Late on a Friday afternoon at the end of a school year, a mother fired out an extremely negative email to an entire grade level of parents furthering a rumor she’d heard about a tough teacher instructing their kids for an upcoming, second, consecutive year. Mother after mother weighed in and piled on throughout the weekend — while the majority stood by, watching the cyber-drama unfold.
As there was no established forum for addressing these kinds of questions and concerns, the provocative voices took the lead and the negativity escalated, ultimately oozing out into a very public space, making it very difficult to contain and address.
On what kind of energy does your school run?
Ideally, the ideas and concerns of all stakeholders are respected and considered throughout the year. That doesn’t mean everyone gets their way all the time. Leaders, after all, are elected, appointed or hired to make decisions. Decisions, by design, often leave some people disappointed.
To build a sense of positive community, it is important to create a clear communication system that builds mutual trust by sharing important information in a timely manner and providing ongoing opportunities for people to be heard. Key to an effective communication structure is the expectation that people will talk to people and not about people and do their best to speak up in a positive way with the community, not just with themselves or their child, in mind.