Teachers Face Down Karen Parents

July 13, 2022 | Violet Newbury

Teachers Face Down Karen Parents

As if teachers didn’t have a hard enough time dealing with difficult students, dealing with their parents can be even worse. From overbearing helicopter parents to entitled ones who just make excuses, dealing with such types is enough to send any educator off the deep end. 

1. Negative Nelly

A parent once approached me with complaints about her child, a remarkably diligent student. The young girl was excelling, boasting grades upwards of 90% while consistently delivering in both class and at home. However, when I pointed out to her mother the dedication and effort evident in her work, the mother reacted in a way that took me by surprise. 

She asked abruptly, "So is she just buttering you up?" I assured her that was not the case and said, "She's just a great learner, aspiring to do well and succeed. Nonetheless, it wouldn't hurt if she brushed up a bit on her grammar". The mother, however, took off on this. 

Her rant was, “There you go. I knew something was not right. She’s useless. She can’t accomplish anything. She will flunk”. I immediately stepped in and affirmed her child was by no means on the track to failure but could use a little more focus on grammar.

The mother retorted, “She's always been such a letdown”. Her constant complaints about her wonderful child were almost too hard to believe. The mother’s grievances would occasionally find their way to me and each time, I found them harder to digest. Her child was an absolute delight to instruct. 

Whenever I could, I would encourage the child, reaffirming her efforts and reminding her how well she was performing. Although not entirely enough to counterbalance the negativity thrust upon her by her mother, the other teachers and I made every effort to ensure she never questioned her capability to succeed.

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2. Out Of This World

One day, I received a complaint from a parent because I decided to play a classical Persian flute music CD during class. I was teaching a World Languages and Cultures class, so to set the mood, I liked to play an array of music CDs from all over the world as the students walked into the room. 

However, this particular parent misunderstood my intentions. They assumed that by playing Persian music, I was expressing support for terrorists. They argued that I should "only teach American stuff".

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3. I Couldn’t Skirt The Issue

On the first day of school, a parent of a first-grade student walked into my room, evidently distressed. She told me her daughter had been subjected to unsuitable touching by a boy in the class, and she was disturbed that I did not intervene. I explained to her that it was the first time hearing about this incident.

I then listened as her child shared what transpired. The little girl told me she was bending over to drink water from the fountain when she felt her skirt being pulled. When she turned around, she saw a boy, who she did not recognize cause it was the first school day, letting go of it.

I assured the mother that I would handle the situation by discreetly pointing out the boy the following day and hearing his side of the story as well. However, the mother wasn't satisfied with my response, as she believed the boy's actions are already a red flag. 

I then tried to make her see the wider picture, saying, "He's only in grade one, there could be many reasons for a six-year-old possibly touching a skirt that might be entirely innocent. He may have been trying to determine the skirt's material, or perhaps he saw an insect. Until I know the full story, I can't presume his intention was malicious at such a young age," I added. 

Despite her reservations with my response, that was the end of our conversation. The following day, the girl helped me identify the boy in question. I spoke with him privately and learned that the girl had a polka-dot skirt over striped leggings. The boy was simply trying to determine if they were separate clothing items or a single one. 

I used this incident as an opportunity to enlighten him about boundaries, personal space, and what to do if he finds himself curious about someone's clothes in the future. This effectively resolved the issue.

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4. Slack-Off

Once, I had one student in my class who scored a D on their homework. When the parent found out, they reached out to me, complaining that I was unfairly targeting their child. They even admitted that the majority of answers their child provided were incorrect. Regardless, they felt that I should have been more lenient with my marking.

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5. Boy Vs. Girl

In the past, I tutored kindergarteners in phonics, which are basic reading skills. One day, a parent approached me after class. He was quite angry and demanded to understand why I had taught the er/ir/ur diphthong before teaching the oi/oy diphthong. His irritation stemmed from a peculiar concern.

He did not want his child to be capable of reading the word "girl" before "boy". He maintained that "boy" should take precedence as it was more commonly used. He reasoned that teaching less-used words before the more popular ones would obstruct the reading pace of children. 

In retrospect, it was somewhat remarkable how he managed to back up his somewhat silly point with so many reasons.

