“One of the hardest things to fix is something somebody else has broken.” — Trauma Victim
Tim Field, one of UK’s leading specialists on workplace bullying and author of the book, Bully In Sight, stated, “In the last decade of the twentieth century, workplace bullying is, in my view, the second greatest social evil after child abuse, with which there are many parallels.”
To the world at large, I was well-adjusted —I thought so too until Incident 16.
April 16, 2002, began like any other day, getting the kids off to school and my husband and me off to work. Life was fine. The sun was shining, tulips were in bloom, smiles were on our faces, and my students were on task. All that changed at approximately 11:40 a.m., when an 18-year-old stranger entered the middle school where I worked and trapped me in my classroom. This event would lead to years of abusive bullying behavior from my employer and his mob of puppets, a state and federal lawsuit and a downward spiral into the world of the abyss. It would cost me my career, and inflict financial, physical and emotional damage. The attorneys would eventually name the cases Incident 16. These events ultimately led me to write, Bravery, Bullies,& Blowhards Lessons Learned In A Montana Classroom.
Lorna Stremcha has written a powerful and true story about her experiences in a Montana classroom. This book is a story about overcoming great adversity. I know what it's like to do the right thing an unhealthy workplace and to be punished for doing so. It's not about being a victim, it's about having the courage to stand up for every around us. Please buy a copy for every teacher you know. No wonder we are having trouble with education in America, bullying starts at the top! Anybody in an unhealthy workplace will appreciate this book since you are not crazy, and nasty bullies break the law all the time.
Workplace bullies in the Bellevue School District of Washington get protection from an army of attorneys in-house and on retainer, their Board, Superintendent (3rd in 6 years), and the Administration. Lorna's story is very real. Bellevue alone has spent close to a million of our taxpayer dollars just trying to silence one whistleblower for doing the right thing. They have spent 6+ years illegally obstructing justice using corrupt school officials and many others who have been paid off to lie for the Bellevue School District. When state and federal judges are in on this scam, we have a serious problem in America. I have offered mediation this whole time, so I know Lorna's book can definitely help you if you are being targeted for exposing illegal activities in a school district. These districts actually believe they are above the law.
Generally, when you hear talk about bullies and how to deal with them, the discussion is aimed at school age children. It's rare I see anyone address the problem of workplace bullies. I don't know why this is because playground bullies do eventually grow up, and it isn't like their rotten personalities will magically improve once they become adults. Anyone who has ever suffered at the hands of an office bully knows how it can not only wreck your nerves and life; it can destroy your career.
Stremcha's book tells the story of how one woman and her family stood up to an administration hell-bent on covering up a horrible situation. I had no idea that the laws intended to protect employees from workplace bullying don't apply to teachers. Even when policies are in place, administrations frequently ignore them, then try to shut the victim up rather than admit there's a problem and risk bad PR. In her case, the administration did just about everything they could to make her quit. It really made me realize how difficult a teacher's job is, and the importance of taking these incidents seriously to ensure good teachers are protected.
Couldn't put this book down! Lorna had me from the first page. A must read whether you been BULLIED or not! I will be interviewing this author for my film. When Bullies Become Bosses.
Bravery, Bullies, and Blowhards Lessons learned in a Montana Classroom, I was amazed and saddened at the level drama, deceit, and corruption that are intertwined in our Educational System. I can say this not only because of Lorna Stremcha’s experience but because of my own. As an Adjunct Instructor, I experienced the most bizarre and disturbing event of my Professional Career. I too lost a cherished position because of bullying and the passivity of school authorities. In fact, there are many parallels with Mrs. Stremcha’s story and my own although we live in different states. Workplace bullying is a new and insidious form of human abuse. It can destroy mental & physical health and indeed, whole careers. It’s time that the United States join the rest of the world and create laws against this practice. Thank God for Lorna Stremcha. A great story and a must read written by a very courageous woman.” ~ Paul Miner, B.A. Business; Certified Peer Specialist (Georgia); Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP); Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT); Adjunct Instructor.
I couldn't put it down! I learned a lot about the dynamics of the education system and the capability for dangerous and illegal alignments. She offers many insights, explores many situations and provides great solutions.
