Dear Annie: I work in the aftercare program of a highly regarded private school. It’s a part-time job at minimum wage, but the kids are great, and I am grateful to be employed.
My problem is with the supervisor of the program. “Jane” constantly changes our group assignments, putting us with a different age group almost every day. This makes it difficult for the kids to bond with us as their caregivers and settle into a routine. Since the kids have various activities outside of our program, keeping up with the ever-changing schedules to make sure they get where they need to be is a nightmare.
Even worse, Jane sometimes subs if one of the regular caretakers is absent, and she is terrible with the kids. She frequently loses her temper and yells at them, and I overheard her tell one little boy that he was “bad” when he misbehaved. And several of us were present when she used racial slurs about some of the children.
One of my co-workers, “Sara,” finally decided she had to speak up, but when she went to Jane’s supervisor, it turned out Jane had already lodged a complaint about Sara, and instead of listening to what Sara had to say, they fired her. Sara was a dependable, dedicated worker who was loved by the kids. We think Jane sensed Sara’s growing dissatisfaction and struck first.
Sara’s dismissal has made the rest of us afraid to say anything to upper management for fear of getting the same treatment. What should we do? – Worried for the Kids
Dear Worried: You need to register a complaint about Jane in a large enough group that no one’s job is threatened. First, document instances of mistreatment or inappropriate behavior with the children. Then several of you should speak to Jane’s superior, together, and present your record of evidence. Don’t make it personal. Surely the school would not want to leave itself open to a lawsuit from a parent.