Complaint to LPHS BOT 11/08

The Chairperson
Board of Trustees
Logan Park High School
Butts Road
Dunedin

cc. Ministry of Education
cc. Department of labour

Dear sirs/madams,

Formal complaint with regard to bullying and other management issues.

Introduction.
Given that this complaint is about dishonesty and bullying by the senior management team I would consider it very unprofessional if the board were to allow them to be involved in any investigation other than at an evidential level and that they should be stood down while an investigation is conducted, pending an outcome. I believe the board have a responsibility to protect all staff and students in the school and that this document should only be distributed to Jane and Rodger after some action by the board to prevent any further bullying. The board could perhaps contact the Otago District Health Board for some guidance as they have had to deal with similar issues.

Background.
My name is Robert Owen I am the partner of Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx who has been on stress leave since early august. I am not writing this complaint at Xxxxxxx’s request and it is in fact against her wishes, but I am writing on her behalf as Xxxxxxx prefers mediation to confrontation. Obviously I am working very closely with Xxxxxxx to assist in her recovery in anyway I can. As result of this and of the advice of her psychiatrist we sent her to the Netherlands to spend time with her mother who had recently had a stroke. During this time Mr Rodger Tobin began what I would call an aggressive and bullying series of emails worded in a manner completely inappropriate for the circumstances. The issues behind the emails cannot be dealt with by me and will need to be addressed by Xxxxxxx in due course. However I am concerned with the process, honesty and professionalism displayed so far and how and by whom these issues will be resolved as Mr Rodger Tobin’s and Ms Jane Johnston’s actions to date would tend to preclude their involvement at any level as would the actions of Mr Paul Enright.

Xxxxxxx is a dedicated career teacher able to adapt her style to the needs of her students. Capable of meeting the needs of other cultures including those that feature oral and discussion based learning. She has in recent years had to teach some of the most difficult and undisciplined classes (up to 27 students) and despite repeated requests has received no personal development on the subject material despite the fact that “Careers” is outside her area of expertise. I note with interest that no mention has been made at anytime regarding her classroom management. A fact I attribute to her quality and dedication to her students and passion for teaching.

Xxxxxxx has in past years operated an outreach program for languages during her free periods and lunch break to primary and intermediate schools within the LPHS catchment area and has been a passionate advocate for both the school and languages. Unfortunately this year this was not possible due to timetabling conflicts. Its unfortunate that the loyalty and support displayed by Xxxxxxx is not returned by management. In fact it raises the question of whether management is even aware of the extracurricular activities undertaken by Xxxxxxx.

Xxxxxxx had expressed concern for her workload from day one of this year with difficult and split level classes not doing justice to the students and unwillingness by the management to recognise there was a problem. I believe it would be relevant to get an independent review of her workload. Perhaps a review of the relievers used in her absence.

The situation so far

13/08/08 – Xxxxxxx begins stress related leave.

15/09/08 – Xxxxxxx receives a threatening email from Rodger Tobin questioning her Professionalism and Honesty. This email references that the timing might not be the best so Rodger was clearly aware of Xxxxxxx’s health and of the potential damage his actions may cause. That Rodgers email goes on to explain that the reason for the email is a justifiable concern on the part of a relieving teacher as to Xxxxxxx’s Methods. This concern was never expressed by the relieving teacher Marion Brinsley and when she was shown the Email her expletive was “Lies”. We do know that Jane initially approached Marion and asked for two sets of standards for careers which she was given. Later returning to ask for all Unit standards work and that Marion was later thanked for her cooperation by Jane’s Husband Paul Enright. Her comment to Xxxxxxx was that she thought it very suspicious behaviour. This seems to have been an attack planned and implemented by the senior management team and designed to bully and cause as much distress as possible to a very vulnerable and stressed teacher.

23/09/08 – Xxxxxxx responds Honestly and Professionally detailing her process

26/09/08 – Rodger Tobin replies stating he has checked with the people in Xxxxxxx’s teaching environment and they do not support her assertions. He also reminds her of her right to consult the PPTA. I have become aware that only one interview was conducted and this was done by Jane and was with Sheryl a teacher aid in Xxxxxxx’s careers class. This interview was designed to get supporting information only and did not reflect Xxxxxxx’s methods and was not probing enough to get to the truth. So Rodgers claim to have spoken to others in Xxxxxxx’s class was false and he conceded at the meeting of the 17/10/08.

06/10/08 – Xxxxxxx returns from the Netherlands ready to return to school on the 13/10/08 and confront the issues raised during her absence.

07/10/08 – Xxxxxxx receives an e-mail thanking her for a medical certificate she had not requested.

07/10/08 – Xxxxxxx asks through the PPTA for information regarding the medical certificate.

08/10/08 – Xxxxxxx receives a call from a concerned friend that had received an email at school saying she would be off work for 4 weeks causing considerable distress to Xxxxxxx.

09/10/08 – Xxxxxxx attended Otago DHB in a distressed state and was given a medical certificate covering a three week period. This would not have been necessary had it not been for the actions of Rodger Tobin and the question remains as to whether this period should be deducted from Xxxxxxx’s sick leave.

13/10/84 – Xxxxxxx receives a totally inappropriate email from Rodger Tobin

“Dear Richard
I would really rather not play silly buggers on this, but since you ask !!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have attached a copy of the medical certificate we received by fax on 7 October. Apart from the dates, this certificate is identical to the ones previously supplied by Xxxxxxx. Perhaps it was a fake ??????????????? I will respond to item (ii) in due course.
Best regards
Roger Tobin”

This email was copied to Xxxxxxx by Rodger. Rodger must have been aware at the time this email was written that the medical certificate had come at his request not Xxxxxxx’s. A very real question on honesty and integrity exits here and the number of exclamation marks I believe reflect the urgency this needs to be dealt with and the question marks the credibility of the content.