This book is a must have for any parent, prospective educator, or current /retired teacher. Although this workplace abuse/mobbing experience happened in Montana, it is occurring all over the USA. Certainly in ROCHELLE, IL 231 in a heinous and unlawful manner where items are stolen from a teacher's home in order to intimidate, prevent a lawsuit, and silence a whistleblowing teacher. (cover-ups and corruption) Lorna does an excellent job of defining terms, offer guidance, as well as list other resources available. She shares much insight in a topic that has been kept undercover for way too long. The public has a right to know what is going on in the schools and with their taxes.
This is the book the field of Education has been waiting for! Lorna Stremcha brilliantly explains how corrupt administrators are in school districts. Every sentence captivates the reader as if one were experiencing the bullying themselves. This well-written book exposes the tragedy that is taking place in many school districts across the country. Every educator needs a copy of this book, as it will give a voice to those experiencing the same hardships. Lorna Stremcha's book resonates with teachers everywhere as these bullies and blowhards continue to get away with this injustice. I was not able to put the book down and had to read it twice.
What Lorna has shown us a resilience and a determination not to be controlled, abused, bullied, intimated, harassed, manipulated, isolated, coerced and fighting for her heart and soul. Moreover, she enlightens us that sexual harassment is alive and well in education at all level. Her story reminded what has been going on in the military for years. Lorna exposed how far a school district will to silence those who have the courage to advocate for students and speak out about sexual harassment and workplace bullying. For her, there was no due process, only fabrication of lies. Being falsely accused threats, humiliation, retaliation, and much more. She made us aware of the secretive dark side of education that walks among us in the shadows. Her family became a part of her struggles and experience retaliation against her children; she mortgages her future to fight this injustice done to her. Lorna shined a bright spotlight how school districts use our tax money to defend their bad behavior. At the end of the book, she provides a footprint, a guide, how to survive and protect oneself from sexual harassment and workplace bullying. Like a Phoenix, she arose out of the ashes, providing a path, a journey, showing those who endure sexual harassment and workplace bullying, how to be reborn with a new purpose and learning to cherish what you love the most. This book is about, survival, courage, reflection of the education system, and changes that are needed to create an educational system that is safe for students and teachers alike.
I was amazed at the depth the writer put into writing Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards. To be honest, I had to re-read the first several chapters as I believe it was speaking to me and I was having a difficult time trying to comprehend what was happening. This book has opened doors for me in my own life that I had to face things from my distant past as well as new instances. Society doesn't seem to comprehend what bullying entails and, it is my heartfelt desire that people will read this book, come to understand what bullying is and, they take a step up and address the issue. If you are being bullied, be BRAVE and confront the bullies and gain power in knowing you are a worthy person, and no one has the right to step on you. I am blessed to know Lorna Stremcha and so happy she is taking steps to encourage people.
All too often, bullying and other inappropriate behaviors are hushed, downplayed, and even ignored for fear of retaliation. Stremcha has taken on the challenging task of addressing this in the compelling story Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards. With tact and fortitude, she shows how these negative behaviors affect not just the victims but the entire community. The setting is a school but could just as easily be a corporate office, small business or even a household. Everyone who reads Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards can benefit from this insightful story.
A must read for teachers AND administrators
Until reading this book, I felt completely alone in my struggle. It felt as if the author reached in and was telling my story. I purchased 2 copies so my husband could read along with me. We are both teachers and were astounded at what she went through, and again the parallels with other teachers and administrators. Ms. Stremcha has made herself available to speak to me as well.
Bravery, Bullies, & Blowhards: A story told like none other. From the very first pages, I was captivated by Lorna’s truth. She speaks it. She lives it. I watched this nightmare unfold on the front pages of our hometown newspaper. As a student who once sat in the confines of her classroom, I was determined to learn “the rest of the story.” Lorna is a fierce fighter who showed extreme perseverance when the cards were down. As an educator myself, this is a must-read for all who take the charge of stepping into a classroom. We all have a thing or two to learn from her.
I could not put the book down!! It hit home for me on so many levels. Lorna is an inspiration to so many educators that have gone through similar experiences. We are taught as educators to protect our students and create a safe learning environment. And that starts at the top. If educators don't have positive and productive leaders and administrators that assist in learning they cannot effectively teach students. And that should be the number one goal for everyone involved.
What an eye opener this book is especially when you think you are being harassed and bullied at work or even your child at the school. Your first reaction is usually to tell yourself that you are being overly sensitive or that you have done something to provoke the emotional and mind assault.
After reading this book, you might realize quite the opposite.
