Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple Bully school principals and departmental officers can bully Australian teachers into ill health - and out of work!

Bad Apple Bullies: The Early Stages of their Workplace Bullying.

Bad Apple Bully school principals begin by grooming a Bad Apple Bully-Mob.

Before I describe how Bad Apple Bullies groom a "workplace mob" to attack a Queensland teacher, I want to make it clear that not all Queensland Department of Education school principals are Bad Apple Bullies.

Many Queensland school principals are perfectly ordinary people with the usual range of personality quirks and intellectual capacity.

The average Queensland school principal, District Office or Head Office administrator is not, by nature, a bully.

But these basically decent administrators can easily be manipulated by Bad Apple Bullies and groomed into a Bully-Mob.

"Workplace Mobbing" develops when a group of administrators secretly gossip about a teacher and beat up  "concerns" about their target's work that are based almost entirely on their own gossip rather than on the facts : 

Bad Apple Bully-Mobs are recruited, groomed and manipulated by Bad Apple Bullies. 

A Bad Apple Bully-Mob is secretly "pre-nobbled", manipulated or "groomed" to support and protect a Bad Apple Bully.

* * * * * *

You can find out how a Bad Apple Bully principal has groomed their Bad Apple Bully-Mob to support an attack on you if you apply to see "all documents concerning me and related to me" under Freedom Of Information.

You will find a mass of secret "documents" (sticky-notes and loose scraps of paper) on your Departmental file which describe real and imaginary conversations about you that the Bad Apple Bully has been having / claims to have been having with other administrators, parents, teachers and children.

The sticky-notes may be undated, unsigned and may have been changed many times.

The actual names of the people concerned will have been deleted by the FOI officers.

The scraps of paper and sticky-notes will be released to you very, very slowly and in a jumble.

It will be entirely up to you to sort the sticky-notes out and try to understand the "allegations" that are being made against you in these scribbles.

When you first see all of the lies that people appear to have been telling each other about you, it will be a shock.

Your faith in the basic decency of ordinary people will be shaken.

Some targets of workplace bullying / mobbing  find the lies too distressing to deal with.

But, if you sort the Bad Apple Bully's sticky-notes out, put them into time-order and figure out the whole Bad Apple Bully-Mob "story", you will be able to get an idea of what has been secretly been "going on".

And you will be able to see the "holes" and contradictions in the Bad-Apple Bully-Mob story.

Bad Apple Bullies are such impulsive and careless liars that statements made in one "record" will entirely contradict statements made in another.


For example, the Bad Apple Bully will "record" various imaginary conversations that he or she claims to have had with other people concerning you.

Then weeks later, in a different "record", the Bad Apple Bully will state that they have never discussed you with anybody.


So be patient, just keep sorting the documents out into time-order.

You will eventually realise that the jumbled mass of "records" that were secretly placed on your file were probably falsified by the Bad Apple Bully-Mob during one very amusing lunchtime.

Falsifying these "records" probably only took a few minutes.

But trying to sort the Bad Apple Bully-Mob "documents" into order and to understand the "story" that the Mob are concocting is going to take months of your life.


* * * * * *

Some members of the Bad Apple Bully-Mob may eventually realise that they are being manipulated and that they are actually engaged in workplace bullying.

But they may feel trapped in the situation and responsible for their own contribution to the gossip/ exaggeration/ beat-up of the facts.

They may feel obliged to lie in order to protect the other members of the Mob.

They will have seen your health and your career destroyed in a couple of days.

They may be afraid that the Mob will turn on them if they "break ranks":


But the Bad Apple Bully Mob-Boss never realises that he / she is a bully.

Bad Apple Bullies are so used to hinting and suggesting, to beating up the facts, to manipulating, to bluffing and exaggerating, to quick changes of their story, to impulsive and irrational decision-making, etc. that it has become the usual way that they relate to other people.

Bad Apple Bullies do not understand their own behaviour.


How Do Bad Apple Bullies Prepare to Attack a Teacher?

Very, very secretly, long before you have any idea that there is a problem, a Bad Apple Bully school principal will have been preparing to attack you.

They will have carefully pre-"groomed" other administrators.

Lots of time will have been secretly spent on the phone or huddled in offices, gossiping about you. 

Bad Apple Bullies move secretly from administrator to administrator, squeezing out negative remarks about you, nurturing them and carrying them carefully from person to person, skillfully beating, beating, beating up any little problem to create the impression of a general tide of serious "concern". 

The Bad Apple Bullies will also have secretly been collecting "evidence".

Bad Apple Bully school principals do not record reality.

Seven teachers who have actually seen you teach for periods of up to two years may meet with a Bad Apple Bully school principal, and tell her that she is making a mistake, and that there is no problem with your work.

Not a word that these even teachers speak to the Bad Apple Bully principal will be recorded.

Bad Apple Bully school principals spend a lot of time having real or imaginary conversations with children about teachers.

Comments such as, "Sometimes ... gets annoyed with Ms ... because she says things and then forgets." will be carefully squeezed out of the children, scribbled onto loose scraps of paper and secretly filed away.

