Parent shaming by school officials is nothing new but the pandemic has brought it into public view more than ever before. I have a unique lens on this because I worked in schools for a decade, served a term on an elected school board and am currently the parent of three school aged children. In my education advocacy, I regularly talk to lots of parents from all walks of life. My own record on the parent-shaming front is hardly spotless—of that I am sure. I don’t have memories of anything egregious but common sense tells me that in a moment of frustration after a terrible meeting or phone call with a student’s parents, I probably made an overly broad and unfair comment. But the ire and insult directed at parents as a whole in the midst of COVID and the school reopening conversation is something to behold and it feels like it is coming from every direction at once.
Anyone who has worked in a school knows that the teachers lounge is often abuzz with tales of the worst parents ever. It could be that a parent is totally checked out, hostile or one of those helicopter types —either way, it can quickly devolve from “this parent” to “all parents” and that is never an effective or productive way to engage on complex and important topics like how to get children who have been out of school for 11 months back into school.