School Smarts: Five steps to resolving conflict at school
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Conflicts arise during the school year between teachers and students, and sometimes that conflict isn't resolved with a conversation between the two. Educators say the first step for parents should always be communicating with the teacher. Ballard High School principal, Dr. Staci Eddleman, says student conflict with a teacher often rises from a misunderstanding or miscommunication. She encourages students to first try to resolve the problem with a teacher. If the student isn't comfortable doing that or isn't successful, parents can and should get involved. Eddleman says most problems at that level are resolved with good parent-teacher communication.
If parents aren't satisfied the problem is resolved with a teacher, the next step is to contact a school administrator--a counselor, an assistant principal, or the principal. You can do this by phone or email, or if you feel it's necessary, you can request a meeting at the school. It's possible the teacher in question will also be part of this meeting.
Eddleman says it's important for parents to remember that the school is not an adversary. Both parties want what is best for the student. Eddleman says keeping that approach leads to a more productive conversation.
It's also important to speak professionally and respectfully. Eddleman says meetings are much more productive without cursing, yelling, or name-calling. And, Eddleman says parent behavior can greatly influence how students handle conflict. She says this should be an opportunity to teach a young person how to resolve a problem.
Finally, Eddleman says parents should understand that any resolution to a conflict must fit within school policies and district rules. She says parents must be realistic about what their options are. Schools will not give preferential treatment or change the rules.
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