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Cher, Educator-40+ yrs
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 20807
Experience:  M.A., B.A., Author, Information & Research Specialist
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I am a senior teacher standing in for the principal on one

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I am a senior teacher standing in for the principal on one site of a primary school which is split across two sites. I have been appointed recently to this position. I have inherited a difficult caretaker who has been given free reign under the previous management. Earlier today I had to challenge him about the unauthorized removal of office equipment from one school site to the other. I said no equipment of this nature should be moved without my knowledge. He complained about having too many bosses and too much to do. We have had a lot of extra deliveries lately but this is not beyond his job description. I had to tell him today that I appreciated the work he was doing but that there were communication issues that needed to be addressed. For example I mentioned that there were electricians in school in a mobile site but I was unaware of their presence which was a security issue and that essential office equipment could not be moved without my knowledge. At no time was I out of control. My voice was not raised (unlike his). We ended our conversation and I went to keep an appointment with another member of staff. Just prior to my entering the room to meet this other staff member he asked if he could speak to me again. I said he could as soon as I had finished my meeting. He then informed me that he was going off sick would be off for a long time and left the building without putting any arrangements in place regarding closure of the building which I had to do including new electronic gates and so on. My question is could I have handled this any differently and does this behaviour warrant disciplinary action bearing in mind he has gone off sick (probably claiming stress). He is very union and rights oriented and would not be on the site for one second longer than is essential. Most of the teaching staff find him quite unhelpful and downright obstructive.

Hello, Judith and welcome back to Just Answer!

My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to assist you today.

From your description of the situations that occurred, it sounds like you handled yourself very professionally and your words to him regarding the specific situations/circumstances were not inappropriate or unwarranted.

If he was used to having free reign or more flexibility as to his actions, without the prior approval of the former Principal or any superior in the past, he needed to be told that he must 'clear' any actions to be taken with you, first.

His reaction re: taking off sick, seems childish and provoked by anger/frustration with your criticism of his inappropriate actions and the fact that you had another meeting with a staff member and could not speak with him at that particular time (to his convenience). Yes, his behaviour definitely warrants disciplinary action, especially because he left the grounds before the school was closed/secured, which is his responsibility, and left the children and staff at risk, regarding security, plus, you needed to do his job to secure the school grounds.

If the majority of the teaching staff find him generally quite unhelpful and downright obstructive, it would be appropriate for a meeting to be called with him, his immediate superior (you) and your superior, to identify the problems, make sure he is aware of all the rules and regulations, and he is instructed to get your permission in writing (like a 'work order') before taking any actions not already approved, in any future situations.This would be appropriate if it is decided that he should be retained or made redundant and another caretaker hired.

I hope all works out well for you in this difficult situation!

If you need any additional information or clarification, simply 'Reply' back without rating and I will be happy to help with any follow up questions. Please do not rate negatively if you still need information. Just click "Reply" instead. Thank you!

If you found my answer helpful, a Positive Rating and Positive feedback on the survey, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Laughing

If you would like to request me to answer any new, future questions, please begin your post with "For Cher Only" and I will respond as soon as possible.

Warmest regards,


Cher, Educator-40+ yrs
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 20807
Experience: M.A., B.A., Author, Information & Research Specialist
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