Message I Got From The PTA – Don’t Do as I Do. Do as I Say

What do you do when you are the minority and no one wants to rock the boat? A few weeks back I ventured to boldly go where no man has gone before. Oops! Correct that statement. I am woman. Years ago I broke the final frontier–no, not space but self-limitation. I think for myself and speak for myself no matter what.

For a couple of months I have been doing battle with the rules and regulations disregarded, bent, and broken by my local PTA. I called them on something and was told by a female candidate that I was being to rigid on volunteers “burdened 24/7 with special needs children”. Funny words from someone who claims to be a loving mother I think. I have had my own classified children and grandchildren. I never considered any one of them a burden, but some earthlings obviously differ with my opinion.

Let me tell you about the trek.

I love children. That is why I made a 35 year career in teaching rather than going into business. That is also why I began volunteering more and more when I retired ten years ago. I joined a local PTA, learned its bylaws and standing roles, completed some training workshops, attended meetings as well as annual conventions, completed my duties as officer or chair. I even spoke my mind with just cause and dared challenge.

I was up front that the group needed to complete mandatory training for officers as in the guidelines. A year ago I put this on the floor prior to election. It is even in the minutes. Many officers never complied. Such negligence and disregard of policies and procedures should have made them be not in good standing when they chose to run again. They claimed they didn’t know it was required. Hm, and I thought I was the deaf one.

I questioned the whole election process and gave notice in writing step by step up the chain of command. I wasn’t called once to discuss or clarify my position. The local blew me off as did the county, region, and state. When I spoke with national, an official referred it back to the state and its policies. Jarred and upset, I felt like I was watching Pontius Pilate wash his hands. The people who never got ANY training (and admitted it blatantly) were allowed to remain on the ballot. I have been told following guidelines including published ones is not required. So, why have them then?

I ponder statements like:

* County officer: “There is an opportunity for all members who will be running for office, whether from the nominating committee or from nominations from the floor, to speak on behalf of themselves.”
* Regional officer: “Leadership training is a top priority that must be ongoing from the onset of one’s term of office.”
* State officer: “The Standing Rules do not state when or by which time the Executive Board should have training .”
* State officer: “Making too many restrictions can hurt a PTA we have to learn to be flexible I don’t believe anyone intentionally bends or breaks rules”

Hogwash. I heard an officer supervising tell the floor not to listen to a candidate attempting to explain why he chose to run. I saw officers saying one thing while doing another. I learned people in leadership allow themselves to disregard, bend, and break rules.

I have decided not be a PTA officer as well as not to be its executive board next year. I’m proud of the four years I have worked with my board of education as liaison. I’ll be around for the good of the children. That is what it always was, always will be, and always should be about. I like Don Quixote persevere on.

Any suggestions about how to deal with a windmill?

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