two years  - and who all supported me.

 

"... We as teachers are often required to deal with difficult parents from time to time. ..."

 

Is Mr EL hinting at some real or imaginary problem with a parent here?

I was a specialist Indonesian teacher.

I taught nine classes at this school. About 250 students and about 500 parents.

To the best of my knowledge, only one of these 500 parents, Mother D.A., had complained about me during the two years that I had worked at this school.

 

The behaviour of Mother D.A. had been a problem on October 4 2000, the third day of term.

I had taken Mother D.A. to school administrator G.R.

Mother D.A. was loud, aggressive and abusive.

She believed that I had put her son on detention.

This had not happened.

I needed support.

School administrator G.R. did not support me effectively.

She allowed Mother D.A. to abuse me for twenty minutes in front of her son, my student.

 

Mother D.A. repeatedly called me "this woman".

She pointed at me and jeered "Look at her body language!"

 

Mother D.A. stated - "I don't give a sh*t whether he passes Indonesian or not!"

"I don't give a sh*t about Indonesian!"

 

Mother D.A's daughter was in the other Grade 7 class, so I knew that the children and parents in both Grade 7 classes were going to hear that I had been abused and that this was going to cause problems for me during the rest of the term.

As it did.

When I tried to explain that I had not put her son on detention Mother D.A. shouted me down.

I behaved in what I believed was a professional manner - I simply listened to her abuse and did not engage in argument.

I thought that Lynch-Mob State School acting principal Mrs GR was handling the situation badly, but I thought that was because she was inexperienced and also because Mother D.A. was so overwhelmingly abusive.

After Mother D.A. left, Mrs GR asked me to stay behind

I tried again to explain.

Mrs GR said that she did not have time to listen to me because she had to go to a meeting.

Then she also abused me.

I was shocked by G.R.'s unprofessional behaviour, and I was exhausted with the unrelenting abuse from the child, Mother D.A. and now acting principal G.R.

I began to cry.

 

But this had all taken place on October 4 2000, and G.R. had made her announcement to the staff concerning me on November 10 2000.

Is some other real or imaginary problem with a parent being concealed from me to this day, Monday 21 January 2008?

 

"... There has been an increasing build up of professional resistance between the two parties and as time has passed coming to an acceptable resolution has become more difficult. ..."

 

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

a) 

G.R. had not seen me teach or looked at my program all year.

She had shown no "professional" interest in my work.

 

G.R. had, however, asked me repeatedly to join her branch of the Labor party.

And I had "resisted" her repeated suggestion.

It is unjust to describe this as "... an increasing build up of professional resistance. ..."

 

b)

I had been very shocked by school administrator G.R's lack of support for me when I took Mother D.A. to her office.

After this incident I felt trapped, because G.R. was my principal and I could not refuse to talk to her.

But I felt unsafe talking to G.R. because her behaviour seemed to me to be irrational, impulsive and unprofessional.

 

I asked my doctor for valium to take when I had to speak to G.R..

I wanted to be able to "zap myself out" so that G.R.'s behaviour would not "get to me".

My G.P. advised me that it was "situational stress" and that it was better for my health to cry rather than to take valium.

 

Then things seemed to "settle down" and I felt that school administrator G.R. and I were establishing a more professional relationship.

It was because I felt, on Friday November 3 2000, that we had established a more professional relationship, that I asked G.R. to support me in saying that there were too many disruptions to my Grade 7 (specialist) lessons.

 

"... as time has passed coming to an acceptable resolution has become more difficult. ..."

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

 

"... as time has passed ..."

G.R.'s behaviour at the staff meeting on Friday 10 November 2000 was a shock that "came out of the blue" after I asked for her support in saying that there were too many disruptions to my Grade 7 (specialist) lessons.

I was so shocked by G.R."s (seemingly) irrational and very, very unprofessional behaviour that I became ill.

I was on sick leave for the next week.

 

" ... coming to an acceptable resolution has become more difficult ... "

G.R. had responded to my request for a mediated meeting by abusing her power to change the nature of the meeting. 

G.R. had insisted that the purpose of the meeting would be ...

 

"... regarding the implementation of a Diminished Work Performance Program ..."

2421 File F Lynch-Mob State School document 59 True copy of a letter to me from Lynch-Mob State School acting principal Mrs GR dated 29 November 2000.

 

Mrs GR made no attempt all all to "come to an acceptable resolution".

Her immediate response to my request for a mediated meeting was to put me on DWP.

 

"On the matter of the Grievance all paperwork was received and support people questioned."

 

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

... all paperwork was received ...

In 2001 I presumed that this was a reference to the documents that I had provided to school administrator E.L.

But I now realise that E.L's wording was misleading.

He, I presume, had "received" the mass of falsified documents from G.R.

But he knew that I knew nothing about these secret documents.

Neither he nor G.R. had shown them to me.

Neither he nor G.R. had discussed them with me.

 

... all paperwork was received and support people questioned.

To this day, Monday 21 January 2008, I do not know who these "all ... support people" were.

I had asked E.L. to speak to the seven teachers who had spoken to G.R.

(ref. 2606 F document SD 25: 4, also numbered 253 at the top right hand side)

 

E.L. had refused to question the seven teachers who supported me.

Acting school principal G.R. had not been into my classroom for twelve months.

Acting deputy principal A.L. had never seen me teach.

School principal E.L. had only been into my clasroom for five minutes during Term 3 2000 and he had been on leave for all of Term 4.

 

But these seven teachers had seen me teach three times a week for up to two years.

Two of them had seen me teaching the Grade 7 children when they were in Grade 6.

These seven teachers had asked for a meeting with G.R. and had told her very firmly and clearly that there was no problem with my management of children.

