Teachers lament unreasonable complaints from 'monster parents'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 5:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 5:00am

Demanding a change in a school's lunch provider because it did not have pizza on the menu. Expecting a five-minute grace period for latecomers to class because waking up earlier would affect their children's sleep quality.

These are just two of countless complaints lodged by "monster parents" at their children's schools, a survey of teachers has found.

The poll found 64 per cent of the complaints were "unreasonable requests", while 72 per cent of teachers found the attitude or tone of complaining parents "inappropriate".

The survey, by the Federation of Education Workers, polled 442 teachers from kindergartens, primary and secondary schools across the city late last month.

It found that 40 per cent of teachers received complaints from parents in the past six months, with kindergarten teachers the biggest target.

Common complaints related to commendations and punishments pupils received, bullying and pupils' workload.

Nancy Lam Chui-ling, a kindergarten principal and federation member, said the phenomenon might be due to a rising number of "monster parents".

"We need more parental education," she said. "Whenever teachers praise pupils, parents are happy. But when pupils underperform and are punished, parents would often come to us and defend their children."

Federation vice-chairman Wu Siu-wai said: "We are not saying parents should not complain - they have the right to do so. But we hope there would be more respect and that they would also note schools' constraints."

Wu suggested that the government allocate more resources to help reduce teachers' workload in dealing with complaints for parents. It could also provide them with free or subsidised mediation skills training, he said.

An Education Bureau spokesman said a pilot project to help schools establish a complaint-handling mechanism has been in place since September 2012.