Question: highschool bylaws restricting new freshmen parents from a position on the board
Our highschool bylaws state that a new parent to the highschool can not serve on the executive board. Is this a reasonable bylaw or exclusionary? I wanted to be on the board after being a PTO pres/vp for 4 years. I was told no because I will be a new parent and the bylaws restrict this. I asked to revise the bylaws as we had in the other schools and the answer was no. The same group has been on the board for years. What are your thoughts?
Asked by Anonymous
Community Advicerm9116 writes:
Volunteer a lot this year and take a breather from the PTO board. Attend every open meeting and make sure that you listen to the group. (I know you'll be tactful, but best to just be as enthusiastic as possible about whatever tasks arise and give advice or opinions only when you can't stand to sit there quietly.) Sounds as though you've had plenty of experience, so you know how valuable capable volunteers are. This is your chance to see how the PTO works in this new environment, and if you are still interested, you'll have the reputation and contacts you need at the end of the year to be more involved at the executive board level for the rest of the time your child will be in this high school. Bottom line, the bylaw wasn't put in place to prevent you from being on the board, so it applies to everyone equally. Your time will come.
Community Advicepowers writes:
Thank you. I think where I have gone wrong is that it seems like this is about me...it is about the bylaw. I feel like bylaws should be written as to not exclude any parent from volunteering where they would enjoy. If you are new to a school, and are a great asset, I do not believe anyone should be told to wait it out a year. I changed this bylaw at another school and we ended up with 2 people who were new, but ready. If the bylaw had been in place, they would have been told no. So, what are your thoughts?
Community Advicerm9116 writes:
I know you don't want to hear this, but I stand by my previous answer. You can be valuable without serving on the board. In our PTO, we regularly ask for volunteers to lead specific projects or events instead of relying solely on officers to do that, so I may be speaking from a perspective different than yours. If yours is like mine, though, volunteer to either help with or run something and show the group that you want to be involved. If my first experience with you was a request to change the bylaws without any other knowledge of you, I'd be leary. We've all seen gungho volunteers who disappear after they sign up to help, leaving tasks undone. Once you prove you are not in that category, if an opening comes up during the year, I'm sure you could be considered.
Community AdviceCaliArt writes:
I agree with rm9116. As a second yr PTO president. I’m learning how our group works together. Even though new parents might be enthusiastic and be executives at their high powered jobs, that first year is like a dating period when I get to know them, their strengths and how they work. Additionally, that first year is a great time for you to volunteer to meet other parents, and faculty to build good relationships. I personally, would not appreciate a parent new to the school asking if they could rewrite bylaws without knowing the board or the school, regardless of experience.
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