17/10/08 – A meeting was organised at the school in attendance were Rodger Tobin, Barbara Fitzsimons, Richard Good (PPTA) and Xxxxxxx. At this meeting Rodger apologized for something I am still unaware what exactly and offered a written explanation during the week ending the 31/10/08 as he was busy with reports the following week. This has not been forthcoming. Rodger was also asked for the evidence of interviews he referenced in his email 26/09/08. None existed adding to the credibility issues and the disciplinary matters were closed. Agreement was reached regarding professional development and support for Xxxxxxx.

26/10/08 – Ben Wolpert called to clarify what would be required of him upon Xxxxxxx’s return he had been advised that this would be on 03/11/08.

28/10/08 – Xxxxxxx contacts Richard Good of the PPTA to see if there are any communications she has missed. Xxxxxxx requested Richard follow up on what was expected of her and the outstanding letter from Rodger.

29/10/08 – Xxxxxxx receives an email copied from Rodger via Richard Good this is the first communication Xxxxxxx has received from the school since the meeting 17/10/08 and does provide some outline but accepts no responsibility on the part of the sender for the issues already raised.

03/11/08 – Xxxxxxx receives a letter signed by both Jane and Rodger in this letter Xxxxxxx is requested to see Peter Hills immediately in fact she had already met with Peter and had discovered that while she had been away Tip Winiata the Academy Manager had discovered that the Military had changed the NCEA criteria. This was not a shortcoming on Xxxxxxx’s part as inferred just a change. But it is interesting that the management choose to raise the issue after Tip had left on field trip for 10 days with the Academy students. The rest of the letter seems to be based on half truths and manipulations. Xxxxxxx’s German unit levels had been created in conjunction with Barbara Fitzsimons and in fact achievement standards produced by Barbara during Xxxxxxx’s absence were equally judged. Xxxxxxx has not been given a copy of the moderation for German which seems a little strange considering the reliever was.

07/11/08 – Jane lost her temper in the staff room and demanded that Xxxxxxx not send pupils from her careers class to the library as a reward once they had completed their work. This has been a standard practice in careers as it frees up classroom time for the slower students and was an approved procedure for the reliever

I note that with the exception of the email 29/10/08 all the earlier emails were visibly copied to Jane Johnston and because of her lack of action can only assume the timing, purpose, nature and content were acceptable to her and are an indication of the professional standards of her administration.

Complaint

That the senior management of LPHS, has shown a complete disregard for the health and safety of some employees. That they have been dishonest, unprofessional and that they have and still are bullying some staff. That this has recently, reached a level where their competence to continue in their existing roles must be called into question and disciplinary action taken.

Specific Issues

Unprofessional and bullying e-mails must cease. The heath and safety regulations require the board to provide a safe working environment. I don’t believe this will be the first or only incidence of management bullying at the school and suggest that a review of previous stress related leave or resignations may be very telling. Rodger seems to expect secrecy with regard to his dealings with staff and posters and information need to be displayed in the staff room advising that bullying is not supported by the board and that, threats and demands for secrecy are bullying and clearly defining a reporting process that bypasses management at the school.

Harassment of Xxxxxxx based on partial information and very minimal research and an unwillingness to accept any responsibility for their errors.

Dishonesty and threatening behaviour this speaks for itself and is contained within the emails listed and attached there are some very real credibility issues here

Personnel appointments and promotions are handled on a flavour of the month basis and do not reflect the quality or qualifications of the applicants this is specifically clear regarding the appointments of teacher aids. (this can be researched internally but I can provide supporting information as required)

Maintenance and building management where heating has not been available to classrooms during freezing conditions in the middle of winter and broken windows left without repair for months. During this double glazing was installed and heating supplied to the administration areas.

No explanation of the original email assault has been offered and it seems we are all supposed to just ignore it. This is not going to happen this has had a major impact on our family and we will pursue and escalate it till a satisfactory outcome and the protagonist/s are exposed and the motivation revealed.

Summary

This brings into question the integrity and competence of the Logan Park High School management team. It is my expectation that you will advise the Ministry of this complaint and seek their guidance regarding a formal investigation and I reiterate that I expect that the management team should be stood down during this process and that procedures regarding personnel management should be returned to a more professional style.

The current management style is like something from a Dickens novel with management favourites on the staff and in the student body receiving far higher levels of support and encouragement. Depending on the outcome of this investigation I would ask the Board to consider whether they can have any faith in the current administration regarding honesty, integrity, Personal management and employment related issues. I trust that I will receive a prompt response regarding your intentions to move forward (7 days) and that no further escalation or action on my part will be required. This complaint will remain active until such time as I am satisfied that the issues raised have been adequately dealt with and no repeats are possible.

Yours truly,

Robert Owen



4 Responses to “Complaint to LPHS BOT 11/08”

  1. Are there any further developments? I believe that I know Xxxxxxx in a professional capacity.

    Reply

    • Your Question is fairly vague and all encompassing so I’m not sure how to reply. We are moving on and not giving up. It is my intention that the issues involving LPHS will be fully investigated and am proceeding on that path. Most contact for the blog is in email through the contact us page. I do not publish the names or email addresses of the people who inform me or the victims or detail of incidents that would allow the victim/informant to be identified. This restricts me a bit but I am also very aware now how vindictive the education sector including the Ministry of Education are and the very real risk to teachers.

      Rob

      Reply

    • If you wish to contact Xxxxxxx yourself her email address is firstname.lastname@gmail.com

      Reply

  2. We have that kind of management here at our school. Our behaviour standards are very very bad. Management is very inconsistent, setting rules and not following through and even changing them to suit. Mass Exodus of experienced and well respected staff, school reputation tarnished etc….

    Reply

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