A parent received over 32,700 reactions on social media for her story about supporting her daughter’s decision to exclude another student, but her teacher was not happy with it.
A boy in class was giving OP’s daughter (12) and her female friends grief and making them feel uncomfortable during recess. OP encouraged her daughter to report it to her teacher so she could be made aware of the issue.
Group Activity Goes Wrong
One day, OP’s daughter had a group activity at school, and the students had to form groups of approximately 4-5 students.
The daughter formed a group of 5 with her friends, but the boy also asked if he could join. The girls from the group explained that the other groups had fewer people and to join them instead.
Excluding The Boy
OP’s daughter chose to exclude the boy from the group, saying that they didn’t want to work with him and that he should join another group.
The boy insisted on joining the group and said that they could not exclude him like that and it was against the classroom rules, but he was ignored.
The Teacher Was Unhappy
Subsequently, OP received an email from her daughter’s teacher, who wanted to speak with her.
The teacher informed OP that her daughter had excluded another child from school, which was a violation of classroom rules.
The teacher wanted OP to have a conversation with her daughter about it. OP had already heard the story from her daughter and noted that she was “fair but not unkind.
She Believed Her Daughter Was Right
She was grateful for her daughter’s honesty and didn’t believe she was in the wrong for what she did. Teaching her otherwise would be a “dangerous lesson.”
OP emailed the teacher back, expressing support for her daughter’s decision to exclude someone who was making them uncomfortable, and explained why she felt it was dangerous to teach young girls that they have to include everyone.
Be Kind But Say “No”
According to OP, it is dangerous teaching a girl to include everyone and be kind to all. Instead, it’s better to teach respect for someone’s decision when someone else says “no” and to leave the situation.
OP shared her personal experience of being raised with an inclusive mindset without any expectations. However, she eventually became a victim of men who exploited her difficulty in saying “no.”
Teacher Reaches Out
In response, the teacher asked OP to come in for a meeting with the principal. OP reached out to social media to ask if she was wrong for what she did.
Social Media Reacts to The Story
“You could point out that the boy didn’t ‘need’ to join their group as there were other incomplete groups. He ‘wanted’ to join that one that was already complete for the sole reason that your daughter was in the group,” one person said, receiving more than 56,200 “upvotes,” which was the most popular response.
“Ask them when and, more importantly, why his ‘want’ to be near your daughter superseded your daughter’s ‘need’ to feel safe from his unwanted advances and harassment.”
Bring Someone Else With You
“She is probably thinking that with her and the principal against you that you will go down easily and that the likely result is you apologizing to them,” one person stated. “I would use the words ‘bullying’ as well as ‘s**ual harassment.'”
“I would also not hesitate to use the words ‘legal action,’ ‘school board,’ ‘media,’ ‘victimization,’ etc. I would also insist upon making an audio recording of the meeting. If they protest, I would reschedule with an attorney present.”
Be Careful How You Frame It
“Don’t frame it as ‘this is not a lesson I feel comfortable with.’ Frame it as ‘my daughter has the right to refuse to associate with her harasser, and I’m surprised you haven’t done something to curb his behavior,'” one person said.
“What are you going to do to curb his behavior? Spike that ball into their court.”
How It Went
OP listened to the advice and decided to reach out to the other parents involved and coordinate a meeting with them present, as well as her husband.
At the meeting, they all presented a united front asking for training for the teachers on trauma-informed teaching methods, respect for boundaries, and addressing harassment in class or at recess.
Getting Everyone Involved
The teacher and principal apologized and agreed to look for resources on how to better navigate the balance between being inclusive and respecting boundaries. OP was glad she could bring everyone together, as she felt the meeting went great with all the involved parents present.
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What, in your opinion, was the right course of action to take? Was it right to exclude someone from a group?
The article Supporting Her Daughter’s Decision To Exclude Someone From The Group, But Now Teacher Wants to Talk was syndicated and produced by TPR Teaching. This article has been inspired by Reddit and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of TPR Teaching.
I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!
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