The problem then becomes what does one do about it, not to worry Author Lorna Stremcha breaks it all down for you to include steps to take, documentation to note and the process that should happen to address your concerns or if it has reached that level your official HR report. The devil is in the details for these kind of things. If you don't have knowledge of the procedure well, then it is going nowhere fast.
I think this is also a great book for people who have experienced this issue and left the job because they had no idea what else to do, and the good news is you can still reclaim your self-respect and sense of self. The subtext for me was basically if you don't then they really win and that is not good for you as a person.
I have a close relative that works in school administration, so I know that these things go on. Bullying isn't just something that happens on the school playground, and it is something that needs to be exposed at every level if there is any hope for the next generation. This is why I find books like Lorna Stremcha's "Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards" to be both valuable and refreshing. Telling her story of dysfunction and bullying in a Montana school district, Stremcha exposes what goes on behind closed doors at many schools and workplaces in our towns and gives some sage advice to anyone who is unfortunate enough to be stuck on the other side of one of these closed doors. A great read that will be empowering to many.
As an Advocate and Former Teacher I highly recommend buying this book,, The Author appears to have overcome the hardships of being bullied herself... This should be on the #1 Best Seller listing for most informative as well as innovative way of handling tough situations as this... Lorna Stremcha has a stellar writing style, unlike any reading I have come across. Kudos to this Author and all that she has endured yet chose to go further in helping others help themselves... I will be recommending this book to many others.
“It’s easy to see and say that our schools are failing, but not everyone knows why. Telling a story from an “insider’s viewpoint” Lorna Stremcha, an educator and advocate, shares what many have been afraid to share…that workplace bullying exists even in our schools. This is a place where are children and those who teach them are supposed to be safe, but when you read, Bravery, Bullies, and Blowhards Lessons learned in a Montana Classroom you will see a private view of a very public problem. Once you read Lorna’s story, you will not be able to just “sit and watch” the drama. You will be moved to your core to either weep or while wiping your tears, get involved in the movement against the tragedy.” ~ Dr. Gail Hayes, Anti-Bullying Consultant & CEO, The Handle Your Business Girl Empowerment Zone
"Bravery, Bullies, and Blowhards: Lessons Learned in a Montana Classroom" chronicles Lorna Stremcha's fight against workplace bullying in the field of academics. While the story is set in Montana, it could be any school in the United States. The book illustrates school dysfunction which, unfortunately, is far too prevalent.
Stremcha found herself entangled in a web of abuse at the hands of administrators simply because she made a stand. Stremcha faced years of debasing treatment while on duty as a teacher and in her private life. She fought for years to receive justice despite the lack of laws to protect people from workplace bullying.
Stremcha's book goes beyond storytelling. The reader feels her ordeals with her. Stremcha describes in detail the horrifying tactics that school administration used to ruin her. The reader feels the passion that Stremcha felt as she made her way through a legal quagmire to get back her life and the lives of her husband and children.
At the end of "Bravery, Bullies and Blowhards," Stremcha devotes a chapter to what she learned as a result of her ordeal. Her advocacy led her to co-author healthy workplace legislation in Montana.
Bravery, Bullies, and Blowhards Lessons learned in a Montana Classroom is a story of trauma, struggle, and survival. It is a journey into the halls of our public schools. It is also a story of ignorance on behalf of a school. A school bred into a system of games, manipulation, negligence and basic immoral behavior. This is Lorna’s story and one I believe everyone should read if they want to understand why our schools crank out the same problems repeatedly.” ~ Elizabeth Bennett, M.Ed. Clemson University, Author, Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying from a Psychological Perspective, South Carolina
This book relates to the current trend of bullying and harassment of Americas teachers. It illustrates how even a less populated state like Montana can have major issues of bullying and harassment that metropolitan teachers face. The denial and cover-up by school districts of the true problems of unsafe school environments has to stop.
This book does an excellent job of teaching the ordinary person how to identify and what to call specific behaviors that seem to be pervasive in not only our Nation's school systems but can take place in any business or industry in this country. It not only does all that but also goes far in lending support and great advice for what to do about it - even if it does not culminate into a lawsuit. I would recommend it for each and every person of working age as I know if I had had this information sooner I might have avoided much difficulty and pain that I have experienced in recent years. I will be advising everyone I encounter to read it.
I received a free edition of this book for the promise of a review. I want to be truthful. However, I was never ever asked to give a good review. After reading the account of Lorna's horrific ordeal, there is no way this book wouldn't receive five stars.
