As a school, we are a large community that includes staff, students and parents, and for our school to flourish we do have expectations that apply to staff, to students and to parents. I would like to draw your attention as parents to our Code of Conduct for Parents and Caregivers. You can access the Code of Conduct for Parents and Caregivers in the School Handbooks.
My intention is to point out to you specific elements of this Code of Conduct in case you are unaware of its contents. As teachers, we value the partnership that we enjoy with parents and students: together, we share a common goal of enabling all students to grow and flourish as learners and as people. Towards achieving this common goal, there are some guidelines for parents in terms of their interactions with staff members at Inaburra. For example, parents are expected to support the School in relation to its discipline policy and not do anything which undermines its authority. The Code of Conduct also states the following:
“All communication between students, parents, staff members and other parents or students, whether verbal, written, by email or telephone, should be conducted in a courteous and respectful manner as befits a Christian community.
Such communications should:
- show respect, courtesy and consideration;
- not harass or bully another person;
- not use intemperate language; and
- not be confrontational.”
In my interactions with parents, I have found almost all parents to be very respectful and courteous; there are, however, rare occasions when this has not been the case. As is the case with other workplaces, staff at Inaburra should be able to work in an environment where they are free from harassment, bullying and aggression – whether this be physical or verbal. Sometimes, it may be necessary to take steps to protect staff and there is information within the Code of Conduct relating to what steps the School may take when there are ongoing instances of poor behaviour.
Of course, we are all less than perfect and sometimes our behaviour is a consequence of stress and anxiety that we are experiencing elsewhere. Many parents are under immense stress – economic, financial, relational and personal. It is not that surprising when parents who are in the midst of stressful circumstances lose their cool and take out their frustrations on a member of staff who is merely seeking to serve their child and the broader community to the best of their ability.
But the measure of a person is not necessarily the mistakes they make, but the way they seek to learn from these mistakes and make reparations when they have hurt someone. We all have our bad days where we say and do things we regret. In such situations, as people who seek to live in a kingdom-of-God shaped community, we are encouraged to seek restoration and forgiveness, to acknowledge that we have acted inappropriately and to do what we can to mend and repair relationships that have been damaged by our actions. By doing so, we provide our young people with a model of how to live, how to learn and how to grow.
I would like to encourage all parents to read through the Code of Conduct and be aware of what is expected of parents in terms of their interactions with the School. Together, I hope that we can create an environment of mutual respect and trust that facilitates positive interactions for the benefit of all of our students.
Dr James Pietsch