This month, a private school principal took the bold step of declaring “a tough stand against abusive and threatening parents” (The Australian, 3 July). Pushing back against a perceived rise in “parental agitation and aggression”, Dr. John Collier of St. Andrew’s Catholic School in Sydney does not want to see teachers, students or parents suffer physical or emotional abuse.

This has afforded an opportunity to open up a conversation around how positive communication needs to be at the centre of all kinds of relationships in life.

As educators and leaders of young people, teachers and principals are placed in the unique situation of helping to raise and educate our children, in preparation for entering the workforce. During school, children learn lots of different skills and pick up important knowledge along the way. Unfortunately, during these formative years, they can also pick up negative or bad habits that they see reflected in others, including teachers and parents (Holt, 2017).

It is important to protect our children from negative impacts. It is also important for us all, as adults, to remember to be respectful and to behave appropriately when dealing with others in our lives or those of our children, whether a teacher, health professional, an ex-spouse or anybody else.

We created Toppako to help people to communicate better, by having more positive conversations through text and email messages. Our simple tool uses a traffic light system to colour-code appropriate and negative messages, making recommendations along the way to help members improve the qualities of their messages with others.

Acting like a tone filter, Toppako is perfect for use in any environment where aggressive, abusive or otherwise inappropriate messages are being sent to you. Applying our tool in the school environment, we are confident it would help enable teachers and parents to avoid heated conversations, while protecting children from the negative effects that inevitably overflow from such situations.

Curious? Check out Toppako here.