Question: How to overcome the overbearing Principal?

I just read this article in the principal archives (thank you for having it still there!). We are embroiled in this exact situation right now and Administration has informed us that independence is not up for discussion and they will oversee the development of the bylaws. If we cannot have the conversation that the article suggests (we did and were shut down with the above). What conversation can we have? Where can we go from here? Here's the article I'm referring to:

Asked by Blumtnmama



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi there Blumtnmama,
If your group was set up as an independent group, then it can push on the issue, but you have to ask yourselves if it is worth it. Is it possible to do another sit down and take things from this point of view: Tell the administration that it is important the parent ideas and goals be reflected in the bylaws. If not, the group will not feel like a parent group and parents will not be as interested or engaged. That means fewer parents working on behalf of the school. If you explain that you have the school's best interests at heart and are open to all suggestions from the administration, you may make some progress.

You are in a tough situation. Try to find a way to meet somewhere in the middle here so the administration doesn't feel like it has "lost control" over your group and you don't feel like you are totally "under the thumb" of the principal.

Good luck and stay in touch,

Community Advice

Blumtnmama writes:
Thanks, Rose.

We did do this. While there were bylaws, they were 'lost' and, as we were told, they were guidelines only, as this is not an independent PTO, but 'run through the school directly.' We parents were under the impression that this was a true PTO, both in independence and governance structure. There was no 501c3 status, and no signed copy of bylaws and missing meeting minutes to support a ratification vote.

So, if we can't have that conversation, is there a way we can move forward to try to find some common ground? What conversation can we have?

Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Unfortunately, the personality of the principal can play a significant role in how effective parent involvement is at a school -- and even whether it exists at all. Maybe you can start with finding out his expectations for the PTO (they will likely be pretty narrow) -- what you can help with, how you can contribute. Listen to what he says and work on those specific things. As you execute what he wants, you'll begin to build trust and perhaps can expand your role a bit. It's likely to be slow going and taking baby steps for awhile. It's hard when a principal throws up a roadblock. Good luck -- it's too bad he doesn't have more appreciation for people who are willing to volunteer their time to help the school.

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