November 15, 2008

Teachers want principal out for alleged harassment

At least 20 teachers from Pitalo Elementary School in barangay Pitalo, San Fernando town, have asked the Department of Education to transfer their school principal for allegedly harassing them.

In a letter-complaint signed by the teachers addressed to Cebu Schools Division Superintendent Serena Uy, a copy of which was furnished to The FREEMAN, the teachers asked for the transfer of Doris Singson.

Aside from Uy, the teachers also asked San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Retuya to lobby to the DepEd provincial officials for the immediate transfer of Singson.

The teachers said that they are subjected to bullying and psychological harassment by Singson due to her alleged persistent aggressive and difficult to deal with behavior, humiliating them in front of their fellow teachers.

They also accused the principal of harassing the previous teachers who are assigned in the said school.

“She used profanity, threatening us of lawsuit and dismissal, constantly changing work guidelines, assigning unreasonable duties of workload which are unfavorable to a teacher, belittling her teacher’s opinions, tampering with a teacher’s personal belongings or work equipment, boorish comments, actions and gestures, retaliatory techniques, playing favoritism,” the teachers said in their letter.

Further, they said that the bullying repeated pattern of offensive behavior and psychological harassment by Singson “lowers their self-esteem and causes their torment, annoyance, behavior, feelings of frustration and helpless, increased sense of vulnerability, loss of confidence, inability to sleep, family tension and stress, inability to concentrate and low morale and productivity”.

They cited the case of their two co-teachers named Lissa Papas and Debbie Delgado who were diagnosed by their doctors to have suffered from severe anxiety due to work-related stress and were advised to rest.

Medical certificates issued by their respected doctors to both Papas and Delgado are also attached the letter-petition of the teachers.

“Since we all are suffering from the same workplace bullying and psychological harassment, we are worried that what happened to Papas and Delgado would also happen to all of us should the bully in our workplace remains. In that case we are contemplating of taking a mass leave of absence,” they further said in their complaint.

Retuya said that the teachers came to her office seeking assistance for the transfer of Singson.

The mayor said the teachers shared to her their individual traumatic experiences and symptoms of distress that are detrimental to the well-being of the teachers are evident.

In the interest of healthy and wholesome environment, Retuya recommends the immediate transfer of Singson to other school “to give both parties a breathing spell and to cool down boiling emotions.”



Anonymous said...

Wow! What a success for all the teachers over there. You Won! This sounds EXACTLY like my school. How do I spark this kind of action where I'm at? Anyone...please help. This article gives me hope.

mark said...

Yes, it is a success. I know how difficult it is, though. What is the first step? In my first year at my school, I walked into a staff already in an uproar over the principal, which culminated later that year in the district sending the deputy super'tdnt in to give us all a smooth over pep talk- had a firm interview each of us- collect "data" then fed us a report a few months later and said it was " an issue of poor communication" so instead of changing any of the bully behaviors or validating the teachers concerns- the principal"fixed " the problem by starting to send us all a weekly update letter on events. Last year, (four years later) forty or so teachers went to the union to try to get help in organizing in order to unify our complaints. They provided hardly any direction, it was vague, and left the onus on us all to invite parents to complain to the board. Weak. I feel like the best shot might be to call a reporter, write an article in the paper, inviting people to dialogue and really vent on all of the behaviors and fear that each teacher has to perform under each day. I suppose a person has get people to sign on to something specific, like a transfer request, cite evidence, and then apply pressure.

Anonymous said...

please help me.
i have a principal who is nagging me although all my students are passing their classes. her comments are that because i was raised catholic i do not have to teach like i am in a catholic school
Another teacher makes fun of my accent and handwriting .i was born in Europe.The other teacher is american born, falsifies attendance records and yet nothing is done
what can be done ,i need this job but it really annoys me to work with such unethical group of people