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6. Master Of None

A fellow educator at my school had an encounter with an overzealous parent that was simply off the charts from anything I had experienced in my eight years of teaching. It was hard to believe that someone could take things to this extreme. 

This mother was under the impression that each school and grade should conduct a vote for a "student leader". She believed her child was destined to become a future United States president, and therefore his primary school education should correlate with this destiny.

She wanted her child to be chosen as the "leader of his grade" by his peers, assigning tasks to his classmates. This all seemed a bit much considering her son was just a five-year-old who had skipped kindergarten at the mother's insistence, despite standard assessments determining his readiness was at kindergarten level. 

She was relentless, compelling her son's teacher to arrange monthly presentations on complex subjects such as segregation and photosynthesis, which her son would deliver. On these presentation days, the mother would show up to record videos of the presentations that were evidently prepared by her. 

She would keep her son back in school three times a week to ensure his reading capabilities not only reached the basic expectations but soared to tenfold of what was typically expected. 

Eventually, she decided to leave the school district, taking her children in search of a private institution that would meet her crazy expectations.

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7. They Needed To Get In Dutch With Reality

Back when I was a teacher for the 10th grade in Holland, I got an unusual request for a meeting from a student's parents during a parents-teachers night. Though I didn't serve as this young man's form teacher, he was one of my students. This particular student was a curious case. 

He was always nervous, socially awkward, and prone to fights. Despite these shortcomings, his good looks earned him a free pass for his behavior and a place among the popular kids. Being an adult, I could sense that something wasn't quite right. His parents showed up for our meeting around 9 PM. 

They sat down opposite me, clearly unhappy. I recall being puzzled when they slammed a book report on the table and questioned, "Why did our son receive a 7 for this assignment?" Considering the grading system in Holland scales from 1–10, I was taken aback by their indignation. 

To be honest, I had assessed that specific report a month prior and was baffled by their complaint. They, however, seemed well-prepared for their debate, pulling the report apart, paragraph by paragraph. I attempted to explain to them that their son was currently studying at the VMBO level, or the second of five secondary education levels available in Holland.

I assured them that their son had done a commendable job considering his academic level, and they should be proud of him. Despite this clarification, along with explaining the grading system and the equivalent criteria for passing, they persisted in their anger. 

They even had the audacity to instruct me on how to do my job, proposing I should chastise their son with a 4 out of 10 the next time he submitted a similar report. By 9:30 PM, I was eager to finish the conversation, so I agreed to involve them in the grading of his next assignment. The following day, I sought out their son. 

We talked and connected over the incident, and while maintaining a professional demeanor, I let him know his parents were being unreasonable. It was a relief seeing tension release from his body after our conversation. I also made sure to alert the school psychologist about the family's dynamic.

So, that was a typical day of 10th grade in Holland.

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8. A Waste Of Space

I once had a student who didn't use his classroom seat appropriately. He came off as indolent, cunning, and overconfident. His mother, a single parent, didn't seem like the most cooperative person based on our initial interactions. By the end of the first grading quarter, I had so many emails from her that I had to create a separate folder in my inbox. 

Interestingly, even with her hyper-involved parenting, there was no positive change in her son's performance. She often promised me that they would prepare together for upcoming tests over the weekends. Yet, when Tuesday's test day rolled around, her son would enter the classroom totally clueless about the scheduled test, and inevitably, perform poorly. 

It came as no surprise that he did not pass the first grading quarter. His mother's response was aggressive. For the following six weeks, there wasn't a single day when I didn't receive either an email or a call from her. Eventually, right before the Thanksgiving holiday, I invited her for a conference. 

I introduced her to my failure log, a tracking system I had set up to monitor daily behaviors of students who were consistently problematic. I used the log to show her what her son had been up to in class. Despite clear evidence, she opted for denial and refused to believe the challenges her son was facing. 

Eventually, she decided to move him to another class, which didn't make any difference in his performance. Throughout his first year in ninth grade, he cycled through four different English teachers.

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9. The Proof Was In The Puddin’

In my role as a school guidance counselor, we often dealt with curious incidents. One notable occasion included a livid parent repeatedly contacting us, alleging that we were the reason her son was gay. Intriguingly, her son had quite the reputation among the school's female students. 