 

And I have found no documented evidence of E.L's "questioning" of "all support people".

 

... In a meeting with Ms (my name) on Thursday 25th January she stated that in the meeting with (name of acting principal), (name of acting deputy principal) and (name of union organiser) held on 27/11/00 she had said that she would accept help with strategies to overcome concerns. On questioning others in the meeting no mention of this acceptance was noted. ...

I had complained to E.L. that, after the union organiser had advised me that he had never known a teacher's grievance to be upheld, that there was no hope of justice, that the DWP process could last for two years, it was extremely stressful and people who "fought it" had mental and physical breakdowns breakdowns, etc. etc., I was so concerned about the impact of the bullying on my health that I agreed to his suggestion that if I ate "humble pie"  he would try to persuade G.R. to give me some lesser punishment.

It seemed to me that I was being punished for trying to do my job properly - for trying to deal with the groups of unsupervised Grade 7 children roaming about the school.

I knew that I was being bullied, but I was willing to agree to anything to avoid two years of stress, because I was so worried about the effect of the stress on my heart.

I told E.L. that I had said very little during the second half of the meeting.

I sat in shocked silence, doing nothing to provoke G.R.

But I had looked acting deputy principal A.L. in the eye and said that I would be interested in looking at some strategies.

I repeated this again later.

Acting deputy principal A.L. did not seem to be enjoying bullying me. She did not seem to me to be a bully. She seemed to me to be gullible and easily manipulated.

And her gullibilty was putting me at great risk of harm.

I knew that acting deputy principal A.L.'s "strategies" were going to be a burden for me. She was the learning support teacher. During the three previous terms she had shared an office with me. She knew nothing about my area of work - Indonesian teaching - and she was not used to handling whole classes.

But I was willing to say or do anything to avoid having my mental and physical health slowly and deliberately broken down by acting school principal G.R..

I complained to school principal E.L. that, even after I had followed the union organiser's instructions and agreed to "look at some strategies", acting school principal G. R. had still put me on DWP.

 

... On questioning others in the meeting no mention of this acceptance was noted. ...

E.L. has "spun" my complaint to make me appear to be a liar.

This was, of course, deeply offensive to me.

I respected and trusted principal E.L. absolutely.

In 2001 I struggled to understand this situation.

Somebody had lied.

Had "all support people questioned" lied to principal E.L.?

Or was principal E.L. lying about what he had been told by "all support people questioned"?

 

On questioning others in the meeting no mention of this acceptance was noted. ...

I have found no documented evidence of principal E.L. having questioned any one of the three other people present at the meeting about this "acceptance".

 

... I would consider that the Diminished Work Performance would not continue and that a period of informal support be implemented before moving into the formal phases. ...

Principal E.L. has simply changed the punishment process to Stage 1 and 2 of the new Managing Unsatisfactory Performance Process.

Principal E.L was making plain to me that, if I ever returned to (the) State School, he and G.R. would continue to abuse the Departmental policies until I was driven to breakdown and out of work.

And that, if I asked to be re-deployed to another school, I would be in a punishment process at that school also.

And I knew that at a new school the principal and staff would not realise that the MUP process was being used abusively.

This document demonstrates that E.L., a principal I respected and trusted absolutely, refused me Natural Justice and abused both the DWP and the Grievance Processes to destroy my professional reputation.

This is a disgraceful, unprofessional document.

I offered E.L. the opportunity to deal with his mistake (and G.R.ís impulsive and irrational behaviour) quietly.

E.L., knowing that I was already ill because of the stress of his abuse, abused his position again to destroy my professional reputation.

 

I have spent the past seven and a half years years trying to clear my name because of E.L.ís abuse of the Grievance process.

 

Nowhere in this document does principal E.L. acknowledge that -

  • acting principal G.R. had abused the school bullying policy, the school Behaviour Management Policy, Education Queensland Code of Conduct, the Public Service Regulations, refused me Natural Justice and abused the Diminished Work Performance Process.

 

  • E.L. himself had agreed with G.R. to put me on DWP before he had discussed the situation with me.

 

  • His own behaviour was in breach of Natural Justice, the Code of conduct, the Public Service Regulations and the DWP policy.

 

  • His decisions concerning me were based on documents that he knew were being concealed from me. This was a further breach of Natural justice, etc. etc.

 

  • Acting deputy principal A.L. had also abused the Education Queensland Code of Conduct, the Public Service Regulations, refused me Natural Justice and abused the Diminished Work Performance Process.

 

  • And, in writing this misleading report, principal E.L. was abusing the Education Queensland Grievance process.

 

On Monday 19 February, 2001, I rang the local Queensland Teachers' Union organiser to discuss principal E.L.'s report.

I told the QTU organiser that I felt that he was being manipulated by principal E.L. and acting principal G. R. to discredit me.

I said, "I feel very strongly that principal E.L. and acting principal G.R. have been manipulating you."

I said that he was the only person that I had to support me (principal E.L. had repeatedly instructed me that I was not allowed to discuss the situation with anyone other than the local QTU organiser) and I was really depending on him to tell the truth.

The QTU organiser told me that he also had concerns about the report.

He told me that a "spin" had been put on his words to change their meaning.

He said that he could understand me not wanting principal E.L's "Investigation Report" on my official Departmental record.

He said that he would ask principal E.L. to change the report.

He seemed to be confident that this would be done.

 

But principal E.L. refused to correct the report.

I asked the QTU organiser to provide me with a statement about this situation, but he gave me nothing.

 

So - principal E.L. had repeatedly told me that I was only allowed to discuss the situation with the QTU organiser.

But he had undermined my relationship with the QTU organiser with his claim that the QTU organiser had not "noted" my words to acting deputy principal A.L.