Question: Out of control

I am a member of the executive board of our PTO. We have a parent with a long history of counter-productive behavior and obtaining permission from the principal to hold her own events. Recently we were made aware of an email correspondence that she sent from her personal email account to a company requesting donations for our PTO, when she has been told there is no need to solicit donation. She also signed this letter as from the principal, with her name below it. Since we have no idea how many businesses/companies she has tried to, or even obtained, donations from, does this constitute fraud? Our bylaws are very weak, and are in the process of being rewritten, but we would like to see this individual permanently banned from the group. Would a "cease & desist" letter from an attorney take care of it? What about forging the principal's name to the correspondence? Help!!

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rockne writes:
Seems to me that the key issues here are with the Prinicpal. It was his/her signature, so he'she woud have to question that. And why is the Principal encouraging/allowing one parent to hold own events? There's the issue. You could possibly "ban" a parent from your PTO, but you don't have the authority to bana [parent from your school, and it seems that banning this person from your PTO wouldn't solve the issue anyway. She's already doing things on her own. This is where a Principal's leadership is needed. Tim

Community Advice

needmoresleep writes:
What about the issue of fraud - we didn't ask her to solicit donations, and she could have done this many businesses. Her request to the company clearly states that she is asking for our group.

Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
I agree with Tim, the first thing you need to do is talk to the principal. Explain to her how this is undermining the PTO and that she needs to take a stand. Regarding misrepresenting herself, I don't think there's an issue of fraud as long as the donation is being used to benefit the school and not her personally. However, sending her a registered cease and desist type letter stating that she may not say she is representing the PTO would make your position clear. (The signature issue should be dealt with by the principal.) The best situation would be if you could co-opt her into the parent group or at least avoid such strong action, but it sounds like you feel that's not possible. Also, you really should consider adopting bylaws. You can operate day-to-day without them; it's when there's a dispute or problem that they come in the most handy. The article How To Write PTO Bylaws walks you through the basics and includes links to samples that you can use as a template.

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