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When Your PTA Turns into 'Mean Girls'

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No PTA is without a little drama now and then, but what do you do when it gets downright juvenile and nasty?

Flying Solo with Two Carry-ons: My children's grammar school recently experienced such behavior and made me question just who the grown-ups were.

women shouting

A faction of former board members were unhappy with the current president and a few certain unresolved issues, so they decided to have a rather lively debate at the first meeting of the year. What should have been a pep rally for new parents about plans for the new school year turned into an episode of the "Jerry Springer" show, with name-calling, accusations, and all-around bad behavior. Then came the distribution of flyers at pick-up, anonymous e-mails to the entire school, and Facebook tauntings of how and why we should overthrow (or force a step-down of) the current regime. It was embarrassing behavior reminiscent of junior high.

Off-campus meetings took place and elections were held for a new cabinet. What kind of example were they setting for their kids? That bullying and bad-mouthing is the way to settle a dispute?

A group of neutral parents who just want a good education for our kids refer to them as the Mean Girls (or Cheerios, for you "Glee" fans).

Things have since settled, but the bad taste remains. And who really wants to help and work alongside the Cheerios who rule the school for fear of similar repercussions?

Do we (the other parents) play nicely for the kids' sake?

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous December 6, 2009, 8:49 AM

most PTA women are stuck up

Rachel December 7, 2009, 5:00 AM

I experienced something similar when I went to my first PTA meeting as a Kindergarten parent - the first one of the year. I was excited about getting involved and eager to learn about the PTA. What I found was a directionless group with no goals or objectives. It was more akin to social hour. When I politely asked what the goals were for the year, they looked at me like I was half crazy. It was ridiculous. Needless to say, I found other ways to become involved at the school that circumvent the PTA. :)

Barb December 7, 2009, 11:22 AM

Rachel, it sounds like your PTA needs a leader… why not teach by example? I haven’t experienced the nastiness mentioned here, but it’s frustrating that more people don’t get involved. If you’re unhappy with the way things are run, the best way to “fix” them is to get your voice heard=volunteer your time! Even working parents can find ways to help (I work full-time, but I’m also on my PTA’s board); if heading up an event isn’t for you, reach out to the PTA with some of your skills… you have a lot to offer, so share it to help our children!

Rachel December 8, 2009, 5:39 AM

@Barb - Make no mistake, I volunteer a lot at the school, just not within the confines of the PTA. When the school music teacher called for parents to volunteer to sew costumes for the Spring program last year, I was the only parent in the school to volunteer, and single-handedly made around 20 animal costumes within a couple of weeks. I can work with my children’s teachers individually to help. I just refuse to volunteer my time to the organization when there are no goals or objectives. I’m so glad your PTA seems more together. Sadly, our PTA is not. My point is, you don’t have to just give up on volunteering if your PTA makes you crazy. Not every volunteering activity (at our school anyway) has to go through the PTA.

Barb December 8, 2009, 8:26 AM

I hear you, Rachel; it’s great that you can be so involved! I just hate to hear bad stories about PTAs. They truly are what the parents make of them, so I encourage everyone to be involved, no matter now small! If the poorly run PTA hears no objections from parents, they’re not going to change. (Side note: kudos to you for making costumes! I’m not good with sewing, but I enlisted the help of my mother-in-law for my daughter’s school play costume… each parent did their own, and it was sad that some students had NO costume… my daughter said those students felt like they ruined the play for everyone else… I hate that they felt bad.)

Anonymous December 8, 2009, 10:57 PM

just fart at them!

Elizabeth December 11, 2009, 8:25 AM

Sadly, women who once were mean girls in school, left unchecked, do grow up and continue ugly behavior. I have experienced nastiness like this in church bible study of all places. I have learned to not give out info that can be used against me and help with a smile or word of advice whenever possible. I think possitivity can kill them with kindness and a good example can put them to shame. Just use them as an example to talk to your kids about how we do not treat people.

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