When you’re a parent, it can be tempting to always take your child’s side; it can be equally tempting to only believe and side with other adults in their life. Both of these tactics are likely to cause issues at home or at school.
So there has to be a middle ground. And finding that middle ground can sometimes feel impossible. I suspect that’s exactly what u/iguessimthatdad was facing when he became “that parent” by causing a scene at his daughter’s school over his daughter’s interaction with a teacher.
Let’s check out the story and see if Dad was in the right or wrong here.
OP’s daughter is social, it’s just outside of school. In school, she doesn’t socialize a lot and is okay with it.
My daughter, Cleo (11) is very active outside of school. She plays soccer, takes swim lessons and will play outside a lot with neighborhood kids. She’s very social. Most of her friends are from outside of school.
At school, however, she struggles making friends. Cleo has ADHD and was bullied in 3rd and 4th grade for some of that. While it was brought under control by 5th (current grade), these kids still don’t play with her and pretty much ice her out. While I don’t think they have to play with her, it also means that she doesn’t socialize a lot at school. She’s okay with this.
But the teacher was a little worried — which is okay. She brought it up to the parents, who explained that it isn’t a problem.
Her teacher says our daughter often plays alone at recess or reads. My wife and I were not very concerned and explained she’s very social and active afterwards.
OP’s daughter is also a big reader. When she came home one day this week, she revealed that the teacher took her book away at recess to try to force the daughter to play.
Cleo is a huge reader. She’s currently reading her way through my wife’s collection of books from her childhood. She loves them and treasures them, knowing they were her mama’s and wants to take great care of them. She came home on Tuesday, very upset and worried her mom would be upset with her. I asked why and she said her teacher took her book away and won’t give it back until tomorrow. When pressed for more information , she said she was reading at recess. Her teacher walked over, took the book and told her to go play. My daughter begged for her book back and the teacher refused.
Both parents quickly made sure the daughter knew she wasn’t in trouble.
I quickly assured Cleo that she wasn’t in trouble and even called my wife at work to have her back me up. It was quite concerning that she was so afraid, as my wife isn’t one to fly off the handle. She’s always gentle with Cleo. As suspected, my wife assured her she wasn’t upset and that Cleo did zero wrong.
The next day, OP went to school a little early and went to speak with the teacher. After discussing the inappropriateness of her actions, OP told her he’d be reaching out to the principal.
The next day, I brought Cleo to school early and walked her to class, no one but the teacher was there. I told the teacher to give me the book. She obliged and tried to defend herself. I told her to save it and she had no right. There is no rule that Cleo has to do physical activity at recess and we expressed no concern. The teacher said she was allowed to set boundaries for her class but I pointed out recess was free time. It’s not like Cleo is reading during math. We went back and forth, and finally I said I’d be reaching out to the principal.
The principal agreed and the issue was resolved quickly. But…
The issue was resolved quickly. I don’t know the particulars, except the principal told me that Cleo is allowed to read at recess and unless she is actively harming someone or reading during a non-designated time, she wouldn’t have any more books confiscated. My wife and I were pleased. Cleo even more so.
Apparently now OP has a reputation as “that” parent and other teachers think he should have just taken the rule.
My cousin is a teacher at this school, just a different grade. She says what I did is “hot gossip” in the teacher’s lounge and that I have been marked as “one of those parents”. She says the teacher isn’t paid enough and I should’ve just accepted the rule. When I pointed out we only have 2 more months left at this school (Cleo is our only and starts junior high in august), that’s not a concern.
My wife and I feel justified, but we are wondering if I’m an asshole?
Gosh, no. Not the asshole at all. I was a big reader in school too and I would’ve crumbled if a teacher ever took my book during recess. Poor kid.
“NTA And how does a teacher’s pay have to do with her overstepping her bounds? One would think if she wasn’t paid enough that she’d actually want to relax at recess instead of harassing children,” wrote one user.