I admit to being the parent of a daughter who went through very serious bullying. She was bullied by the administration, that was supposed to provide my daughter with help and a safe environment, the same if not more than she was bullied by the three main players in her nightmare. So much of this book was the retelling of our ordeal. I mean no disrespect to Mrs. Stremcha as to what she endured. I can't imagine most people being strong enough to get through such horror. However, the actions and "good old boy" cronyism of both the administration and BOE I can totally relate to. The frustration, the scratching of one's head wondering how doing the right thing turned into the wrong thing in the eyes of the higher ups is so familiar it's scary. I too wondered how the public high school continued to hire such " buffoons." If this bullying nightmare hadn't been so painful, I would have laughed knowing we both had used the exact same word to describe some of the school staff, administration and BOE.
As I retold some of this book to my daughter, it made her cry. She cried over the realization someone else was experiencing such pain, as well as someone else being able to so closely relate to her pain. This is why everyone needs to read this well-written account that so accurately describes the disturbing, disgusting, painful, devaluing and dehumanizing experience that is having to go through bullying. You can't put into words how stunned you are when you find yourself or a loved one dealing with utter and complete isolation when you've done absolutely nothing wrong ... until you realize that for the administration and BOE it's not about right or wrong, it's about what looks good for the administration/BOE and what causes them the least amount of headache. What's amazing to me is how pervasive this thinking, this behavior is in public schools across this country.
Forgive me for interjecting so much of my family's personal experiences into this review but it's because of them and the common experiences we've had with Ms. Stremcha's ordeal that allows me to vouch for the books accuracy.
Anyone who has gone through this ugliness called bullying has to read this book. Anyone who has a loved one or friend experiencing bullying needs to read this book. Most of all anyone going through bullying presently needs to read this book for its solidarity and ability to help you learn how to protect yourself.
To Ms. Stremcha well done.
This book is a must read! I had always known our school district was a little off, but I would have never guessed to this extent. I am appalled at how far the district went to get rid of a teacher that wasn't just a teacher, but a mentor. She was one of the few teachers that taught from her heart instead of just the textbook. I am inspired by her story, and if I were to find myself in this kind of situation, I hope to have even half of the courage this brave woman showed.
“Lorna Stremcha’s Bravery, Bullies, & Blowhards exposes administrative bullying and how it filters down in a disturbing way to influence student learning. While kids may struggle to learn math and English, they’re learning bullying conduct from adults in power. Anyone who reads this book will not feel compelled to ask: why is bullying an epidemic in the workplace? Why do children continue to bully when we have all these mandates holding them to account, encouraging them to stop. The answer is plainly apparent in this horrendous, but quite likely a typical story of how those who bully are protected and rewarded.
Readers of this book are confronted with the painful truth that bullying goes unchecked and is even accommodated by the legal system itself. If the courts are constructed so that school administrators can draw on taxpayer dollars to fight battles on their behalf against teachers who must draw upon their resources, it’s a sham of justice, and it’s an indicator that the bullying paradigm is here to stay.
Stremcha’s bravery in the face of administrative lies, corruption and cruelty is a testament to her and her family’s strength. She is one of a community of teachers who would fight for the safety of kids in schools even if it meant paying a terrible personal price. And it’s truly sad that exactly these kinds of high-achieving, dedicated teachers are driven away from their calling because of bullies.
This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about the education system and for anyone who is sick and tired of the bullying paradigm. It’s time for a change. Our teachers and students deserve much better.” ~ Jennifer Fraser, Ph.D. Author of Teaching Bullies: Zero Tolerance on the Court or in the Classroom (Motion Press), Be A Good Soldier: Children's Grief in English Modernist Novels (University of Toronto Press), Rite of Passage in the Narratives of Dante and Joyce (University of Florida Press).
This book contains effective contains and lessons that can be implicated on your practical life as well! The Author of this book, Lorna Stremcha, contains useful terms to break down the different kinds of harassment as well as bullying a person may encounter in a workplace. Besides, the person can find this guide helpful for knowing how they may speak with Human Resources and other avenues in order to ensure they are no longer treated in this manner. Total writing pattern is different, Just unique! I really recommend this book for your great collection
I give this book a 5 out of 5, if there were an option for a higher rating, I would. This book should be read by everyone. From teachers to corporations, students, and parents alike. This book shocks inspires and educates through the point of view of a seemingly normal teacher that we could have all had, or our children will encounter. I don't want to divulge too many spoilers for readers, but what our character experiences seems too insane for reality. The way that our teacher is treated truly is a violation of human rights and as she describes her emotions we truly feel as she does.
