I’m not one who generally feels sorry for the current administrative team, and that is obviously my bias, but I did feel somewhat bad for them last week. Until the proverbial foot entered the mouth.
My school had a huge (no, gigantic would be more fitting) music concert involving over 1/4 of the student body during a two night stretch. To say the two nights were well-attended would be a massive understatement.
Well, unfortunately a bad element in the community drifted towards the concerts, and a gang fight between two boys erupted in the restroom while 8-10 look-outs stood as sentries. This occurred outside the auditorium and down the hallway where no one was really on duty to patrol. I guess a teacher noticed the look-outs, investigated, and scared everyone away. Although the kids involved were caught, it wasn’t until after they had stolen items from the choir room and parents were intimidated by these guys.
When parents complained at an open meeting about the lack of security and overall supervision, the administration admitted no principal or security were present because there had NEVER been a problem at a music event in the history of the school. This is where I felt sorry for them. We have never ever had a history of any sort of negative element attending or any disruptions at all. It just wasn’t an expected occurrence.
This is where I probably would have simply sat down in front of the with a notebook and said something like (and I hope something more elegant than), “I recognize that we dropped the ball here, and I want you to know it will not ever occur again. Please give me a list of ideas that you think could help us solve this issue, and I will then make sure we do solve this issue.” Then I’d list every complaint and every suggestion without comment and take all of it back to my administrative team to solve the problem. Apology, input, discussion, solution.
However, the Boss Lady then made a major blunder: she (and the head of district security) blamed the parents. They said the parents needed to supervise, patrol, and secure the music events. Ouch! This turned the parent group red with rage. Normally silent parents began to speak up, and speak loudly they did.
They said sports parents don’t have to do this, why should they? They were attending to watch their children perform. The district hosted the event, and they should provide a safe and secure environment. How can the music directors be in charge and perform with the students? How could no one be in charge? Why was no administrator present when one attends every sporting event? Good points.
The elephant in the room–which no one mentioned, of course–was that this was the first concert inviting the school’s all-Hispanic music group. Beneath the discussion was the implied thought that this group’s audience brought the bad element and the first ever incident at a music event. Yikes!
A solution needs to be met no matter what, but I think the leadership’s approach again strained relations with the community, our most needed allies.