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Old 10-02-2012, 06:30 AM   #1
BreeBree
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PTA Bullying

Hi all, I'm fairly new to the boards (long time lurker!) and I've been having a bit of a problem at my son's school lately so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My oldest son started kindergarten this year and before I knew it I was swept into the land of the PTA. My son goes to a very cliquey private school and I've been having a really hard time volunteering without feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. I bring up ideas and they're shot down immediately, they deem them “not good enough for our children” or “we can do better than that.” I've also been given very snide and rude comments about my age and my marriage. Most of the women are in their mid-to-late thirties and frequently tell me that I'm just not old enough to do a certain task. One woman called me a “child bride” the other day. I told my husband and he was livid and felt terrible because he is the one who wanted our son to go to this particular school. He wanted to talk to the principal, but I don't want my husband fighting my battles. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I just wanted to cry the other day. I feel like I'm back in high school, it's ridiculous. Has anyone else experienced PTA bullying? What should I do? It's not so much that I'm worried about myself, but I'm worried that these moms will start taking it out on my son or tell their children to avoid him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreeBree View Post
Hi all, I'm fairly new to the boards (long time lurker!) and I've been having a bit of a problem at my son's school lately so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My oldest son started kindergarten this year and before I knew it I was swept into the land of the PTA. My son goes to a very cliquey private school and I've been having a really hard time volunteering without feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. I bring up ideas and they're shot down immediately, they deem them “not good enough for our children” or “we can do better than that.” I've also been given very snide and rude comments about my age and my marriage. Most of the women are in their mid-to-late thirties and frequently tell me that I'm just not old enough to do a certain task. One woman called me a “child bride” the other day. I told my husband and he was livid and felt terrible because he is the one who wanted our son to go to this particular school. He wanted to talk to the principal, but I don't want my husband fighting my battles. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I just wanted to cry the other day. I feel like I'm back in high school, it's ridiculous. Has anyone else experienced PTA bullying? What should I do? It's not so much that I'm worried about myself, but I'm worried that these moms will start taking it out on my son or tell their children to avoid him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
You have to hang in there and suck it up. A snooty private school can afford to be "harsh" with their parents because you are "stuck".

Yes you are back in high school. Since you are 24, new to the school and PTA you are going to unfortunately have to go through the beat down.

That being said over time once they get to "know" you all will be fine except for the high school part, no matter what age you are that is always there.

Hang in there & prove yourself.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:41 AM   #3
cornflake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreeBree View Post
Hi all, I'm fairly new to the boards (long time lurker!) and I've been having a bit of a problem at my son's school lately so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My oldest son started kindergarten this year and before I knew it I was swept into the land of the PTA. My son goes to a very cliquey private school and I've been having a really hard time volunteering without feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. I bring up ideas and they're shot down immediately, they deem them “not good enough for our children” or “we can do better than that.” I've also been given very snide and rude comments about my age and my marriage. Most of the women are in their mid-to-late thirties and frequently tell me that I'm just not old enough to do a certain task. One woman called me a “child bride” the other day. I told my husband and he was livid and felt terrible because he is the one who wanted our son to go to this particular school. He wanted to talk to the principal, but I don't want my husband fighting my battles. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I just wanted to cry the other day. I feel like I'm back in high school, it's ridiculous. Has anyone else experienced PTA bullying? What should I do? It's not so much that I'm worried about myself, but I'm worried that these moms will start taking it out on my son or tell their children to avoid him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Have your son's playdates fallen off or anything? If the kids he's friends with aren't the same kids that belong to the people saying things, then I don't think it's an issue that way.

If he has some that cross over and invitations have declined, that's a different problem.

In general, I'd say your choices are to drop out of the PTA or just do whatever and wait it out, or force it by insisting on something, insisting on voting on ideas, saying you'll do something and ignoring THEM, etc.

As to the 'child bride' and stuff remarks - your husband going to the principal and complaining that other grown parents said something that hurt your feelings will REALLY not help that perception, you know?

I have no idea what he thinks the principal would do about it regardless - they're not students, they're adults who are just being a little snarky.

As to it being like you were back in high school - what isn't? Does your job not have aspects of high school cliquey behaviour? It's human nature.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:44 AM   #4
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Sounds like a normal PTA board to me. You can continue to give ideas and sign up to volunteer. Going to the principal will do NOTHING (at least at our schools, also private). You need to grow thick skin and decide that if you want to continue to help (and honestly I would) for your child. I got to the point that I volunteered for the book fair and programs that interested me. I knew that I would be put somewhere alone.

You can also tell them their comments are uncalled for. Will it work, probably not. But you have the satisfaction of knowing you said something.

I would recommend trying to let it just roll off you. Soon enough your child will be graduating from H.S. Seriously!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:46 AM   #5
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I would scale down my involvement
There is usually a "clique' that controls everything-so volunteer one activity and stop giving ideas
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:50 AM   #6
luvmy3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreeBree View Post
Hi all, I'm fairly new to the boards (long time lurker!) and I've been having a bit of a problem at my son's school lately so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My oldest son started kindergarten this year and before I knew it I was swept into the land of the PTA. My son goes to a very cliquey private school and I've been having a really hard time volunteering without feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. I bring up ideas and they're shot down immediately, they deem them “not good enough for our children” or “we can do better than that.” I've also been given very snide and rude comments about my age and my marriage. Most of the women are in their mid-to-late thirties and frequently tell me that I'm just not old enough to do a certain task. One woman called me a “child bride” the other day. I told my husband and he was livid and felt terrible because he is the one who wanted our son to go to this particular school. He wanted to talk to the principal, but I don't want my husband fighting my battles. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I just wanted to cry the other day. I feel like I'm back in high school, it's ridiculous. Has anyone else experienced PTA bullying? What should I do? It's not so much that I'm worried about myself, but I'm worried that these moms will start taking it out on my son or tell their children to avoid him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.