I was sexually harassed on a school athletics trip in my high school days, the star player bought a sexual novelty toy and passed it around and asked if the ladies on our team wanted to take turns to use it. The coach saw the whole thing happen; nothing was done. He actually giggled along with the boys. When I reported this back to the Athletic Director nothing was done. I was bullied and humiliated until I quit the team. The boy and the coach were never reprimanded, but I was the "trouble maker" the "bad seed" who wanted to sink our team right before the State games. I truly wish that I had a great resource such as this book when I was going through my ordeal. So much of what happened to our character happened to me, and sadly, continues to happen in so many schools and workplaces.
The Author, Lorna Stremcha, contains useful terms to break down the different kinds of harassment and bullying a person may encounter in a workplace. And a person can find this guide helpful in knowing how they may speak with Human Resources and other avenues in order to ensure they are no longer treated in this manner.
I really appreciate how Lorna continues the story with how she assisted with bills in the Montana Senate to pass bullying laws. All of us, as citizens and parents, need to learn more about these laws and do what we can to get them passed. Every student, parent, teacher, and community member deserve to have a safe learning and working environment. It truly is shocking how few states have laws against such workplace hostility, bullying, and harassment.
Again, I think that every person should read this book. As heart wrenching and unbelievable as it is, it really happened, and everyone needs an eyeopening story such as this to see that these problems are all around us. Even at places where we least expect it, our schools.
“Lorna Stremcha's insightful book lays out the banality of evil that has come to dominate public education in the United States. Any teacher who dares to stand up to it is targeted and removed with no due process of law.
This surprising anti-intellectual environment she so clearly describes is hard to take. What is even more unexpected, and demoralizing are all the people who sit by and do nothing while public education is deconstructed to a point that our future citizens will no longer have the education necessary to fulfill their function as arbiters of power as laid out in our constitution. If that is allowed to take place, the future of anything that even remotely represents a democracy is at stake.” ~ Leonard Isenberg, Educator, Founder of PerDaily.com http://www.perdaily.com/
This remarkably detailed story of one talented teacher's attempt to be dealt with equitably by a public school administrator gone bad and his cronies is a must read for all stakeholders in the educational system. This includes parents, educators, bureaucrats, taxpayers, just about everyone... It should be required reading for all student teachers and perhaps be considered for high school students as well. Our students are often being failed. The truth needs to come out. Not only can this story happen anywhere, it has and is continuing to happen all over the United States. The most effective and empathetic educators are being driven from the field. I have also been a victim but just know this - because of people like Lorna Stremcha, we will never be silenced!
I have long felt disgust with our local school administration's lies, deceit, and manipulations. I was only vaguely aware of the bullying of teachers until recent years. I admire this author for having the fortitude to set the record straight.
“This book is a must read. It shows the severity of the epidemic plaguing our society today. Once you start to read you will not be able to put it down. The emotions and turmoil show what is needed to bring changes to schools everywhere. Lorna is an exceptional teacher and author. This book left me in tears.”~ Monica Thomas-Founder P.A.S.S. (Parents Advocating for Safe Schools) Parents Advocating for Safe Schools www.parentsadvocatingforsafeschools.webs.com
PA Co-Director Bully Police USA www.bullypolice.org
“What an en-capturing, eye-opening story and the author very clearly shows an atmosphere that should not ever be allowed in a school. The points stressed in the book are wonderful for information, especially on casework, how badly represented the schools are, and how the views of the government affect the social law. This book sent shivers down my back!” ~ Patrick Harnish, M.S., Mental Health and Trauma Crisis Specialist CAABI.org, author Darkest Depths Brighter Beginnings, Mason City, IA
Read, then read again!
As a writer myself, I often use the rule of "write what you know" to get a story or point across. Lorna Stremcha is fearless in writing what she knows! Lorna's unfortunate experiences in the academic workplace come through loud and clear without resorting to hate bashing. Rather, this book should be viewed as an important teaching tool for employees as well as parents and students. I highly recommend this book - Lorna's unique perspective as a bullied school employee in which she also witnessed kids bullying kids is as insightful as it is important. I applaud Lorna for being brave enough in her transparency and honesty to write this book. Education on any subject is power, and Bravery, Bullies, and Blowhards is as incredibly educational as it is incredibly powerful! As a special education advocate, I know I'll be referencing Lorna's book many times over.
