Staying Above the Line

As a school leader I am often in a position to respond during situations involving high emotion and stress. The Hilliard City Schools serve over 16,000 young people; we serve over 16,000 children, their parents, and their families. While our goal is for each student, every day to have a positive learning experience, we know that the events of daily life bring challenges and obstacles that we must overcome.

It is our duty as educational leaders to rise above the emotions, to be skillful in our response, and to provide reasonable solutions. It is imperative that our character, our foundation, remains discipline and that we stay above the line, during times of high emotion. I have strong faith in my purpose; I have great passion for our work. This foundation – the desire to serve others and provide for students – gives me strength during challenging events.
When others become verbally abusive, use bullying tactics, take to social media, and act on impulse, as school leaders we must remain above the line. We must act with the best interest of students; we must in some cases consider a myriad of factors in our response. We deal with parents at the height of emotion. We deal with family situations we may not fully understand, we deal with alcoholism, and we deal with mental health issues. It is our job, as the public servant, to synthesize the entire picture at act in the best interest of students.
When you are confronted by a parent, be discipline. Press pause for just a moment and work to understand why the events are unfolding right in front of you. Then, as you strive to get your mind around the situations, act with character, skill, and consistency. What is the best possible outcome at that moment? It is up to us – in any situation – to remain above the line. We make tough decisions; we sometimes must choose what is necessary over what is pleasant. We know, deep down we know, having the tough conversation now is better that avoiding what is needed.

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