PTA Bullying

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by BreeBree, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. BreeBree

    BreeBree Earning My Ears

    Oct 1, 2012
    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!
  2. The Mystery Machine

    The Mystery Machine Sunrise at my house. :+)

    Jan 4, 2001
    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.:rolleyes1

    Hang in there & prove yourself. :hug:
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  4. cornflake

    cornflake DIS Veteran

    Jul 31, 2011
    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.
  5. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun Apple peaches pumpkin pie, not ready holler "I"

    Mar 27, 2005
    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!:hug::hug:
  6. Swan4Me

    Swan4Me DIS Veteran

    Mar 28, 2011
    I would scale down my involvement
    There is usually a "clique' that controls everything-so volunteer one activity and stop giving ideas:)
  7. luvmy3

    luvmy3 <font color=green>When I drink I find its easier t

    Feb 24, 2008
    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.
  8. Kbendig

    Kbendig Mouseketeer

    Jul 9, 2012
    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!
  9. Andtototoo

    Andtototoo DIS Veteran

    Nov 23, 2010
    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.
  10. happygirl

    happygirl DIS Veteran

    Feb 13, 2004
    If it was me I wouldn't step foot back at that PTA.
  11. chiefmickeymouse

    chiefmickeymouse Sarcastic, silly and socially awkward

    Sep 23, 2010
    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.:hug:
  12. HM

    HM My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.

    Mar 8, 2001
    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.
  13. MickeyMomTo2

    MickeyMomTo2 Lauren S. @baseballsbows

    Apr 25, 2008
    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.
  14. SaraJayne

    SaraJayne <font color=red>Stop moving those smilies! <img sr

    Mar 6, 2009
    Yup. :thumbsup2

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

    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. :)
  15. mdsoccermom

    mdsoccermom DIS Veteran

    Jun 20, 2010
    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.
  16. luvmy3

    luvmy3 <font color=green>When I drink I find its easier t

    Feb 24, 2008
    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 ;)
  17. ckay87

    ckay87 demented and sad...but social

    May 1, 2001
    Oh He....... No!!! They lost a volunteer, period. OP do not go back. DO NOT. There is no requirement that you participate in PTA and it is a myth that your child will suffer if you do not volunteer at school.

    Keep your pride and volunteer for an organization who values you. I don't agree with all the Boy Scout principles, but my sons were interested, so I volunteered there. Men were far and away easier to work with than the cliquey women! Church and Sunday School were also places where my efforts were valued and I was unjudged.

    Life is too short to put up with BS like that and you are NOT in high school any longer.
  18. Rylee

    Rylee DIS Veteran

    Nov 5, 2005
    At our school, there is a great divide between the "have and the have-nots." At one time, the "haves" were running the PTA, and scared off all the "have-nots." It was no longer about working together for the betterment of the children. It was a bunch of women grandstanding and came down to a battle of the checkbooks. They were constantly waving their checkbooks in the air, with a, "I'll just pay for that." PTA membership was at it's lowest and when a new principal came in, he and a few teachers really worked at making changes and making it so more people were comfortable being involved.

    OP - If being involved in the PTA is something you are interested in, attend the meetings, ask how you can help, and do what they will let you. Eventually they'll warm up. Perhaps there are other feelings as you are, seek them out and stand together.

    My other suggestion - If you want to help, go directly to your child's teacher and volunteer to help out.

    My oldest started kindergarten in 1986, our youngest will graduated in 2019. I've had a long time to figure out what's important and what isn't, and I haven't volunteered in the PTA in years. I tell the teachers if there is anything they need or anything I can do, call me. I do the same with some friends that chair certain events... believe me, they call.
  19. dismom301930

    dismom301930 Mouseketeer

    Apr 7, 2006
    I think it is unfair to suggest that all PTA moms are "mean girls". I am very involved in our PTA and I am not now (nor was I in High School) a "mean girl". I find that most of the moms who are involved with the PTA are nice people who spend many volunteer hours planning programs that will enhance the school experience of their own children as well as hundreds of other children. Without the PTA moms, we would not have a Science Fair, free Book distribution, end of the year Fun Fair, Winter carnival, Father-Daughter dance, Mother-Son outing, etc. The list goes on and on. It is disappointing to learn that the very same people whose children are benefiting from these programs are probably thinking the event planners are "mean girls". Our PTA welcomes opinions and suggestions from everyone in the school community.

    Back to the OP, I would say hang in there. It is unfortunate that a few "mean girls" are making this a negative experience for you. I think it will mean a lot to your children and to you as well if you can keep volunteering. Try to ignore the negative comments, and enjoy this special time with your children. Good luck to you :)
  20. shortbun

    shortbun <font color=green>Peacenik<br><font color=purple><

    Aug 21, 1999
    Find a more direct way to contribute in the school. Volunteer for his teacher or the librarian. Help with field trips. I was shocked to find our PTA was cliqueish like you describe-not the catty comments but they basically patted my hand and told me they had it. I stepped back and soon found other areas to help. Buy whatever they deem the fundraiser items and don't attend another meeting. They're Mean Girls and you don't need their negative energy in your life!
  21. luvmy3

    luvmy3 <font color=green>When I drink I find its easier t

    Feb 24, 2008

    I didn't suggest all the PTA moms were mean girls, I suggested that all the mean girls end up joining the PTA.

    I also said I was a PTA mom. Our PTA does wonderful things for the kids, which is why I stay involved. However it is run by the mean girl clique, as many other PTAs all over are.

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