I have learned through the years to not be too vocal in the PTA because I'm not one of them and if you aren't you can forget about being heard
I volunteer for whatever they need me to do, but that is about it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:51 AM   #7
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I have not seen any PTA bullying, but I do think that some women think it makes them better. It's silly because we are all in it for our kids! Mine is pretty good about including everyone, but I do see some of the moms acting as though they are better because of....something?

I'm sorry you are being treated like that. Child bride is just unnecessary, and they have no right to treat you or your marriage that way. One suggestion I have is to not make suggestions for a little while, but volunteer for as much as you can. If they won't listen to you try making them see what you can do. It might not work, but it might be a good way to start.

I have to say I was actually nervous at my first meeting that mine would be cliquey. I have heard horror stories (so I KNOW you are not alone!!!) but I was relieved to walk in and see two other moms in my sons class that I know. Our suggestions were all given in on a form, so I have no idea if they shot down my ideas or not. I also volunteered for a ton of things, including being a co-chair for the one big fundraiser. I am pretty sure I won't be added there since I am new, their loss though cause I did the exact same fundraiser for my last job.

Lastly, if they or their kids do anything to your son I would go straight to the principal. However, I'd like to think they will be more mature than that. Good luck!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:51 AM   #8
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I had a similar experience with a small town PTA. My "problem" was that I wasn't born in that town, so my ideas and experience were unwanted. They told me this straight out. I was further told to be quiet, show up, and donate money because that was all a newcomer was good for.

I decided that as an adult I have the choice to leave a situation where I am both bullied and worked like a dog. So I left. No regrets.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:02 AM   #9
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If it was me I wouldn't step foot back at that PTA.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:09 AM   #10
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When I was about your age I volunteered with my son's PTA at a Department of Defense school overseas. I actually walked in on some moms discussing how they "couldn't wait to see me in a few years after I've gotten fat". I scaled back a lot after that and I only did specific tasks that I was asked to do.

For some reason women seem to get very protective of their volunteer roles and the perceived "power" that they think goes with them. I have found this to be true in many volunteer arenas, not just schools. If I volunteer, I just want to go in and get the job done, I don't want to take anything over. I also don't like having my time wasted and I have zero tolerance for drama.

The other posters are correct, do not go to the principal. I'm sorry you are experiencing this.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:26 AM   #11
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I'm so sorry. Sounds awful.
I never got involved in my kid's school's PTAs. It wasn't for any reasons like yours though. What I did was volunteer directly in the classroom for field trips and other things. I'd talk directly to your son's teacher about volunteering in the class and skip dealing with that PTA group. Just pay your dues each year (if you want) and be done with it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by luvmy3 View Post
That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.

I have learned through the years to not be too vocal in the PTA because I'm not one of them and if you aren't you can forget about being heard
I volunteer for whatever they need me to do, but that is about it.
I am really sorry you have had this experience. PTA shouldn't be this way. It should be all parents working together for the benefit of the kids.

I don't think it's fair, however, to generalize against all PTA parents (and yes, I say that because I am one). With any group of women, you may find a faction that is catty, petty and mean, but that doesn't have anything to do with it being PTA. You can find that in offices, Moms' groups, fitness clubs, etc... I wasn't a mean girl in high school, and I am not a mean girl now.

At our school, the PTA works VERY hard for the good of the school and the students. Do issues come up? Sure, but we try to talk through them and work together. Sounds like the OP has found a group of women who are behaving immaturely, but I don't think that means we have to bash all women everywhere who volunteer their time to benefit their kids' schools.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by luvmy3 View Post
That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.

I have learned through the years to not be too vocal in the PTA because I'm not one of them and if you aren't you can forget about being heard
I volunteer for whatever they need me to do, but that is about it.
Yup.

And people wonder why no one wants to join the PTA.

OP, you can either speak up or stop attending PTA meetings. I know which one I'd do, but that is up to you to decide.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:33 AM   #14
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First, I wouldn't call any of that bullying. People need to stop using that word.

Second, you are an adult. Stand up for yourself to these women. If they comment on your age or marriage, say something to them. But to have your husband call the principal over remarks said from one grown woman to another? Then yes, you are proving to these women that perhaps you are too young.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I cannot stand when people let others walk all over them. PTAs can be clique-y. You have a choice. Stand up for yourself and prove something if it bothers you or step away from the PTA and find other ways to volunteer.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:39 AM   #15
luvmy3
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Originally Posted by MickeyMomTo2 View Post
I don't think it's fair, however, to generalize against all PTA parents (and yes, I say that because I am one). With any group of women, you may find a faction that is catty, petty and mean, but that doesn't have anything to do with it being PTA. You can find that in offices, Moms' groups, fitness clubs, etc... I wasn't a mean girl in high school, and I am not a mean girl now.
You are right, it doesn't have anything to do with PTA, it has to do with the women who are drawn to the PTA power positions. There is a reason people generalize, and that is because there is truth in it.

And FTR, I'm a PTA parent, I'm just not one of those women
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