Tom is a kindergarten teacher in a small, affluent community. One of the characteristics of the town Tom appreciates is the great involvement of parents in the school.
When the new school year begins, many parents assist Tom in his busy classroom. This year’s class is a challenging one, made more so by one child with severe behavioral difficulties. Managing this child in a manner that does not affect the rest of the class’s learning and enjoyment takes a great deal of Tom’s and the parents’ time. Yet, after the first month, Tom feels that his class is coming together well as a community of parents and children.
Unfortunately, one parent doesn’t think so. She feels that the difficult child is so disruptive that she calls other parents, suggesting that they all complain to the school superintendent about the child. Through their efforts, and unbeknownst to Tom, the child eventually will be removed from Tom’s classroom. One of the parents called by this individual then speaks with Tom to let him know what is taking place. She cautions him that she is telling him what she heard in the strictest confidence.
Tom now faces a dilemma. He wants to speak with the school superintendent about the disgruntled parent’s campaign to remove the difficult child. Yet to do so, he might have to mention how he came to know about the parent’s phone calls. On the other hand, he very much wants to keep harmony in his classroom, harmony that would be difficult to maintain if one parent were busy organizing one child’s removal.