From Mr. Weatherbee to Seymour Skinner, principals are an easy and popular target for mockery in movies and on TV. They can't even catch a break in twerking videos, it seems. But in reality, we can almost always count on the learned men and women in charge of our schools to be paragons of virtue, and to make sound decisions that will serve as a beacon for all those who toil in the educational system. Only very rarely will you run across one whose behavior is so abhorrent that it makes you wonder how he or she was ever put in charge of the paddlin' implements in the first place. So just keep telling yourself, "There's probably no way my kid's principal is doing heinous crap like ..."
#5. Telling The Most Inappropriate Jokes Imaginable
Many of us fondly remember a "cool" teacher we had in middle school -- one of the rare few whom you could joke around with, and who could take it just as well as they could dish it out. Maybe you can even recall some of the fun conversations you had in the classroom. Like the time he started cracking knee-slappers about eighth-grade sex, the benefits of suicide, and how he may or may not be a pedophile. Oh wait, that wasn't middle school. I must have been having a juvenile detention flashback there for a second. An actual teacher would never spout off with some crazy shit like that. Nope. When you're in the market for that kind of salty repartee, you need to head over to the principal's office.
"Welcome to the parent/teacher conference. Those bathrooms on the right are where all the buttfucking happens. Ha ha, just yanking your chain, chief."
The Vancouver Waldorf School is, well, a Waldorf school, which is a type of learning institution that occasionally dabbles in areas both hippy and dippy. I talked about them here, much to the chagrin of graduates who didn't partake in the extreme New Age floobityjoob that certain facilities offer in their curricula. So anyways, one might suppose that the faculty at a school like that would be especially sensitive toward the feelings of the students, and make every effort to refrain from engaging in such unseemly microaggressions such as handing a knife to an autistic girl and telling her to kill herself. Which, incredibly, is something that allegedly happened. And I say "incredibly" because as wacky and culty as some of school founder Rudolf Steiner's ideas were, at least he never went into full-blown Mola Ram territory.
"Choose a pine cone from the basket, each of which represents the still-beating heart of those meddlers from the county Board of Education."
Here's the full, absolutely non-mitigating context. A young girl (an autistic one, I should re-emphasize) in the classroom of educator Gerard McIntosh asked if she could have an eraser. In response, McIntosh (who also happened to be the school's principal) offered her a pocket knife and told her, "Here, use this to erase your life." I'm just going to assume that he didn't actually allow the girl to take possession of the blade. After all, he was just kidding, folks!
But maybe this was just a momentary lapse in judgement, and the man was simply trying out his new special needs material on a tough room. If he did indeed harbor some standup aspirations, you have to admire his dedication to pushing the comedy envelope. Especially after that time he was asked if he planned on wearing a costume to a seventh/eighth-grade Halloween party, and he told a bunch of students that he planned on wearing the clothes he had on, because he was already "dressed like a pedophile."
After that last swing and a miss, McIntosh followed up with this little imbroglio: While escorting a group of eighth-graders to visit the classroom of some 11th graders, he decided to lighten the mood by talking to the older kids about how one of of his younger students in particular would "probably say something stupid like 'how do you get laid in grade nine?'" I'm not sure if those were the exact words he used, since the source was paraphrasing. It may very well have been put in a much more tasteful way -- like, "See this hairless dipshit here? He's such a fucking retard that he'll probably ask you cunts how he can get his dick wet!" But at least there's no record of McIntosh ever busting out with the rape jokes, so he was merely suspended and put on paid leave instead of being fired.
#4. Making Poor Kids Dress Up In Tuxedos And Gowns
Female principals aren't normally thought of as being fashionable or glamorous, and that's a damn shame. After all, the very job description means that you're inherently going to have a legion of "little people" to act as your entourage, and likely a gaggle of underpaid, frumpy underlings to make you look better in comparison as you sashay up and down the hallways in your miniskirt and mink coat. And certainly, it should be within the bounds of propriety to occasionally host swanky events where you make the underprivileged kids who attend your school dress in tuxedos and bridesmaids dresses (on their own dime, of course) while you reign over the proceedings in a fancy gown. Only the seethingly jealous or the boringly gauche would seek to deprive you of your rightful due. Because after all, isn't "principal" just another word for "queen," when you think about it? Wait, it isn't? Well, somebody better tell this lady.
Because the haters just can't recognize what a fine line there is between the Cannes red carpet and a public school in Queens.
