Comer (1988) points out the need to build "supportive bonds that draw together children, parents, and school" (p. 42). In his work with poor, black, inner-city schools, he found that parents often felt "dejected, distrustful, angry, and alienated" (p. 44) toward the schools. He discusses the structures that were utilized to increase parent participation and promote interaction between parents and school staff:
"We created in each school a governance and management team of about a dozen people led by the principal and made up of elected parents and teachers, a mental-health specialist, and a member of the nonprofessional support staff--all the adults who had a stake in the outcome. The teams decided issues ranging from the schools' academic and social program to changes in school procedures that seemed to engender behavior problems....
We invited parents from among the group that had protested against us in the first year to join the team. With their input, we developed a program that involved parents at three levels: shaping policy through their representatives on the governance and management team, participating in activities supporting the school program, and attending school events.
At one point, about a dozen parents worked as classroom assistants and formed the core of the parents' group. (They were paid the minimum wage.) Parents and staff sponsored activities such as potluck suppers, book fairs, and graduation ceremonies. These social gatherings fostered good relations between parents and staff, so that when a child was having problems, the staff could discuss the matter with the parents without eliciting defensive reactions. As a result, the school climate and student behavior improved, and more parents began to attend school activities." (pp. 46-47)