Education News

School Leaders Want Protection From Adult Bullying

Union leaders from Alief, Cy-Fair, Fort Bend and Spring Branch all joined in the call for policies against workplace bullying.

Louis Malfaro, president of the Texas AFT, stands with local union leaders from Alief, Cy-Fair, Fort Bend, Houston and Spring Branch to call for more protection against workplace bullying by adults in schools.

Ask someone who works in a public school in Greater Houston if they think bullying is a problem, and two out of three people will say yes.

Several local AFT unions surveyed members about workplace bullying. Two out of three people who responded said adult bullying was a problem.

That’s bullying by adults — not students. 

Those are the results from a survey by local unions with the American Federation of Teachers, or AFT.

Sixty-eight of people who responded also said they had been bullied themselves. Now teacher unions in Harris County want to stop the problem.

“A workplace bullying policy will ensure that our schools are safe and welcoming places not only for the students, but for those that serve them,” said Nikki Cowart, president of the Cy-Fair AFT.

Cowart said Cy-Fair ISD is working to pass a policy against bullying similar to Houston’s.

Last year, the Houston Independent School District became the first in the state to pass a measure against workplace bullying by adults.

The policy goes beyond typical harassment. It defines what bullying looks like in the workplace and provides a process to address it quickly.

“It’s time for us to adopt a higher standard,” said Louis Malfaro, president of the Texas AFT.

“We are calling on school districts all across Houston and across the state of Texas to take a look at their own records and adopting a policy of anti-bullying,” he said.

Local school leaders signed a pledge to end workplace bullying at a rally Monday. The first to sign was HISD Superintendent Terry Grier, whose district has already passed a workplace anti-bullying policy.

Other districts joined in the call, including Alief, Fort Bend and Spring Branch. Ultimately, the decision is up to the local school boards and superintendents.



Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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