Question: Principal Refusing to Leave a Meeting

A meeting was called with our newly elected (and some personally chosen by the principal) officers to discuss the change from a PTO to a PTA. This change is something that is being PUSHED by the principal and even though all members were not at this meeting, the principal kept pushing until someone (one of the officers personally chosen by the principal) made a motion to vote on it. A few others thought it was a little premature and that we didn't have enough info to vote so when one officer (let's call her X) asked the principal to leave so the "PTO" could discuss, he flatly REFUSED. From that point on, the principal became very defensive, and even hotheaded at one point especially when talking to X. X said nothing negative about the principal or PTA but just asked for more time to ensure an informed decision was made. The motion was eventually tabled so more information could be gathered and as soon as the meeting was over, the principal stormed out. The next day, the principal called all the officers at home, except X, to apologize for the drama and even named X by name. Then the principal sent an email to X asking for a meeting because of the "disrespect" he received and even threatened X with their involvement for the next year on the PTO. Did this principal overstep his bounds by demanding to not leave the meeting? Did he cross the line by naming X when he called the other officers? The bylaws state that he is to be considered an "advisor / consultant", he is not an "officer" with a vote. Please help!

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
The principal needs to act in a more mature way, but I think the problem is in the way the meeting was conducted. That's not surprising if you have a new president and she was more or less hand selected by the principal. She's probably not sure yet what she should or shouldn't do in running a meeting. I think you should continue to let the principal sit in on your meetings -- it sounds like he's determined to do that anyway. But the president needs to take command now. She runs the PTO, she runs the meetings, and she needs to be in charge -- not the principal. In this case she could have cut off the discussion before it became badgering by saying something like "OK, I think we've all expressed our opinions, so I'm going to end debate there." Then she could have asked for a motion to investigate further, or you could have agreed to do that by consensus. It's important that she establish her authority now. Otherwise, the principal will be effectively running the PTO and that's a recipe for a lot of frustration.

Community Advice

blueeyes0101 writes:
We just had our elections and we have the same president as last year cause noone else would step up. I am the new vice president and love doing my job. Our principal had a vote on the postions, but never acts like a fool. He is just so glad to be involved in the the things we do for the school. Noone has ever involved him in anything before. I think that if a principal storms out is kinda acting like a little kid not getting their way. This is all volunteer so why should he get all upset. he should be happy some people are stepping up to help the kids out. If you arent sure about something it is good to research more about it cause you dont wanna disappoint yourself knowing you could of done better.

Community Advice

Burnedout writes:
Personally, I don't think it's right to EVER ask someone to leave a meeting unless there is a TRUE conflict of interest. Perhaps the president should have noted that there wasn't a quorum, which would have been acceptable reason not to vote based on the bylaws. But certainly, no one should have instructed the principal or any member to leave while they discuss an issue. That breeds mistrust. I side with the principal on that issue.

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