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Need advice...Quick.... very long,sorry

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive November 2006: Need advice...Quick.... very long,sorry
By Wandilu on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - 11:06 am:

I had a very disturbing experience happen a few weeks ago.As I posted on another resent thread,I have a hard time standing up for myself,when caught off guard.But on the other hand,I'm very good with words when I am prepared for the situation ( in most cases).Here's the situation...I am a freelance reporter for my local newspaper( some may remember that last Dec. I witnessed a bad accident on my road,called the paper and asked if they would like the pictures I took at the scene,and they offered me a job,which totally shocked and surprised me ! Well,a few months later they gave me my own weekly assignment.I visit each school in the county once a month and gather info and take pictures which will be put in the paper.I forgot to share this part with yall :) ) So,last month I went to my favorite school ...two of my dgk's go there and this is where my DH went throughout his school years because this school used to house 1st thru I know tons of people there.As I am standing in the office area waiting to see which rooms I will be visiting ,the principle ran in ,literally,tapped me on my shoulder and said very loudly" I'LL SEE YOU IN MY OFFICE !" Well,since he and I have always ,since I started this position,had a very fun jokeing relationship,I thought he was jokeing with me.Wrong!! He was like a MAD man! He started yelling at me about an article that SOMEONE ELSE in our office wrote about an odor problem that his school was having.I won't go into all the fine details concerning the article.But ,anyway, he was so angry he was almost foaming at the mouth.He would sit down...then stand up...then sit back down.And he was going on,and on,about how he hates the newspaper office for this and that reason.I finally fiquered out that he was seriously mad ( DUH )and I asked him how did he feel about the school coverage since I took over (meaning only school things pertaining to everyday school events ,but not like what was covered by the other reporter) and was he pleased with MY reporting. He glared at me and said" Not ALL the people at the Times are PEDOPHILES !" Then he goes on and on ,so I brought it back around to me and my work again,and he repeated the same remark !! See,he said our paper had made false accusations about his school that were not true and now the community didn't know what to believe concerning this problem.So ,in his anger,he was saying that he was going to spread this remark (pedophile) about all of us to see how we felt about "wrongly" judged. Anyway,this went on for quite a while,then I had to go about my business of taking the pictures of the kids as if nothing had happened !!( I probably should have left,but I"m free-lance,and I had driven quite a ways to get there so I was determined to get paid !! )So,I'm standing in the hallway talking to a teacher,and he walks up to us and tapped her on her shoulder and said VERY LOUDLY " ALL of the people that work at the paper are PEDOPHILES !!" and stormed off !! I had to pull over on the side of the road after I left because I was very upset and crying.I called my editor and told her ...she was LIVID !! My DH wanted to go to the school,but I talked him out of it.My editor went through the proper channels,and so far we've recieved an email from the head of the schools stating they've talked with him,and he is going to apologize to me.My DH called him and he was very apologentic and said he was going to apolgize to me in frount of the office staff ( I also had teachers come up to me in the hallway that day that had heard him WAYYYY down the hall,and tell me they were sorry that he had treated me that way !!)So,here's my question? How do I act or respond to his apology when I go back to his school,which is in the next few days. I definately don't want this to go on forever...I will except his apology...but I don't feel a simple "I'm sorry" is enough. What should I say to him?

By Janet on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - 11:15 am:

Here's exactly what you should do...go to your editor IMMEDIATELY and tell him/her what happened. This is what they are paid the big bucks for, not you. I speak from experience (I was with a local paper for 3 years)...this is not something you need to deal with. Don't go to the school, don't confront the principal (who sounds seriously disturbed, IMHO), but go to your editor or manager. THEY need to handle this, NOT YOU!!!
I know it was horrible and upsetting, but it's not about you personally. When you go back to the school, act as if nothing has happened. Be professional and polite. If the principal brings it up, say something noncommittal like, "Well, I understand that you were upset, yada yada yada." Don't apologize for yourself or the paper or the other reporters, don't take any blame for anything the paper has published, just be professional. This will blow over. Take a deep breath and put on your best face. Oh, and talk to your editor NOW!!!!!

By Dawnk777 on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - 02:23 pm:

Ditto what Janet said! This isn't your problem. It's his problem!

By Bea on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - 04:53 pm:

Ditto the above....BUT....If your GKs go to this school, I think I might attend the next school board meeting, and make sure they are aware of his erratic behavior. This man does not sound stable. As a person who has loved ones in his care, I would follow it, through or I would ask the parents of your GKs to follow it through.

By Ginny~moderator on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - 04:59 pm:

What an awful experience.

But, you want to know what to do, since your editor did go to the head of the school board, and your dh called the principal, and apparently the principal intends to make a public apology.

You say, simply, "I accept your apology, Mr. So and so, for myself and for (the name of the newspaper). I trust that you will be more careful in the future about making general accusations." And that's it.

