PTO Today Q&A

Question: PTO's role in school issues?

What is the role of the PTO when it comes to disputes with parents and the way the school functions on a day to day basis? We have an issue where parents feel we need more supervision during lunch and recess and they came to us to get involved. Is this something that's as a group we should get involved in or is the PTO here to more or less help create family friendly functions and such.

Asked by Anonymous



Community Advice

mum24kids writes:
There's a difference between "getting involved" and "taking a position." A few years ago, we had an issue where some parents were concerned that the school was not addressing a security issue apppropriately, and they wanted us to "get involved." To those parents that approached me, their interpretation was that they wanted the PTO to back a specific solution to the problem. We had 1100 kids in the school, and this was 5 very vocal parents. Five people wasn't enough for us to take a position. Instead what we did was work with the principal to hold a community meeting with her and the district security staff, so there could be an open dialog about the issue. The parents got to air their grievances and suggest their solution; the district got to explain various constraints and alternative solutions. By helping to open the lines of communication between the parents and the school administration, I did feel that we got involved in the best way possible.

Since our meeting quorum was something like 20 people, I never felt like I was adequately representing the views of the majority of parents by just discussing something at a 20 person meeting and then voting on it. So we never took official positions on any school policy issues. Instead, we focused our role on being communicators, and letting people know how they could best advocate for their positions with the administration.

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