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I Stood Up to a Bullying Leader

Mine is a pivotal- happened in a flash, I will not allow you to treat me this way any longer- life altering moment. I know if I had taken what seemed the easy way, the non-confrontational way, the “just do what he says and you will be ok” way, I would have been one of the frightened sycophants on whom my bullying boss, could count to do his dirty work. Still, it was a temptation. Sign the form, even if it weren’t true! Turn the blind eye! Be done with it! Lie! My mind screamed “just do it!” and yet the words from my mouth were these: “No. I will not do it.”

In the early afternoon of March 16th, 2010, I, a school counselor, stated I would not lie for a man, my school principal, who had bullied me for two years. My consciousness of his bullying grew from head scratching perplexities at his disrespectful arrogance-his disdainful reference, for instance, to me and other women as “honey”- to outright alarm at his “in your face” screaming.

March 16th, 2010. Early afternoon. It was an over the top crazy stressful moment. It was a moment of jaw dropping realization on his part that I truly was not a “team player”: that his coercion of me, as he suspected, would not work. He understood with my simple words, “I will not do it” that I was outside his control. I still see him standing up from his desk. Still see him leaning forward. I still hear him screaming, “JUST DO IT!!” Slow motion. Me-steely inside in that moment, and then alone in my office-crumbling. It was not easy.

It's still not easy. Although I had taken to wearing a button stating “It Takes Courage“ at school (ostensibly for my students!) I did not know I was courageous. March 16th, 2010. Apprehension turned to resolve. Fear to conviction. Just six words. A life-mine-altered in that moment.


Jan K Askin's picture

March 16, 2010

Dear "124495,

I can only guess at the inner resources that allowed you to stand up to your bullying boss. If this man in authority in the educational setting bullied you, how much worse for the children? Not only did you declare your independence of his arrogance and dishonesty, you also stood up for the children he supposedly advocated.

Congratulations on your courage,


Jan Askin

KimW's picture

It gets better!

Oh Jan--you are so right. It is a school of suffering-with a bright shiny (and fake) veneer. Check out my "liberation" website at Honestly, if it had not been for my Mr. Bully Boss I would not be doing the things I am doing. So in some weird kind of way I am grateful to him!!!

Thanks again,


Jan K Askin's picture

Best wishes

I am a retired principal - elementary level. It was my experience that more and more people were alert to bullying and that programs, such as Olweus, were helping.

Jan Askin

KimW's picture

It's great to hear from you


You are right. There is more attention being paid to bullying-lots of it. My experience is, however, that school leaders must take the lead--and not just with "adhering to policy" lip service. They most certainly cannot be bullies themselves. One egregious overt act (and there are many) of my former principal was screaming at children, "SHUT UP!!! THIS IS MY SCHOOL!" That's another moment of the beginning of my resolve. Yet in that moment I did nothing to protect the kids. I did later. I counseled and consoled them in my office! Take a look at the Olweus Bullying Circle. I was on the right side of the circle at that time-possible defender. I needed someone to speak up and I would have followed suit. No one did. I am now.

Olweus works. It must be implemented comprehensively and with fidelity. I don't see that happening in the district where I work.



sallysmithr's picture

Great story!

Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are curageous and we all face moments in life/work where we feel that we have to just go with what superiors say out of fear and you showed that we dont' have to do that and we can stand up! I'm sure it was a very difficult situation, however congratulations on standing up for what you believe. Thanks again so much for sharing!

Sally Smith

Frances Faulkner's picture



What a fantastic powerful example you set for all the other people in the school including staff, teachers, children and parents! That is the beginning of change and for you it will probably get easier and easier to be the one to stand up and fight, which in turn will inspire others to think about your actions and eventually do the same themselves. Perhaps the bully boss will learn from this and begin his own path to change as well. One woman. One action. Many results.

Keep it up! very inspirational.


KimW's picture

Thank you Frances

You are so right. Standing up still feels risky, yet there is something stalwart in me now. Check out my blog at I started with the mission of protecting kids. Although it's still the mission, it cannot be authentically done without first addressing bullying leadership.


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