Take Back Your School: Part 1

In a stack of papers called Reform.

  • Mar
  • 25
  • 2007

“If my child was in a classroom with a bad teacher, one who is a painful and obvious discredit to the profession, one who isn’t actually teaching the students, what steps would I go through to get that teacher removed?” In the coming weeks, I will ask a few parents, teachers, administrators, and union representatives. If you have had success in kicking out a bad teacher in the past or see a step that I’ve missed, leave a comment here. I’ll incorporate your ideas into what I write in the future. Just as a reminder, here are the steps I suggested a while ago in a post that has been fairly popular over the past year.

My Steps

This process will be hard, but you have to do it in order for schools to be what they should. Don’t let tenure, unions, inertia, or red tape stop you from getting this teacher out of the classroom. Immediately after each meeting described here, write a summary of what happened. Keep those recollections somewhere safe. Allow about a week between each step. Stop this process as soon as you see results.

  1. Talk with the teacher to share the rumors you’re hearing (they are rumors because you are not in the classroom when they happen and students can lie or exaggerate).
  2. Start documenting offenses. Double check your facts with other students, parents, and teachers. Write everything down. Use the PTSA to gather support of other parents of students that have this teacher.
  3. Meet with the teacher again. Express your concerns, along with reference to the fact that other parents feel the same way. Be polite and let the teacher know you’re going to the principal next.
  4. Go to the principal with your documentation and reports from other parents. Never accept your child simply being moved into another classroom. This does not solve the problem. Let the principal know that you’ll go to the district superintendent next.
  5. Continue documenting events. Keep talking with the PTSA and as many other parents as you can.
  6. Sit down with the district superintendent. Bring all of your documentation and any parents you can. Demand that this teacher needs to be reviewed and that the district needs to ensure quality control of their teachers. Let the superintendent know that you’ll go to the press and county superintendent next. Again, do not accept your child simply being moved into another classroom.
  7. Contact your local newspaper with copies of all of your documentation. Continue to stay in touch with parents and the PTSA.
  8. Enjoy your meeting with the county superintendent. Bring other parents and copies of everything you’ve gathered throughout this whole process. Ask for members of the PTSA to be there with you, too. Demand action.
  9. Continue your talks with the local newspaper. Write an article yourself, if you have to.

I really don’t know where you’d go after all this. Future parts will explain what other folks have to say. The opinions of a few other teachers come next. Keep your eyes peeled.


1. Anonymous says:

[10/13/2007 - 10:06 am]


I’ve read your blog on “Bad Teachers”. I’ve found it extremly interesting. I seemed to have encountered several really bad teachers at my son’s elementary school. The problems I am not encountering are what I consider to be harmful discipline and punishments exucuted by my youngest son’s teacher. Currently I’m tring to complile as much information as I can find on how bad discipline/punishment practices by teachers effect a child’s self-esteem and image.

If by chance you have any information on how bad teachers negitively effect the students self-esteem and self-image I would be extremly grateful if you could forward it to me.

Thank you, and good luck in your endevors!

Cynthia Diamond

2. Richard Toth says:

[3/16/2008 - 9:44 am]

Hello again,
Did you fix Ms. Diamond’s spelling for her.

3. Todd says:

[3/16/2008 - 12:26 pm]

I try really hard not to edit the comments of my readers. I even try really hard not to focus on the messages grammar and syntax errors send, instead discussing the issues each reader brings up. Let’s get back on track. Does anyone have data on discipline’s impact on self esteem?

4. GoMammy says:

[5/21/2009 - 2:21 pm]

Most of the schools that I have gone to, the students absolutely love the teachers that uses corporal punishment. Not spanking or paddling, but squatting, holding textbooks, and other “humiliating” things. The teachers and administrators agree that ISS and OSS don’t solve all of the problems, so some of the teachers go beyond what is legal to keep their classrooms in check.

5. katherine says:

[7/24/2009 - 10:01 pm]

My 17 year old son was recently fired from his summer job, arrested because an the assistant high school principal at his school acccused him of exposing himself to her, when i refused to have counseling for my son at her suggestion and enroll him in another school she pressed charges. now he has been charge with obscenity. my son had worked at the school forthe past 2 years during the summer and I have heard nothing but good things about him even when enrolled in school. This principal proclaims my son was just walking the halls with his genitals exposed with an erection.My son swears he did not do such a thing, and i believe him. This is totally out of character for my son and why wait ’til he is at the threshhold of graduation to something like this? I asked to see the cameras ’cause there are camera’s in the school. i got no answer, I talked to the police who took her statement and he said her story just didn’t add up, and she didn’t report any of this to the police ’til 4 days later, there was noelse in this area of the school building but this teacher and my son but there were other staff in the school. My son has never been in any kind of trouble or anything except a fight defending himself, but this teacher has all kinds of complaints against her and most of the staff despise her. they say she looks for trouble, and nit pics with the students and is very lowdown.She want’s my son out of that school, but I found out she can’t have him put out ’cause he wasn’t a student at the time this happened.my son is very upset, and depressed about this and the fact she pressed charges. I have started a petition to have her removed and am amazed at the response i have gotten,and people keep pouring in. I did not know so many people despised this teacher and she had so many run in s with parents. They say they believe my sona and support him. We are tryin to have her removed. I should be allowed to loook at the cameras.That’s what they are there for the saftety and protection of our children. so what’s to hide? one parent said this principal made sexual advances to her son. i am gona keep gettin people to sign , I don’t know how many names i need to get her out but I am gona get many as I can.

6. G. Flynn says:

[11/24/2009 - 10:52 pm]

It sounds like there are some real horror stories out there about bad teachers, which I am sorry to hear about. But what if the teacher is not horrible, but just not great. We are dealing with a primary school teacher that is not able to set the tone in her class. The class is loud, unruly, and structured around things like break dancing and sewing projects, while their reading, writing and other essential skills are back burner-ed.
We don’t want to go on a witch hunt, but what makes a teacher accountable?
At what point do we just become complicit and say ‘oh well, i guess classes are uncontrolled and unruly and my child should just be happy to find a sane corner’?
is there a humanitarian way to make it clear that there are expectations that are not being met and thus consequences?