Question: PTO member issue

I have a PTO member who is the grandmother of two students in a small charter school. She has always been very involved in the school in the past. She keeps saying she is tired and wants to back down from fundraisers. Yet, every time we find new volunteers she insults them and pushes them away until they quit the PTO. Half of the school treats her like she is some amazing gift and the other half can not stand her. I have no idea how to handle her. I have even spoken to the principal because I feel like she is getting out of hand, saying cruel things to PTO volunteers and to students! I am at a complete loss any more, and I am quickly running out of volunteers.

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Well, not sure how much solace there is in this, but, this sort of thing happens often. There are a few different approaches to take, but I would start with having a conversation directly with her. (Sometimes, if you take it to the principal first, it just doesn't work. The principal won't be comfortable getting dragged in and the person in question will get upset that you went "behind their back.") Ask to go out for coffee. In a non-confrontational way, let her know that you've heard comments from volunteers who have backed away from helping out. Listen to what she has to say. Ask her if she needs help recruiting and keeping volunteers and let her know you'd be happy to help. Taking this approach does a few things. It keeps things focused on solving the problem -- not losing volunteers -- it avoids a big conflict where you are accusing her of things (there is her side to the story, too!) and, if some of it/most of it is true, you are essentially putting her on notice that you are watching what's going on and you don't want to lose any more volunteers.

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