Their complaints stopped abruptly when we received the news that he had impregnated a fellow student.

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10. O Holy Nightmare

You wouldn't believe what I've been through with an overbearing stage mother. This parent threatened to remove her daughter from our school unless she was assigned the lead role, singing "O Holy Night" in the Christmas concert. 

Her daughter, however, acknowledged both to me, her teachers, and her fellow students that she knew she wasn't musically up to the task nor was she keen on doing it. It was all initiated by her mother, who was desperate to turn her child into "the school star," regardless of the circumstances.

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11. Dealing With This Parent Was Ruff

I spent some time working at a Catholic school located in the heart of the city. Many of my students were dealing with intense learning struggles. Their parents often took on additional jobs to cover Catholic school expenses because they were unwilling to expose their children to the dangers of the local public school. 

Unfortunately, these Catholic schools did not have in-house special needs teachers who could provide the kind of assistance their children required. To manage my students with serious ADD/ADHD, I implemented a rule allowing them to exit the room and walk around for a few minutes to discharge some energy when they became too disruptive. 

This approach worked wonders and significantly reduced class interruptions. However, there was this one time when I had to contact a student's home because she consistently used her phone in class and talked back. The student's mother interpreted my "take a lap" suggestion as if I was calling her daughter a "dog". 

While defending myself, I explained that I did not mean any disrespect to the students. The phrase "take a lap" was used in the context of letting the students walk to a water fountain or restroom and come right back, not to insult them.

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12. Sit Down And Shut Up

Back in my high school teaching days, I used to shuffle the seating plan about once every semester. It kept my students alert, encouraged them to interact with different classmates, and put a damper on the chatty cliques that frequently formed. I got an earful every time I did this, with parents phoning me to say things like, "I can't believe you moved my child! He likes sitting with his friends!"

Meanwhile, their kid was chatting more than studying, so being separated from his friends was necessary. Then there were those who'd complain, "My daughter needs to be in the front row. If not, she won't concentrate and get straight As". 

My response in my head was something along the lines of, “Your kid is doing perfectly fine in the second row. She's focused and absorbing all the knowledge. The front row is reserved for my IEP students”. To top it off, there were the ones who'd comment, "You only moved him because you don't like him/you're biased/you're harsh". 

Honestly, it was just a seating switch for one class period. Unless there was a medical issue that demanded a specific seat, the kids would be just fine wherever I placed them.

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13. This Parent Was A Complete Idiot

In my physical science class, we were gearing up for a unit test. A month had passed since our previous quiz, so I handed out a two-sided revision worksheet to the students. I was scrutinizing the sheets for accuracy, but the main grading metric was completion. I intended to return these papers to the students as study guides. 

One sheet, however, lacked any responses on one side. The student who owned the incomplete paper had scribbled down their name on the empty side, indicating they saw the task but chose not to complete it. I decided to grade the work with a 50%—as it was half-done, this seemed fair to me. 

However, it didn't go down too well. The student's parent was upset and voiced their disappointment—not to me, but to other teachers in the same grade level. In their view, it was absolutely unjust for me to grade a 10-year-old's work based on completion. They argued that none of the other teachers were this harsh, implying that I was being unfair.

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14. Hard To Handle Nonsense

When I was working abroad in an American school, there was this parent of a fifth-grade student who believed that her son's academics were too easy. So, I decided to increase the intensity of their assignments, pushing them slightly more than before. 

As a result, the child's grades dipped slightly. At our following meeting, the same mother raised issues, now saying that I was pressing her child too hard. Seems like I was caught in a no-win situation.

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15. Not In Your Wildest Dreams Lady

I was in the middle of planning a graduation dinner when a mother waltzed in, insisting her daughter should perform her music. I told her that the graduating class had chosen a different performer, not her daughter. This only angered her more. 

She clarified that she wasn't referring to her graduating daughter, but her other daughter who had completed her studies years prior and was now pursuing a music career. Taken aback, I chuckled and told her in the most professional manner that it was highly unlikely. 

Just a few days later, she buzzed the banquet hall, attempting to change all the meals to kosher along with other alterations. She was indeed quite the character.

