I dealt with my first very very infuriated parent today. His son got into a fight and he seemed like he was supportive of how I handled it. When he dropped the boy off today, he met with another administrator and seemed fine. Then he called me hours later, ENRAGED, and started yelling at me about all these different things that were tangential to what had actually happened. It took forever on the phone to calm him down, but he did want to come in for a meeting.
Before he came in, I was catching up the other administrators on the story. The one who had met with them earlier told me he knew why the dad was angry and I should be careful. He said, “The kid was telling his father how you searched his backpack, saying students told you he’d hit the other boy with something and you needed to find it. He says you dumped his stuff all over the floor and broke a couple things throwing them around. Dad doesn’t think you had the right to search his stuff, much less be so rough with it, and he’s pretty upset.”
Ummm, yes. Dad would have huge reason to be upset. There are limited times when I can search kids’ stuff, and I can never go through their bags and start breaking things. So he’s right to be mad, because that would be terrible.
Except that I never, ever did that. No student told me that objects had been involved in the fight. I never even thought about searching anything, much less did I lay a finger on his backpack. I’m so paranoid about illegal searches that even when I’m helping kids get organized, I ask their permission before I ever reach into a bag. I wouldn’t ever go through belongings without permission and I’d never start throwing someone’s stuff around and breaking things in a crazed hunt to find a weapon. This kid has got to be kidding me.
Luckily, he didn’t have the heart to lie about me to my face. (What would I have done?!) When I brought it up in front of Dad and the other administrator in the meeting, the boy broke down and it was immediately obvious to everyone that he’d made up the story. I was so relieved.
Pretty immediately, Dad apologized to me for all the yelling. I thought that was nice.