As for your gk's, yes, you have to watch it a bit. But it sounds like the teachers also agree the guy is a nut job and was way out of line, so I think unless you have reasons to mistrust any of the teachers, you can rely on them to be good teachers and take care of the students in their care.

By Janet on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - 08:35 pm:

I apologize... I guess I didn't read as carefully as I should've. If I had, I would've seen that you did go to your editor. I'm sorry! I was so up in arms that I just popped off the answer!

By Crystal915 on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - 09:25 pm:

I think Ginny's response is the best way to go. Gracefully accept his apology, and let it go. He obviously reaizes he was out of line, and I'm sure he was reprimanded by his superiors for those remarks. By gracefully accepting the apology, in front of the staff, you are showing you are the bigger person in the situation, and that should eliminate any ill will (even misdirected) towards you or your family.

By Dawnk777 on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - 11:51 pm:

Yeah, I was like Janet! I didn't quite have time to read it all through! Sorry. I have read it now, though.

Good luck.

By Wandilu on Saturday, November 11, 2006 - 11:53 pm:

Thanks everybody.I'm sure that I will accept his apology,but in a way it just seems like he gets off too easy.But I definately do not want this thing to go on forever.I got my weeks mixed up,I 'm actually going to his school next week. I will let yall know how it goes :)

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 12:47 am:

Wandi, I understand your feelings. But, how often does a man in his position have to make a public apology? That won't come easy - and if you are gracious in your response, it will just rub it in. As I remember the scripture, it says something like love your enemies and do good to them that persecute you - and here comes the part most people don't remember - for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on their heads.

And, you don't know what has gone on behind the scenes to force him to make a public apology. I would not be a bit surprised if he has been taken to the woodshed by his superintendent and by the school board president, and told in no uncertain terms just how stupidly he behaved. No one in their right mind deliberately ticks off the local newspaper, and I am sure that the powers-that-be in your school system know that truth very well.

And you can be sure that your editor is going to be watching and just waiting for this guy to drop the ball, any ball, so that it can be printed.

I suggest that you role play your acceptance - write it out, and rehearse it, and rehearse how you will stand and patiently and kindly listen to him, so that you are able to do it smoothly and comforably when the time comes. Just stand tall and listen, graciously accept and remind him that he shouldn't do it again, and then turn away and go on about your business like it was nothing important and you really don't have time to stand around and chat.

By Wandilu on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 08:48 pm:

Ginny,thanks for that advice.I have actually been rehursing (sp !!) in my head what I would like to say,but I felt stupid,almost like I was being a fake.So you have validated the importance of doing such.I'll let yall know how things went I'm going there this Friday,which also happens to be the day that they serve Thanksgiving dinner and invite the family's to come.So,I'm going to have lunch with my two grandson's plus do my school reporting.

By Ginny~moderator on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 08:54 pm:

Wandilu, I am a big fan of role-playing. There is nothing like hearing yourself say something - very different from hearing it in your head. And you can work not only what you want to say, but how you want to say it. I urge everyone to role-play when they know they will be getting into a difficult or important situation - and not only what you will say, but what the other person's likely responses could be and how you would respond to different kinds of responses.

By Tripletmom on Monday, November 20, 2006 - 09:19 pm:

Wandilu,How did Friday go? Was the lunch and the apology a success? I hope so.:)

By Wandilu on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 03:13 pm:

It actually went good.I was standing in the lunch line with my son-in-law when the prin. spotted me. He came right up to me and apologized,in frount of everyone that was in ear shot,and didn't try to talk in a hushed voice.He said he was sorry,and he wanted me to stop by his office before I left so he could apol. in frount of the ladies that he had said those harsh words in frount of.He was embarressed,and he started to explain why he had said those things to me.I reached my hand out and touched his shoulder and said"You don't have to explain.You are going through a hard time and I understand,and I accept your apology." He got quiet,and looked rather shocked.He also apol. in frount of the office workers.It was kind of ackward,but at least he did it.I found out that he is going through a rough divorce.So,I am ok with it and I really enjoyed being back at the school.Thanks for asking :)

By Colette on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 03:17 pm:

sounds like you handled it perfectly.

By Tripletmom on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 03:22 pm:

Way to go!!! I'm glad everything worked out for you.:)

By Ginny~moderator on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 04:11 pm:

Well done, Wandilu.

You know, if he is going through a rough divorce, that is an explanation - but not an excuse. He is in a position that demands professional behavior, and he was unprofessional.

I just re-read your first post, and it sounded like he was threatening to spread rumors that someone(s) at the newspaper were pedophiles, because he was angry that something was printed about an odor problem at the school. The pedophile label is a very serious one, and one that, once said, cannot ever really be overcome, and anyone in teaching should know that.

I'm glad he had second thoughts, glad he apologized - twice, in fact - and that you accepted his apology so graciously. Sounds like he was maybe expecting you to tear into him and you cut the ground out from under him by being so gracious.

By Beth on Thursday, November 23, 2006 - 08:47 am:

I am glad that it worked out for you. You were very kind about the whole thing.

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