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16. I Swear She Was A Kook

A parent came by to express their concern about their kid, who is 16, hearing someone utter profanities. This sounded a bit strange at first, but if someone, especially a staff member, used inappropriate language towards a student, it's unacceptable. So, I asked the parent, "Did a teacher or another school employee say it?" She said, "No".

I wondered, "Ah, was it one of the other students then?" Yet, they denied that as well. Out of curiosity, I asked, "So, was it someone else in school? Did it occur within the school premises?" They mentioned it did not. My quest for answers didn't end there. 

"Was it during school timings?" Interestingly, again, the parent said no. I then reiterated, "Are you telling me your kid heard someone using foul language outside the school premises and working hours, and that individual is in no way associated with our school?"

Their response was, “Yes, I'd like to know what measures you'll be taking regarding this!"

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17. Don’t Mind Me

A young man strolled into the lecture room and nonchalantly claimed his seat, slouching back. He didn't seem much bothered. Shortly after, another joined him—a middle-aged woman who took the seat next to his. This wasn't surprising or unusual around here, college had always been a melting pot of ages and life stages. 

Usually, nobody bothered with taking attendance, but being the first day of an introductory course, the professor wanted to confirm that everyone who was supposed to attend did indeed show up. The woman had a notebook at the ready, but she wasn't on the class register, and she wasn't on the waiting list either. 

Puzzled, the professor asked her if she'd missed the waitlist announcement, but she just shrugged it off, "No, don't worry about me". The professor decided to probe further, "Why not? Why are you here then?" Her answer left us utterly flabbergasted: "I'm here to take notes for my son. Like I said, don't worry about me".

The professor stood still for a moment, shock written all over his face. He managed to stammer, "But maam, this is college". The woman simply nodded and replied, "Indeed, but taking notes is tough for him". 

The professor then questioned if the son had an Individualized Education Program (IEP), mentioning there was a dedicated program for such students. But the woman again dismissed his concerns: "No, I told you, don't worry". Not willing to back down, the professor retorted, "Well, I am worried. You must pay tuition to be in this class". 

But the woman wouldn't budge, "I'm not here to learn, just to make notes". The professor was visibly taken aback. Determined, he pointed to the exit and retorted, "No. You must leave. This isn't middle school, and your son should be able to take his own notes. Without tuition, you cannot stay. Please, exit".

To this, the audacious woman countered, "I'll be sure to voice my displeasure to the head of your department!" The professor, unshaken and with a triumphant smirk, served her his trump card, "I am the department head; now, if you please, leave".

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18. Understanding Limits

One afternoon, a mother walked into our meeting room. Both the chemistry teacher and I had decided, in the best interest of her autistic son, to recommend him to our special needs program. This program was run by two excellent teachers known for their skill in helping children who might struggle to keep up with the speed of other students. 

However, the mother was upset because we didn't continuously slow down our entire class to ensure her son would grasp certain topics. Allowing him to fall behind like this was partly due to previous concessions made solely to soothe her concerns. 

Regrettably, this meant her son was in the 8th grade without having a basic understanding of mathematical operations like division or subtraction. She harbored dreams of her son enjoying a "normal" life alongside his peers, but he showed little desire to socialise with them. 

Any attempts to gently clarify things often resulted in his frustration and anger. We were fully aware of how challenging every day could be for him—my own experiences included being on the receiving end of his outbursts far too many times.

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19. Fired Up On The Home Front

I once found myself in a parent-teacher conference. The mother in question expressed worries about her daughter's academic performance. Her concerns were valid; the girl was not passing. However, I clarified to her that I believed her daughter had the potential to pass, but it would require more effort on her part outside of school. 

She hadn't been doing any homework, which is a big no-no. After sharing my thoughts, I spent the remainder of the meeting listening to her rant about how it was not my place to tell her how to allocate time at home. She then advised me to dedicate more of my teaching time to her struggling daughter, at the expense of the other students. 

Graciously, I explained that such a move wouldn't be equitable for the rest of my class. In response, the woman caused a scene in the hallway. Raising her voice, she yelled, "YOU'RE THE WORST TEACHER EVER! I'M TAKING THIS TO THE PRINCIPAL, YOU'RE GOING TO BE FIRED".

