school vice principals.

Forgive my ignorance, and forgive me in advance if I offend any school vice principals out there. But I was watching a game show the other day and the contestant listed his occupation as a vice principal. And I was wondering what a vice principal does. When I was a student it appeared our vice principal did nothing and the principal was the “man in charge”. Can anyone help me?

In my experience the vice principals are in charge of discipline amongst other things allowing the principals more time for administration.

It’s much like a retail store the manager is the man in charge and the assistant managers assist them. Sometimes the store manager pushes most the responsibilities onto the assistants other times they do everything themselves while the assistants slack off.

That’s the way it was at my high school. You were in truly deep shit if the principal wanted to see you instead of letting the VP handle it. Our VP was also “in charge” whenever the principal wasn’t there. One of my teachers told me that there actually is a chain of command to deal with mulitple absences, but all I remember about was that the guidence directer was 2nd in line. I think in practice their secretaries did most of the work covering for them.

Well, if the principal dies, or there are tie votes in the student senate…

Or, alternatively, what they said.

Think of all the administrative duties a principal has – dealing with the superintendant, managing the building, working on school events, dealing with teachers, students and parents, handling emergencies, etc. It seems reasonable to divide some of those responsibilities up with another administrator.

And in the schools my wife taught in, the chain of command was always principal/assistant principal/guidance counselor. If you think a chain of command in a school is silly, you’ve obviously never been around when there’s been an incident on the playground, an incident in one of the classrooms, a meeting with the superintendant and a police officer responding to a call about the incident on the playground – simultaneously.

At my school the principal would have been like the president and the vice principals were like cabinet members, each overseeing different grades or areas of administration like athletics, discipline, safety, etc.

30 years ago they were the bad cops - they dealt with kids who broke rules. I believe now schools normally have more assistants so they deal with more topics.

My school has three VPs. They divide discipline by grade. One is in charge of Attendance and Security, one is in charge of Testing and Special Programs, and the third handles Planning, Curriculum and whatever the Principal tosses his way. They each handle about a dozen other tasks as well.

In my high school, back in the early 60s, the vice principals were responsible for keeping the students in line . . . attendance, dress code violations, etc. The only female VP would stop a girl between classes and have her kneel. If her skirt were too short to touch the floor, she got sent home to change. And oh yeah, no patent letter shoes. And the guys? No jeans, shorts, sneakers, t-shirts or hair over the ears. I got sent home once for not wearing a belt (even though the pants didn’t have loops).

And yes, this was a public school.

I don’t remember any kid actually interacting directly with the principal. We just heard him make speeches.

It’s kind of funny now to think that there was once a time when jeans were a no-no. That’s the go-to casual wear for most people nowadays. Even in my office it’s not uncommon to see people wearing them.

My experience pretty much lines up with what others have said. In high school, the principal dealt with the school board and general administrative issues, sometimes with concerned parents, school policy and so on. Occasionally we’d hear him saying something on the morning announcements but that was it.

There were four vice principals (for some reason we called them assistant principals, not sure why). Each one was responsible for one grade level (so roughly 400 to 500 students), and as far as I’m aware, they dealt almost exclusively with discipline. In theory, if you got in trouble for anything beyond what a teacher reasonably deals with on their own, you were referred to the appropriate vice principal, eventually summoned to their office, and given a stern talking to and appropriate punishment. (In reality, there were a few easy loopholes to exploit to avoid such an occurrence).

They also dealt with attendance for their assigned grade - mostly in the form of sending bits of paper to you saying, “You skipped class! If you didn’t have your teacher sign this and return it.” These forms were always weeks after the fact, making it incredibly easy to game the system, and making that part of their job quite frustrating I’m sure.

I’m sure they also had some role in administrating standardized tests, but my school district was so big on those I’m pretty sure that everyone had some role in them.

My high school had 3 VPs. One was assigned to names from A-whatever, etc. It was bad enough to have to see them but getting called to the Big Office was worse. I’m not sure if they have that many VPs now there or not.

In my kids’ schools, the vice principal is the go-to person when you want to get something done. The principal has more to do with the overall running of the school, but the VP handles all the day-to-day, hour-by-hour stuff. If I have any problem or need any help with something above the classroom-teacher level, I go to the VP. The discipline, in both the middle schools and high schools, is done by the “site administrator,” which is a fancy name for bouncer.

In my high school, the two VPs were in charge of discipline. The great Col. Vic Mangini was a fearsome figure, but in reality the most stand up guy in Burlingame, California. VP Siegler also did discipline on occasion and something else mysterious. The Principal, Dr. Richard Williams was a very quite guy who did administrative stuff. He lived a few doors away from me. His wife and mother lived with him, and they both did special education for grade schoolers.

In a large school, if everytime a kid got caught chewing gum in class he had to go before the principal, then that would be all the principal did. As others have said, you let the vice principals take care of minor disciplinary problems and have the principal handle the big stuff.

It was a few moons ago, but paddlings, for example, had to be handled with the principal present.

My high school had 3 assistant principals. They handled certain letters of the alphabet. I never got in trouble so I’m not sure how they dealt with that.

I do know that one assistant in particular was in charge of at least the addition of new classes. I wanted an A&P class added for my senior year and my friend and I were directed to a certain assistant. He helped us get it set up.

The only time I saw my own assistant was when my temporary foster home was very far away. The school and DSS made a special concession for me to still be allowed to go to school for the month I was in that home, but I missed at least an hour every morning. I wasn’t supposed to get marked down for it though, because it was agreed to beforehand. When the office secretary (massive bitch) insisted on getting me in trouble about it, I had to see the assistant to get it taken off my record. He did. Three times. Stupid bitch.

Anyway, our principal was a great guy. I got along very well with him. He was frequently out in the halls, interacting with students and dealing out discipline. A lot of kids didn’t like him but I did.

Mr. Shields - “Vice principal in charge of discipline.” As far as I know that was his title (30 years ago). If you got in trouble you may have to go to the principal’s office. If you were REALLY in touble you had to see Mr. Shields. Legend says he had a huge paddle and didn’t mind using it but I can’t say for sure because I didn’t get in that kind of trouble.

The high school my wife and I work at has two co-principals (that’s it). Nobody really seems to know what either one is supposed to do, or which one to talk to for whatever reason.

It’s a new concept this year, which is on the fail track to permanence.