Last month, we talked about responding to (inevitable) criticism of school policies and decisions. POM Wonderful, a juice company, offered an example of how to respond positively to such criticism, but what about responding badly? School Heads should know just as much about how not to respond to criticism as they do about responding well, to avoid public and private faux pas across the board.
Again, we turn to John Oliver’s HBO satirical news show “Last Week Tonight” for our case study in responding to criticism. This time, we’ll look at how Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler reacted to Oliver’s satire—and how it backfired.
(Primary image credit to CNET)
There’s an excellent reason why alcohol and nicotine via tobacco are banned from children—and why other mind-altering substances are completely illegal. Children trying to achieve a blissful “high” to escape from the pressures and doldrums of everyday life can do irreparable damage to their still-growing bodies. That doesn’t mean that students won’t try the darnedest things to achieve an elusive, forbidden high.
You walk into your monthly meeting, and your turn to speak arrives. You stand up in front of your fellow administrators to present your part of the agenda. As you take your seat, the School Head leans over to whisper, “I’m really sorry, but did you know your fly was down?”
Moments like this happen all the time, and our example is relatively tame. Instead of a zipper having fallen, it could’ve been oppressive body odor or poor work performance. These issues—personal and professional alike—should be addressed. As Business Manager, sometimes it falls to you to have these tough, awkward conversations. Such situations require tact, sympathy, and—occasionally—some tough love.
The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, learned about disposing of hazardous chemicals the hard way this summer. CBS reported that the school’s Science Department Head found a small amount of acetone peroxide while cleaning up a classroom over the summer. Acetone peroxide can explode in even small quantities when confined in a container like a beaker, so the school was evacuated and emergency personnel contacted. A local bomb squad detonated the explosive substance in the vacant lot across the street.
While no one was hurt, the incident was certainly a wake-up call for The Hockaday School and for everyone who thinks hazardous waste is glowing green barrels of nuclear byproduct. Hazardous chemicals exist at your school and require adequate management policies and practices to protect your school, faculty, and students.