These loose scraps of paper and sticky-notes will be undated and unsigned. 

The notes will be written in pencil so that the "allegations" can be continually changed. 

Look carefully at the wording of these 'records".

Sometimes it is obvious that they have been fabricated.

Bad Apple Bully principals use -

  • district office staff,
  • other principals,
  • acting principals whom they have specially selected for a "promotion opportunity",
  • the local QTU organiser,
  • the school QTU representative,
  • parents
  • and students

- as puppets, putting their own Bad Apple Bully-words into the mouths of these puppets.

Bad Apple Bullies particularly manipulate puppets who are vulnerable in some way -

  • inexperienced members of staff,
  • less literate or less intelligent members of staff,
  • the sick,
  • the disabled,
  • Aboriginal "trainee" employees,
  • etc.


Bad Apple Bullies don't actually bother to read Department of Education policies.

But they do remember one or two favourite policy-words that they parrot in every circumstance, appropriate and inappropriate.

Strangely, their puppets also use those same words!

If a parent rings up the school to complain about a teacher, the scribbled sticky note recording the complaint will be put on your file.


It doesn't matter if the complaint is actually about another teacher, a casual teacher or a scripture teacher.

Your name will be written on the sticky note - with a question mark.


So the Bad Apple Bullies can never be said to have actually told a lie - after all they made it clear - with their question mark - that they were not entirely sure that the complaint was about you.

This strategy saves the Bad Apple Bullies the effort of actually dealing with any problems that arise at the school.

All problems are attributed to you.

It's the Bad Apple Bully quick'n easy approach to school administration.

The Bad Apple Bullies may be perfectly aware that the allegations on the sticky-notes hidden in your Departmental file are not true.

But the Bad Apple Bullies also know that you are going to have no opportunity to find out about these allegations and to respond.


The Bad Apple Bullies are not fool enough to discuss their allegations with you.

Because the Bad Apple Bullies are not trying to find out the facts, they are just trying to collect allegations against you. 


Small misunderstandings between teachers will be carefully "spun" to make it appear that you are the "problem".

For example, if you ask a teacher to stop their class from roaming about the school and continually disturbing your lessons, a Bad Apple Bully administrator will record this situation as evidence of you having upset this teacher with your "inflexible attitude" to their roaming children.

If you take sick leave because of the stress caused by a Bad Apple Bully's harassment, it may trigger a pre-emptive strike. 

The Bad Apple Bully may ring the District Office and discuss putting you on Managing Unsatisfactory Performance (MUP).

Amazing but true.

This is a strategy to prevent you from claiming WorkCover.

Bad Apple Bullies do not want a WorkCover claim made about their harassment.

Bad Apple Bullies will try to secretly start the process (or to fraudulently back-date the process) of putting you on MUP before you become ill from the stress of the harassment.

So that, when your health is destroyed by a Bad Apple Bully's harassment, you will also be refused WorkCover!

A Bad Apple Bully will confidently tell the Education Queensland administrator in the District Office that she has very grave concerns about your work.

And so has her Deputy Principal. 

The Bad Apple Bully will describe the Deputy Principal's concerns in detail. 

This is the clever way that Bad Apple Bullies secretly groom other administrators, sucking them into the mob by putting a clever "spin" on the facts. 

The Bad Apple Bully will not tell the Head Office administrator that neither he / she nor the Deputy Principal have ever actually seen you teach or looked at your program. 

And a Bad Apple Bully will not explain that the Acting Deputy Principal has only been acting as Deputy Principal for four days and that she/he was carefully selected by the Bad Apple Bully because she/he was so inexperienced and easy to manipulate.

Times of management change are times when workplace bullying tends to flourish.

You will have no idea that any of this is going on.

You will only be aware that you are continually having to deal with unpleasant misunderstandings.

You may notice that a Bad Apple Bully administrator seems to be very impulsive.

You may realise that a Bad Apple Bully is a brazen liar.

You may begin to feel unsafe.

You may begin to become ill from the stress of the situation.

Then an opportunity arises for a direct attack on you:

Perhaps you suggest a different way of doing something.

A Bad Apple Bully will react impulsively, wildly, irrationally to this less-than-total obedience to their will.

This is the opportunity that they have been preparing for!

The Bad Apple Bully will quickly launch a pre-emptive strike. 

He/She declares that the problem is not the problem.

The problem is you talking about the problem.

You must be put on Diminished Workplace Performance (now called Managing Unsatisfactory Performance) !

This is, of course, against the Education Queensland Code of Conduct and and a total abuse of the DWP.

But Bad Apple Bullies know that they don't really have to follow Education Queensland Policies.

Bad Apple Bullies know that they will never be held accountable for their bullying behaviour. 

The "process" is designed by Bad Apple Bullies for the benefit and protection of Bad Apple Bullies.

Then it is "all on", and terribly exciting! The Bad Apple Bullies will ask the District Office staff for their "advice" on the situation.

