Parents Have Beef With Teachers

, , , , , | Learning | September 29, 2017

(I am a teacher. There is a very quiet but sweet-natured little girl in my class. She is no trouble at all to teach, but seems to be a little sheltered and clueless about a lot of very basic things, which has lead to her being picked on by other kids. Her mother, on the other hand, is something else entirely! At this point, she is going through an extremely bitter divorce with her ex-husband, and many of the teachers at the school loathe her. Despite presenting herself as a loving woman who cherishes “all living things,” she frequently resorts to threats of violence and intimidation to get what she wants. Last year, she tried to get a teacher fired for reading “The Ugly Duckling,” which she claimed promoted “bullying and narcissism.” Word around town is that social services have been investigating her behavior and are very concerned about the child’s well being. I have just taught a lesson on different foods and where they come from. The little girl is extremely quiet throughout, but nothing seems wrong. The next day at lunch, I get called into the headmaster’s office. My heart sinks when I see the mother standing there, looking like I just murdered her family.)

Mother: “THERE HE IS! THAT’S THE MAN WHO TRAUMATISED MY BABY!”

(The headmaster looks like he wants to be anywhere but here, but reluctantly pushes on.)

Headmaster: “[My Name], did you happen to teach a class about killing animals yesterday?”

(Unexpectedly, I giggle slightly at this, because it sounds absurd.)

Mother: “HOW DARE YOU TEACH MY CHILD HOW TO KILL AN INNOCENT ANIMAL?! YOU ARE A MONSTER!”

Me: “What on earth are you talking about? I said nothing like that.”

Mother: “LIAR! MY BABY WAS UP ALL NIGHT CRYING; SHE WAS HORRIFIED!”

Me: “Sorry, I’m really confused here.”

Headmaster: “Mrs. [Mother] claims that you taught her class how to kill animals and eat them; is this true?”

Me: “Not at all, [Headmaster]. All I did was give a class on food—”

Mother: *interrupting* “He told the children about killing a beautiful, defenseless animal! My daughter was too scared to come into school today because of what she learned.”

Headmaster: “Could you please let him explain?”

(Thankfully, the mother shuts up for a moment, and I am allowed to go on.)

Me: “All I did was explain where different foods come from, such as beef coming from cows, chicken coming from a chicken, and pork coming from pigs. I also explained how milk comes from cows and eggs from chickens, and how fruits come from the trees and vegetables are grown in the ground. I never once told the kids about any murder, or that it was right to kill animals for food. I just told them basic facts.”

Mother: “No child should learn about such horrible things! What kind of school do you think you’re running here?”

Headmaster: “Right; I’ve heard enough now! These are things even you learned in school, which you know for a fact are true. What was it that [My Name] said that upset your daughter so much?”

Mother: “My daughter is too young to know about animals being killed! Frankly, I think the two of you are terrible people for allowing this!”

Me: “Look. I understand where you are coming from here, but these are basic facts your daughter has to learn. She already has enough trouble with the other kids, and I’ve had to talk to several parents already about the other students who pick on her! When she goes to high school, she will learn about history, including violent topics like World War I and World War II. If she goes to [Local Catholic School], she will have to learn about different religious viewpoints, and some biblical stories that will be unsettling, or she might read English books with more mature themes in them. While I appreciate that you want her to grow up in an environment that is pure and untainted, I feel this approach is just setting her back.”

(For the next few minutes, the mother screamed at me and the headmaster that she was “going to have our jobs” before storming out the room. Later that day, she turned up at the house of one of the members on the board of education and made a big scene about wanting us both fired. Apparently, after repeatedly being asked to leave, she only left when the woman threatened to call the cops! The next day, she pulled her child out of the school claiming she was going to homeschool her because this environment was “too provocative.” Tragically, a couple of weeks later, I heard that the mother was arrested for assaulting someone in a supermarket, and full custody was given to the father. A few years ago, I happened to see that little girl with her father and stepmother; she looked like a happy and normal teenage girl, so I’m glad there was a happy ending. We never heard about the mother again.)

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