Dear Legal Mailbag:
As the principal of a large middle school, I pride myself in running a tight ship. I want my teachers on time where they are assigned. I want my custodians to keep the building spic and span. I want my parents to keep out of my hair, and above all else, I don’t want to be surprised. Ever.
Given my admittedly inflexible personality, I was disappointed that one of my teachers did in fact surprise me, big time. The other day I received a call out of the blue from DCF asking to schedule some meetings as part of an investigation. Apparently, one of my teachers decided all on her own that the way a paraprofessional was treating a special needs child was child abuse. Given that she teaches math, I really don’t see how she is qualified to make that determination, and I was miffed that she would not consult with me before opening up this Pandora’s box.
I sent her an email, directing her to schedule a meeting with me. I plan to convey my disappointment and to tell her that she should talk with me first before filing a DCF report, but I don’t plan to impose any formal discipline. Nonetheless, she wrote back and asked if she can bring a union representative. That’s the last thing that I want. Can I tell her no?