Let’s talk about the most important issue facing the Chicago Public Schools right now: bullying.
I don’t mean an eighth-grader beating up a sixth-grader on the walk home from Arai Middle School. I mean the way Rahm Emanuel has been treating the teachers in his attempt to get them to do more work for little or no more money.
He’s been exhibiting all the behaviors of a bully. Let’s review:
Name-calling: Rahm said students "got the shaft" under the previous CPS labor contract, implicitly blaming teachers for shafting them. While not bullying in a physical sense, name calling is a form of bullying that can have a negative impact on the victim’s self esteem.
Stealing lunch money: In June, Rahm cancelled a scheduled four percent raise for teachers. Then he raised their property taxes 2.4 percent.
Demanding favors: Rahm is asking teachers to work an extra 90 minutes a day and two weeks a year. That will increase their hours by 29 percent, according to some. But for all that extra work, he’s only offering a two percent raise.
Social exclusion: Rahm refuses to enroll his own family in the Chicago Public Schools, suggesting that he thinks he’s above mingling with the targets of his bullying.
Clearly, Rahm is exhibiting all the behaviors of a classic bully. His file shows he has a history of such behavior. He berates subordinates, using profanity to insult people who won’t give him what he wants, and once confronted a congressman in the shower, “poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me,” in the congressman’s account.
Rahm needs to be enrolled in anti-bullying program to bring his tendencies under control. In the meantime, the teachers need to stand up to him, and refuse to do extra work without comparable extra pay. As the saying goes, if you give into a bully once, he’ll just keep coming back.
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