But before we go any further, let's set the stage. There's a notorious elementary school in Queens, NY which was given a rather less-than-prestigious nickname by The New York Post: "The School of No." That sobriquet came about not because the students are stubbornly contentious during debate class, or because they frequently hold up legislation during sessions of Congress, but because it's been alleged that precisely NO learning went on there. There were no gym or art classes. No substitutes were brought in when a teacher called in sick. There were little to no books, and the learning-disabled kids received no specialized education. What P.S. 106 did have was a TV, apparently, since the only thing they did there all day was "watch more movies than Siskel and Ebert," according to one source. It was like a Michelle Pfeiffer movie, only more meta, since they probably watched Dangerous Minds at least twice a week.
I couldn't find any famous graduates, but Queens native Ray Romano probably got high and ran naked down that dirt road at least once.
They also had plenty of rats scampering inside the walls, and the ever-present, festive smell of urine which infused the dilapidated trailers which they called classrooms. But another thing they didn't have was a principal. Or at least, one who bothered to show up (to earn the $128,000 yearly salary) with regularity. But when she did, it must have been quite the event when she pulled up to the facility in her BMW, bedecked in all her regal finery.
It appears we may have solved the case of the 101 missing Shih Tzus.
If you can say one thing about Marcella Sills, the head of "The School of No," it's that she knew the importance of maintaining appearances. And though she likely had no illusions regarding the financial status of the children under her care (to the point where one might even call it "delusional") she nonetheless would ask their parents to foot the bill for an annual black tie affair. Kids were expected to show up in rented formal attire, and for the last one (which was in the wake of Hurricane Sandy), the cost of attendance was reportedly around $110, with one parent claiming to have had to fork out over $200. And presiding over it all every year was Ms. Sills, in her strapless "bridal-type" gown, white gloves, and presumably a sensible pair of glass stilettos.
Because "belle of the ball" is such a more pleasant title than "administrator."
After a formal inquiry, Ms. Sills was given the freedom to pursue other areas of interest, which may have included putting in an application to join the Disney stable of over-the-top cartoon villains. In other words, she was fired. Not for the party stuff, but because she wasn't a fan of showing up for work. Hopefully, the new principal will start turning things around and ... oh. Well shit. It looks like the new one's even worse.
#3. Openly Mocking The Handicapped
When you work in special education, you're bound to run into a lot of stupid kids. It's frustrating. The endless litany of "I have dyslexia" and "Wah, my autism makes life hard" can get tiresome real quick. You need to have a healthy outlet for relieving all the pent-up stress that comes from being surrounded by feeble-witted dullards and drool-lipped dunderheads. And what better way to ease the tension than through the healing power of humorous interoffice memos? You know, so you can share your true feelings with co-workers, and refer to the kids as "morons" and "village idiots." You just have to stay on your toes and make sure that the parents, God forbid, don't actually get ahold of those memos. Otherwise, you could wind up like Mike Ditka's stunt double here.
As the principal of Calare Public School in Orange, Australia, it fell to Chris Cundy to disseminate to his staff the news of an upcoming mental health and social skills workshop that was to take place at the school. Dispensing with the idea of a boring, formal announcement, Cundy decided to get creative, just for giggles. And it might very well have been a laugh riot if he had read it aloud to an audience of portly vacationers in the Catskills circa 1954. But unfortunately, the year was 2014, and it turns out that the parents of handicapped children didn't appreciate how he referred to the workshop as "Operation Nutcase." But oh, it gets so much worse.
Cundy also advised his teachers to be on the lookout for certain types of children who would be prime candidates for the event -- those who displayed the following characteristics:
Suffering from undue anxiety
Lacking any resilience
Poor socializing skills
He suggested that the letter sent out to the parents might begin with: "Have you bred a moron? ... You might like to access the services of Calare's new 'Operation Nutcase.'" Then, to cap it off, he advised that anyone wishing to participate in the workshop "sign on the dotted line, or leave your thumbprint if you can't write."
For some reason, "spectacularly jug-like ears" wasn't on the list.
Cundy also offered his services to the parents themselves, should they so choose: "If you are a bit of a nut yourself you might want to squeeze in a session between the kids and lie on my couch." Obviously, when those aforementioned parents got wind of Cundy's ill-advised rib-ticklers, they were as cross as a frog in a sock (I read somewhere that's Australian for "pissed"), and some threatened to sue. One such parent said that Cundy's remarks caused the entire family to feel like they were "the scum of society," and that a defamation lawsuit was forthcoming. Presumably, they just need to see if there are any local attorneys willing to give them a two-for-one deal for their daughter's multiple heads.
"She's so upset that she's only eaten two, maybe three flies all week."
At least that dude tried to keep his shitty comments private. Check out what happens when someone goes public with their nonsense, and starts ...