Kevin Rolle Alabama COO in a University.The principal now has a role as not only the caretaker of the whole school with its safeguarding issues but now budgets are also taking over an enormous part of their time. It is a very stressful job and not one where you ever get five minutes spare to relax and enjoy your accomplishment in getting that far. The rate of stress in this role is twice as high as other occupations. Most principals do not consider that they have much quality of life over and above their work.
Then to top it off forty percent are believed to have suffered from threats of violence or actual violence from a student or students or would you believe parents or guardians. This is who they are doing their job for and that must leave a very nasty taste. One third of them have actually suffered violence at the hands of a student or students.
So, what is going wrong. Surely it has to be held with society as a whole, In a Country where the gap between rich and poor is significantly increasing, where students feel no hope or support and even with a qualification wonder will they ever get a real job or will they end up turning to crime and gang life.
So, what needs to change, well parents for one they can not expect a principal to turn their child around unless the child wants to be helped. They need to look at their role and responsibilities in this task, and threatening to hit the principal is setting the total wrong example for the child. The parent or guardian is the caregiver not the educational establishment. They just promise to take care of the pupil for several hours each weekday.
It is unfortunate but true that the types of student that are most vulnerable may have had some dalliance with drugs or be addicted to alcohol. Behaviour at school mimics behaviour at home. This is a whole new area that the Principal has to ensure that they can handle, a specialized team is an excellent approach but also an expensive one.
To be successful in the modern age the principal needs a whole different type of team and care available to him. As well as the teachers and safe guarders, there needs to be a pastoral element, somewhere or someone that these children can go and see when they can’t manage the day or need help or feel that they are going to get aggressive. The families of these students need to be made aware of this part of the learning establishment and they need to be informed of their progress every step of the way.
Schools or places of learning that refuse to move with the times will continue to have violent behaviour and Principals who are more stressed by the day. We need to move with the times and although we shouldn’t have to be guardian and protector. In some areas and with some students we may have to find a way, such as a pastoral care team, to at least be a little part of the care for that student =t if we want them to have any success or future at all.