Cordially Yours: (names changed to protect the victims)
The following are tales that demonstrate that these occurences weren't exclusive to me, but affect other educators universally. Nor are administrators immune to the effects of beurocracy. One only has to look at the geniuses at the Vancouver School Board who have just decided that the best way to increase revenue (and hurt staff morale and pocketbooks at the same time) is to charge employees $ 15.00 per month parking. This is almost as good, but not nearly as evil, as the fact that our government, via The Fraser Health Authority,charges for parking at hospitals..it's such a great move to add stress and expense to people who are already traumatized by the illness of loved ones. Although we spend much on anti-bullying campaigns, the biggest bully is one which kicks the population when they're already down...well done, Fraser Health Authority!
As mentioned before, the protocol in the education system is to require so much paperwork in making requests for things that could be done in minutes by almost anyone, that the task becomes either unaffordable, or unnatainable in the lifetime or career of the proponent.
Racism in a nutshell
A Vice Principal we'll call Jon had a volunteer string program that he does off time-table. Even with the cachet of being a long time administrator, he couldn't get the program legitimized by the powers-that-be, but bless him, he keeps on offering the program. At the end of one year, he discovered that the school's microphone wasn't working, so, knowing protocol, he sent the mic and cord to the board office to be repaired, requesting that it be ready for the start of the next school year. Of course he realized that he could have checked it out and fixed it himself in about 20 minutes at the most. In September, he called the Borg office asking if the problem had been fixed. Not yet, as "they" were too busy. A series of inquires met the same respons as the year progressed towards Christmas. Finally in desperation he went to the board office to inquire what the problem was. The technician said that it would take too long to go through the entire microphone cable looking for short circuits. Jon suggested that most breaks occur within a few inches of where the cable plugs into the mic and that by cutting off the cord 6" back and reconnecting, the problem would probably be resolved. The technician pointed out that the problem might be the microphone itself. When Jon asked if he had looked at the mic, he was told that it would take too long. Inquiring why, he was told, "Those tiny wires inside the microphones are wired by Asians who have smaller hands", and he couldn't possibly do it. Shocked and outraged, Jon offered to do the task himself. The technician was outraged by this impropriety. Jon then found himself sitting in front of a Union tribunal accused of improper conduct. After taking much condemnation for his breach of protocol and when the dust finally settled, Jon was finally able to get the microphone and cable back from the technician. Rather than throw it out as suggested, he cut 3" off one end of the cable, rewired the cord, plugged it in, and of course the microphone now worked perfectly. The repair by this unqualified, non-expert V.P. had taken about 10 minutes and cost nothing, except for the abuse he had received...and only after he waited 6 months for the "process" to fail.