Question: Can the Principal force us to hold certain events?

Our principal recently got upset because we had no one to put together a parade float for our school. We told her we had posted to the school community several times that we needed someone to head this and several other events or they would not happen. She ended up doing the float herself but told us that there are certain events that we have to do. We are a small school with very low parent participation. Most of our board members hold their position plus take on additional positions that are not filled. We can't run everything ourselves. There are only 7 of us and everyone has jobs outside of school. When asked how we would run something if no one was available she said we have to figure it out. Can she make certain things mandatory and force us to do it? If these events are funded by the PTO how can she tell us it's mandatory?

Asked by Anonymous



Community Advice

mum24kids writes:
She really can't. But what she might be saying is that there are some things that are more important to her than others, and she wants to make sure you try to get those covered. So if you've got limited parent involvement and you want to run a school carnival the week after she wants a float for a parade, so you know you won't have enough volunteers to cover both events, she might want you to ditch the carnival to get people to focus on the parade. So it's a matter of making sure you are both on the same page with what the priorities are.

Or, is it possible that she didn't find out that there were no volunteers for the float until the last minute? If this is something she committed to, and she saw you making efforts to get volunteers, but didn't find out until 2 days before that there wasn't anyone, she might be miffed about that.

If neither of those two situations applies, maybe you need to suggest that she get more involved in recruiting for volunteers--rather than having a request come out from the PTO's volunteer coordinator, the request comes directly as an email from her, for example. Having the principal directly request volunteers for an event in some way might be more powerful, and then if people still don't sign up, she can't just blame you for it.

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