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20. Missed Photo Op

I received a complaint from a parent who was upset that their child wasn't included in a group photo from a recent field trip. Unfortunately, the child wasn't present at school on the day of the trip. The parent misconstrued the situation, suggesting I deliberately excluded their child from the picture due to a personal dislike. 

The parent reasoned that their child must have been present as he brought home a sticker from the place we visited on the field trip. To clarify, I had made a special effort to procure a sticker for the child, even though he was absent from the trip.

To settle the issue, I suggested that the parent could verify their child's absence by reviewing my attendance book, where it was clearly stated that his preschooler was not at school that day.

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21. She Had Some Hang Up

Once during a class I was teaching, a mom casually phoned her daughter just to "touch base". Seeing the distraction, I reluctantly confiscated the student's phone mid-call and attempted to express to the mother the significance of not disturbing her daughter's learning process just to exchange pleasantries. 

I concluded the call and held onto the phone until class was over. The student was clearly embarrassed, and I never glimpsed the phone in class again. In response, the principal commended me. The mother, on the other hand, steadfastly ignored all subsequent attempts I made to discuss her child's academic progress for the remainder of the term.

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22. She Missed The Point

There was a student who didn't attend around 30 lessons. I had to fail her in a class where participation was crucial. Her mother got upset about it. Both the department head and I warned the girl during midterm evaluations that if she missed even a single additional class, passing would be impossible. But she didn't attend the next three sessions. 

The mother decided to voice her complaints to my department head once the semester ended. The department head explained that the girl had been absent way too often. It was obvious why she didn't pass; not only did she lose points for not participating, but she also missed out on many key assignments simply because she wasn't present. 

The issue should have been resolved there—but the mother threw a fit. She even stormed into an exam session I was supervising to try and discuss it with me. I asked them to leave, right away. After that, they took their issue to the Dean, and since then, I haven't heard anything from them.

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23. Bad Parenting

My mother worked as a kindergarten teacher. One time, a particular kid caused quite a commotion, tearing down the works of another student off the wall and yelling at the teachers. In response, my mom reprimanded him and escorted him to the principal's office. There, she explained that his actions were unacceptable and unfair to his classmates. 

Surprisingly, the following day, my mother was summoned to the principal's office. You see, the boy's parents had shown up to complain about my mother. They claimed she overreacted to their son's misbehavior and had "humiliated" him. However, things took a surprising turn when the principal disagreed with the parents. 

Instead, they were asked to leave and my mom was backed up. Everyone thought it was quite a scene when the parents were practically chucked off the school grounds. 

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24. The Shrill Of Defeat

I used to be employed at a computer store in my town, positioned less than half a mile from the local school. Occasionally, we'd receive inquiries from the school's IT specialist that were a touch complex or simply beyond his knowledge. As a result, my boss and I—the store's only employees—became regular stand-ins for him at the school.

We were familiar to the school board and administration, and I even forged a close bond with the school's solitary custodian, despite the campus hosting over a thousand students. Once while substituting for the tech specialist, I received a call from a furious mother about her child. 

I was intrigued, until the principal rushed in, motioning for me to terminate the call immediately. I continued listening nonetheless. It seemed her son had scored a disappointing 79 in a test, and she wished for him to retake it. 

Even though this school was pretty flexible, I knew from personal experience (having attended the same school) that this was a state examination, non-negotiable. This did not pacify her. In fact, her voice hitched up several decibels as she bellowed into the phone. I was taken aback.

Even on the first volume level, her roar was so powerful that the principal heard it from nearly eight feet away. He leaned against the wall, both of us waiting for the ear-splitting shouting to end. Finally, it did, and I could hear her panting and wheezing heavily on the other end. She'd definitely picked a fight with the wrong person.

I waited a beat before inquiring in a calm voice, "Would you like fries with that?" A string of obscenities erupted from the phone, followed by a deafening screech that caused irreversible damage to the phone speaker. Then, a click. The call was over. The principal and I shared the biggest laugh we'd ever had together.

His comment afterward was, "Thank God you don't work here, or I'd have to fire you". All that drama over a test score of 79.

