Has Issues With The Fake Issues

| Learning | April 17, 2017

(It is January, and time for our bi-annual parent teacher conferences. School began last September. A parent, whose student is currently earning a high B grade in my Language Arts class, requests a meeting, even though I’ve had no problems with this kid all year long. Here’s how things progress…)

Me: “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. [Name]. I’m happy to meet with you, although I’m unsure as to why you requested the meeting. [Student] has been amazing all year long, and I’m sure with a little more effort could pull an ‘A’ by the next reporting period.”

Dad: “I’m here to complain. [Student] has been coming home all year long in tears, saying that you’re mean, you yell, and you’ve dressed him down in front of the entire class several times. I want to know what you’re going to do about it!”

(Mom is silent during the entire conversation.)

Me: “Well, Mr. [Name], this is the first I’ve heard of this situation. You say your child has been this way since October?”

Dad: “Yes. He’s been crying every day after school. I want to know why this has been going on for so long!”

Me: “I wish I had an answer for you. Since you, your wife, or your son have never mentioned this before, I’m rather at a loss for words. If this has been the issue for the past four months, why haven’t you said anything sooner?”

Dad: “I wanted to wait and see if things got any better, and they haven’t. I want you to tell me why you’ve been picking on my boy and why you’ve been treating him so badly! He doesn’t even like coming to school anymore; it’s that bad!”

Me: “Again, I really have no idea what you’re talking about here. Your child is one of my best students. His work is rather good, and I’ve had no behavior issues with him, save for one small situation in December when he was poking another student with a pencil. I spoke to him outside the room briefly about personal space, and that was the end of it. I really don’t…”

Dad: *now raising his voice so that other families in the common room can hear* “That’s not good enough! I demand that you apologize for your months of rude treatment of my child this instant! Or else I’ll be going to the board to have your job!”

(One of the administrators is on their way over to intervene when Mom finally speaks up.)

Mom: “[DAD]! Just stop it! Why do I have to listen to you do this to every teacher that [Student] has had? Are you just on a power trip? Do you like to make the teachers miserable? [My Name] says that our boy is doing a great job and has no issues with him. Did you ever consider that [Student] has been lying to you all this time? And for you to let this go for five months before saying anything? How stupid are you?

(Yes… she called her husband ‘stupid’ in front of parents, teachers, and other students!)

Mom: *to me* “Mr. [My Name], I’m truly sorry for my husband’s behavior. Sometimes he just likes to try and intimidate people to boost his own ego. It’s a wonder this hasn’t rubbed off on [Student] yet – thank God for small favors. I for one appreciate your work with [Student]. He is clearly doing well with you… It sounds to me like he’s just making up stories, and we’ll be having a little chat with him when we get home.” *to her husband* “And YOU! Let’s go, mister. You’ve gotten yourself in the doghouse again.”

(Mom stood up and marched out… with Dad following behind, head bowed. He never apologized, and their child is still one of my better students.)

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