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Board Members Talking to Teachers

What’s With Policy 3112?

There have been questions in the community about "why the board can't talk to teachers." INFORM shares the background and the policy.

Board Policy 3112, Board-Staff Communications, says that all communication with staff must be through the Superintendent. In short, school board members should not be going directly to teachers to talk about school business.

Issue-Policy 3112
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Why was this policy created?

Simply, there were incidences of board contact with staff which created uncomfortable situations for them.

An intended outcome of this policy was also to protect staff from intentional or unintentional influence by a higher authority.

Laymen’s Explanation of the Issue

While Board members are just people, they are technically the boss of the Superintendent, who is the boss of the school principal who is the boss of the teacher. When a Board member asks a teacher, or even a school principal questions or makes suggestions, it can create anxiety over the Board members intentions, or create conflicting direction from someone else.

Think of the school as a business. A corporate board member would not show up one day in the office and talk to customer service about what’s going on and make suggestions for change. This would be inappropriate and create confusion. The chain of command would be broken.

Similarly, it is more efficient for everyone when the Superintendent responds to Board questions. It ensures consistency, and potentially more and better information to board members, without negative side effects.

Board member are not forbidden to talk to teachers as many Board members are parents. So, one of the unwritten rules is when you talked to staff, always start with the understanding the conversation was that of a parent to teacher, or parent to principal, nothing more. Some Board members go further and say things like, “when we talk, I may offer ideas, but that is never meant to be a directive, I have no authority and would not do that.”

Like all professional relationships, open communication and established trust are important. With these, communications with staff should not create a problem. But just in case there is a question about it, see Policy 3112.

Link to Board Policy. Search “3112” or See Below

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