Our book club recently read Bravery, Bullies, and Blowhards by Lorna Stremcha. It’s a well-written account of dealing with an administration, district, and school union that just wanted a problem to go away. It was easy for the people in power to make the teacher go away than to address the wrongs allowed to happen by the people in charge.
We chose this book because our book club is comprised of all educators, some retirees and some still working in education. Everyone was delighted to read a factual teaching story. The surprise came when each educator could relate to something in Stremcha’s account. As we sat discussing our reactions and feelings, we realized each of us had either directly been unsupported by our union OR had come into contact with an administration who was unsupportive of its teachers and staff.
Bravery, Bullies, and Blowhards was a cathartic moment for each of us as we realized there were others out there like us who had experienced work place bullying. For some of our book club, the experience was fresh. This book helped break open a wall of emotions and allow for healing and understanding.
Every educator should read this book. While you feel empowered at the end and are moved to action, it is the heart that responds with healing. We rated this book, five stars out of 5 stars on our book club rating scale!
A review: "A story of bravery and triumph over adversity, this book solidifies my long-held belief that the entire education system is not just flawed, but in abject disrepair.
I'm a product of that system, and, therefore, wasn't at all surprised to read about this glaring malignancy that has invaded the Nation's educational hierarchy.
Stremcha writes vividly of harassment and intimidation from a teacher's perspective, sheds additional light on workplace harassment and the potential end result of not only bullying, harassment, and intimidation, but sexual abuse as well: PTSD. "We live, we love, we try to do our best"—words (a way of life even) that I wished everyone subscribed to, rather than the dog-eat-dog mentality that far too many people in this country—and the world as a whole—have adopted." -Shatter the Silence
Wow, I love this book!
Standing up for other people or yourself sometimes is very difficult. Yeah, for Lorna!
I hope to see you sometime. Thanks so much for the book.
Targets become paranoid, depressed and reclusive. Access to validating and educational reads are imperative for their recoveries. The arc of Bravery, Bullies, & Blowhards: Lessons Learned in a Montana Classroom inspires hope. Ms. Stremcha concisely chronicles the place where logic is one’s enemy and then emerges with advice and resources to help others. When multiple accounts of bullying are placed next to one another, a pattern lifts off the pages. This factual and clearly written account should be one that is studied by sociologists, psychologists, and physicians to better understand the pathos of the bully and how to care for the complex injuries of the target
Wow, what a powerful book Lorna. We have been working on an anti-bully project via Facebook for the past year, but I had no ideal what you endured from so-called friends, teachers, principals, and superintendents. I could only imagine all of the bad things that you had to endure. Lorna, I am proud to know you, and I endorse this book. What is sad, the Superintends and their staff retire with a golden parachute. How can these men and women that were named in this book, look themselves in the mirror and be proud of their actions. I would call what happened to Lorna, criminal. I recommend all new teachers read this book. I am the Director of Imbullyfree.org, and I have caught numerous Superintendent telling lies when we try to investigate a bully incident. Thanks for all the great advocate work you continue to do on a daily basis.
Bravery, Bullies, and Blowhards Lessons learned in a Montana Classroom is a well written documented account of harassment and intimidation in the workplace. It depicts how one woman and her family take a stand against an administration bent on covering up a potential life threatening situation and silencing her. Lorna takes us on a journey that shows the frailties of being human and the ability to overcome her innermost fears. It is a story of courage and sacrifice to "do the right thing". It demonstrates how rules and regulations meant to protect employees do not apply to teachers. This extends from her Union and Board of Education members through various State and Federal Government Agencies. It is a great read and I highly recommend it.” ~Neal Schwartz, B.S. in Social Studies, B.S. in Biology, M.A. in Political Science, Retired Master Teacher for the Philadelphia Board of Education, author of Guilty Until before Proven Innocent, A Teaching Experience
Kristen Inbody, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorna Stremcha’s story in “Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards: Lessons Learned in a Montana Classroom” began with an unstable stranger following her into her classroom when the school was mostly empty, triggering memories of a violent attack.
“I was frightened and trapped with this man staring at me,” she wrote. “He was every abused who had forced himself on me. His face morphed into every person who had mistreated me.”
