Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards opens with the author’s compelling testimony as to why she is writing her story. She chooses to change the names out of respect for her former students and family. A change of administration brings unwelcome change to what was an award-winning school. Dedicated educators are replaced by bullies who run the middle school where she teaches—one even carries a badge.
Little does she realize how deeply she will be affected when a mentally deranged stranger walks into the school and back into her life. Cornered in her classroom and left to fend for herself, Mr.Adams (fictitious name) brings the dangerous situation to a non-violent close. But while the intruder may be gone, the memories his visit has triggered will not allow her any peace.
Rather than one of relief that no one was hurt, the surprising response of school administrators is one of nonchalance and ridicule. As she and others try to discover why their school is no longer safe, the administration responds with threats and an attempt to convince her and everyone else that she is somehow at fault.
The award-winning teacher, her husband and their two children are quickly thrust into a world of chaos and betrayal. Rumors abound. A simple trip to the grocery store in this small Montana town results in smirks, knowing looks and gossip. The good ole boys run the school and the town. And they are taking strong measures to ensure that this troublesome teacher is painted as the problem in this particular middle school.
During the next two stressful years, Adams comes to understand that no matter how deeply buried, everyone must eventually confront and deal with their past. For her, this means coming to terms with the memories of a dysfunctional family with more than its share of addiction and pain.
She also begins to understand that the administration’s strange reaction developed out of fear. Fear that someone was asking too many questions. Fear of the strength of one woman who was willing to fight back.
With tenacity and a great inner strength Mrs. Adams (fictitious name) fights the good ole boys and struggles to break the wall of silence. She documents a school where teachers allow bullies to rule the halls, where coaches provide alcohol to students and where some teachers even cross the line concerning sex with their students.
Left to her own devices by a union in the administration’s pocket, she hires attorneys. The administration responds by making her children targets at school. She also discovers that they are asking her own students to lie about daily activities in the classroom. It seems that the administration is out to destroy her and her reputation.
When she is sequestered to her home, monitored by school administrators, and forbidden to step on school grounds, she obtains a court order to attend her daughter’s volleyball tournament at a private school.
Legal briefs, depositions and pages of testimony finally help Faith discover the secrets behind the administration’s fears.
The book reveals some startling truths about today’s public schools. It documents the almost incestuous relationship of union and school administration. It details the lengths to which some will go to keep lucrative jobs and programs in place. It outlines the harassment and bullying that is now common in schools. In addition, she details situations in which the administration utilizes this method to keep teachers and students in line.
The book demonstrates that some will do just about anything to keep federal and state funds flowing – not into the classroom, but into pet projects and administrative salaries and perks. She begins a long legal battle that almost bankrupts the family. But while she and her family stretch every dollar to pay for the fight, the administration uses taxpayer dollars to file brief after brief and inundate her in paperwork and legalities.
With every chapter, Stremcha provides details of the chaos that took over her life. Some chapter titles speak volumes.