An elite private school principal has told parents they need to ‘chill’ and stop treating teachers like their servants.
Dr John Collier said in a recent newsletter he was concerned about tension being created by a small group of the St Andrew’s Cathedral School community.
The prestigious K-12 inner Sydney school has fees of up to $30,000 a year.
‘I am aware some parents, because they are paying fees, see the relationship with teachers as a master/servant relationship, such that they are entitled to make extravagant demands,’ Dr Collier wrote in the newsletter which Daily Mail have shared a copy of HERE.
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He said he had noticed a considerable increase in parental anxiety this year, compared to when he began his role as the head of the school 28 years ago.
‘I am having to interact with too many parents who have verbally abused, physically threatened or shouted at a staff member.
‘People who do this should engage in some role reversal: if someone behaved in this way towards you, would it be helpful and would it motivate you to assist them?’
Dr Collier asked parents to consider if their expectations of the school and consequent reactions were reasonable.
‘A couple of years ago, a middle school parent said to me that he knew the 13 staff members who had observed his daughter committing an offence were all lying, as his daughter said she was innocent. It is very hard to make progress with this level of unreality,’ he wrote.
‘Recently, a middle school parent said to me that as her daughter had done poorly in her test, her life was actually over! Actually, it wasn’t.
‘Often, frustratingly to parents, children do not peak until Senior College. Some really don’t get going until tertiary study. We need to avoid living vicariously through our children.’
Dr Collier said, in some cases, students march to the beat of their own drum, and parents need to be accepting and welcoming in support of their children.
He said he accepted some parents might feel inclined to challenge his policies by taking their children elsewhere, but said ultimately the student will be the one to suffer.
Dr Collier also said he would instruct teachers to stop answering emails and phone calls from agitated parents if he felt it necessary and would not rule out banning parents from school grounds.
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