He said he’s turned 18, finds her pretty and had been “thinkin’ ‘bout this for some time.” She later learned he had been subjected to terrible abuse and had just left a psychiatric ward.
She eventually diffused the situation and reported it. Administration advised her to consider the ways she needed to take responsibility for what had happened.
“Members of the administration were insisting that the event was ‘nothing’ and that I was a ‘hysterical female,’” focusing on shutting her up instead of focusing on classroom safety, she wrote.
After four years and two lawsuits, she learned the administration “knew all about” the individual and his violent nature, including that he’d brought guns onto a school bus, she wrote.
Stremcha, a, educator, author and speaker with Bullying Police USA, changed the names and locations in the book.
She was hired a sixth-grade teacher and immediately got off to an awkward start when an applicant who was passed over filed a lawsuit citing illegal questions about child-bearing plans. But other than that, things went well in the school for the first two years.
A reshuffle of the schools changed all that, with the neighborhood schools concept and team teaching approached phased out. The administration took stronger control, including over discipline issues in classrooms. Coaches and administrators pressured teachers to relax standards, especially when it came to keeping boys on “revenue sports” teams, Stremcha wrote. Teachers started to leave.
“Politics and fundraising, not education, became the central focus on the school administration,” she wrote. “Amazingly the public and the school board allowed it to happen.”
Stremcha was informed she would be a seventh- and eighth-grade English teacher and set to work preparing. She coached speech and debate teams to success, until she was dismissed a month after her team won the state title. And a new principal came to town. She described him as a big, moody bully short on education credentials.
From the incident in the classroom, Stremcha traces a path through conflict with administrators, “small town rumors,” a campaign of harassment against her family and “biased information leaked to the press consumed and regurgitated” after she was fired and filed suit against the school district. She struggled to find another job. She was diagnosed with PTSD. She worried about the school being a safe place for children.
The rules for male teachers accused of egregious misbehavior contrasted with her experience when “I had reported sexual harassment, and the district when after me with a vengeance.”
Stremcha included advice for people who feel they are bullied or harassed at work, with plenty of warning for a long, difficult journey ahead.
“We must break the code of silence and shine the spotlight on those who are not fit to teach or administer our schools,” she wrote.
Book: “Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards: Lessons Learned in a Montana Classroom”
Author: Lorna Stremcha
"Bravery, Bullies, & Blowhards: Lessons Learned in a Montana Classroom" chronicles Lorna Stremcha's fight against workplace bullying in the field of academics. While the story is set in Montana, it could be any school in the United States. The book illustrates school dysfunction which, unfortunately, is far too prevalent.
It all started when Stremcha was accosted and nearly raped in her classroom by an intruder with mental challenges. When Stremcha reported this incident, instead of receiving support from her superiors, she began to realize that she had stumbled into a pack of lies and a major cover-up. Stremcha found herself entangled in a web of terrifying abuse at the hands of school administrators simply because she dared to make a stand. Stremcha faced years of debasing treatment by her bosses while on duty as a teacher and in her private life. She fought for years to receive justice despite the lack of laws to protect people from workplace bullying.
Stremcha's book goes beyond simple storytelling. The reader actually feels her ordeals with her. Stremcha describes in great detail the horrifying tactics that school administration used to ruin her career and her personal life. Examples included finding pornography planted on her workplace computer that she discovered upon returning from a leave of absence and the deletion of students' grades that she had submitted. All of these tactics were geared toward completely ruining Stremcha as a professional and as a human being, despite being an award-winning teacher.
Stremcha describes the effect on her overall well-being that was a result of the enormous stress placed upon her. This downward spiral is an example of how workplace bullying takes a tremendous toll on a person's physical and mental well-being. Even though her health was deteriorating, Stremcha continued to fight for her rights. The reader feels the passion that Stremcha felt as she made her way through a legal quagmire to get back her life and the lives of her husband and children.
After her ordeal, Stremcha became an author, business owner and healthy workplace advocate. At the end of "Bravery, Bullies and Blowhards," Stremcha devotes a whole chapter to what she learned as a result of her ordeal. In short, she reinvented herself as an educator, mentor, and advocate. Her advocacy led her to co-author healthy workplace legislation in Montana. Her business, Resolutons, is devoted to life coaching and teaching self-improvement.
Stremcha has become an inspiration despite her ordeal, or because of it. This book will be released in the near future.