This is a strategy to suck the District Office staff into the mob and to ensure that, if you make a grievance, the District Office staff will have been pre-groomed to support the Bad Apple Bullies. 

A Bad Apple Bully enjoys being the centre of attention at the District Office.

Every senior administrator in the District Office will be sucked into advising and supporting the Bad Apple Bullies in their attack on you!

Meetings with Bad Apple Bullies put you at huge risk.

It is important to realise that a Bad Apple Bully's purpose in meeting with you is to generate falsified meeting notes.

Then you can be punished because of what "happened" at the meeting.

Any Education Queensland investigator will consider these falsified meeting notes to represent "the truth". 

It is important to realise that -

  • There is no reality, truth or fact in Education Queensland World any more, just "perceptions".
  • And brazen lies are now called "different recollections".
  • And "Truth" is what is written in the Bad Apple Bully's meeting notes, even if it did not happen. 

It is important to realise that any other administrator present at a meeting organised by a Bad Apple Bully will also have to falsify their meeting notes.

Yes, even that smiley administrator you have always respected so much.

The hardest lesson for you to learn is that this is not a misunderstanding.

This group of smiley people have agreed to destroy you mentally, physically, professionally, financially.

You can't trust any of them.

  • They will "not remember" anything favourable to you that happens at the meeting. 
  • The "allegations" made by the Bad Apple Bully at the meeting will be changed.
  • The names of the people making the allegations will be changed.
  • Your response to the Bad Apple Bully's "allegations" will be edited out of the meeting notes or reduced to incomprehensible gibberish.
  • A "spin" will be put on anything that you say during the meeting. For example, if you complain about being continually threatened by the Bad Apple Bully, the meeting notes will record that you said that you felt threatened by the process. 
  • All positive comments about your work will be edited out of the meeting notes. 
  • Any written response that you later make to the verbal "allegations" made at the meeting will make no sense because of the extensive falsification of the meeting notes. 

You will not be shown a copy of the falsified meeting notes.

They will be secretly placed on your file.

You will only discover these secretly falsified documents if you apply for all of your documents under Freedom Of Information (FOI).

The FOI process will be delayed for years to prevent you from seeing the falsified documents for as long as possible.

It can take more than three years and up to seven re-stated FOI applications to obtain a copy of a falsifed document.

The Departmental "story" will be continually changed when new documents are "found".

By that time your legal rights will have expired.

And you will have to pay FOI fees to get copies of the falsifed documents!

Once a falsified document has been secretly placed on your Education Queensland file it can never be removed. 

The fact that the falsified document was placed secretly on your file is actually a breach of the Public Service Regulations. 

The document may never have been discussed with you. 

The "document" may actually be an unsigned, undated note scribbled in pencil on a loose scrap of paper or a sticky-note. 

The scribbles may make no sense.

The situation may actually have nothing to do with you at all.

But the "document" can never be removed from your Education Queensland file.

That's "the process".

When you are first directly attacked by Bad Apple Bullies you may be bewildered.

The behaviour of the Bad Apple Bullies seems to be so obviously irrational that you think it is just another of those annoying "misunderstandings".

You think that, if you explain, people will realise that it is a fuss over nothing.

So you explain.

You explain over and over again. 

You watch people going cross-eyed with your endless explanations.

Slowly, slowly,  it dawns on you that nobody cares. 

The facts are irrelevant.

Your career is over.

The many years that you spent studying at university, the long years of part-time study, the loans that you have taken on to pay for your university course, your car and your computer, the remote areas you have endured- all have been wasted. 

You are going to be mentally, physically, professionally and financially destroyed.

All Education Queensland administrators and other Queensland public servants are going to do the quickest and easiest thing -and pretend to believe the Bad Apple Bullies.

That's "the process".

Davenport et al have listed the ten key factors of the mobbing syndrome:

  • Assaults on dignity, integrity, credibility and competence.
  • Negative, humiliating, intimidating, abusive, malevolent, and controlling communication.
  • Committed directly or indirectly in subtle or obvious ways.
  • Perpetrated by one or more than one staff members.
  • Occuring in a continual, multiple, and systematic fashion over time.
  • Portraying the victim as being at fault.
  • Engineered to discredit, confuse, intimidate, isolate, and force the person into submission.
  • Committed with the intent to force the person out.
  • Representing the removal as the victim's choice.
  • Unrecognised, misinterpreted, ignored, tolerated, encouraged, or even instigated by management.

Source: Adapted with permission from Davenport N, Schwartz RD, Elliot GP. Mobbing: emotional abuse in the American workplace, Ames, IA: Civil Society Publishing; 1999:41

Workplace mobbing: Are they really out to get your patient? James Randolph Hillard, MD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Michigan State University, pp 45-51, Current Psychiatry Vol 8, No. 4.


Eventually, if you are lucky, you discover Tim Field's website Bully OnLine and you realise that what is happening to you is happening to teachers all over the world. You realise that what is happening to you is workplace bullying.

             Bad Apple Bullies :