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25. She Was In Permanent Vacation Mode

There was a pupil who had been absent for around 20 spread-out school days. During class one day, she entered the room, pressing me to provide the details of all the homework she'd missed. I asked her to visit again later, as I was in the middle of teaching the class. 

Less than an hour passed before I received an email, which was Carbon Copied (CC'd) to the principal, suggesting that the student and I had a poor relationship due to my behavior. The email went on to state that this was the reason for her failing grade. 

I was blamed for not maintaining a good classroom atmosphere and they insisted I should do more to assist her. In response, I composed a detailed reply, outlining the steps she could take to better understand the subject and reiterating my willingness to offer help. However, the student departed for a two-week holiday the very next day.

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26. This Parent Was A Reign Of Terror

I served as a teaching assistant for a class of sixth-grade students studying world history. When we reached the unit about Africa, the students were tasked with a brief research assignment and presentation on a topic they could choose themselves. 

One student decided on the Umayyad Caliphate, a subject recommended by the teacher. The next day, the student's mom stormed in, furiously accusing the teacher of indoctrinating her son into radical ideologies.

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27. This Parent Was Not Very Accommodating

I once had a student whose accommodation plan required that their parent be notified directly each time they received a grade lower than a C. However, I declined this request since I was teaching almost 200 students, with droves of graded assignments, quizzes, and activities handed out daily. 

My school district already had a handy web service in place, enabling parents to review their child's grades at their convenience. Moreover, this useful tool offered features such as daily grade updates sent to parents via email, and specific alerts activated when a student's grade dropped below a value pre-determined by the parent. 

Despite these available resources, this particular parent was unsatisfied and lodged numerous complaints to their child's ESE representative. The student's accommodation plan stretched to over two pages. It was laughable.

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28. A Smile Was Worth A Thousand Words

Normally, I give homework that's essentially for practice since I don't like to overwhelm my students. However, I decided to challenge one of my high-achieving students with some tougher assignments, just to test him a bit. Along with it, I attached a sticky note with a smiley face and a little message saying, "Michael might need some help with this".

The next day, his father came into the school, and his reaction took me by surprise. He angrily tossed the note onto the principal's desk, upset and thinking I was being smug with the smiley-face, implying that he wasn't assisting his son with his homework.

The principal was politely shocked at the father's reaction, and the man's wife came in later, rolling her eyes and apologizing for her husband's behavior. The principal allowed me to clarify what had actually happened and eventually, the angry father calmed down.

But seriously, all this fuss over a simple smiley face?

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29. Oh Captain, My Captain

I used to teach English as a Second Language (ELL) abroad, specifically, an advanced debate class for third-graders in a private English school. I recall an instance when I had to separate the class into two teams. There was a disagreement that arose between two students on one team about who should be the captain. 

I stepped in to mediate, making the decision myself to prevent further conflict. After that issue was resolved, the class continued smoothly, free of any additional commotion. When the lesson concluded, the students boarded the school bus to go home. To my surprise, the following day, I was summoned to the counseling room by my head teacher. 

Apparently, a parent had lodged a complaint against me. She reported that her son had been upset by something another student said on the bus ride home. The mother attributed the blame to me. She was under the impression that the child who upset her son was the same one he had argued with over the captaincy in my class. 

She was so upset about the situation that she even threatened to take action against the school. Naturally, this made me feel quite upset and disrespected. However, following a phone conversation between the head teacher and the parent, it was discovered that the student who had upset her son was not even in my class. 

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30. Toilet Trouble

Within a few days into the school year, it became obvious that a particular student didn't know how to use the restroom by herself—this was a kindergarten class. A friend of mine, who was in touch with the student's family, sought to address this. 

It later came to light that the kid had transitioned out of diapers just a few weeks before, and her parents had not taught her how to use the toilet as they didn't want to stress her out. Their belief was that she would let them know when she was ready to learn to use the restroom. 

They further proposed that a female staff member from the school should constantly be available to help their daughter in the bathroom and clean her up if she had an accident. The level of entitlement and sheer laziness displayed by these parents was astonishing.

My friend made it clear to the parents that if the child was incapable of using the toilet on her own, she wouldn't be allowed to continue in the school. Miraculously, within a week, the child was able to use the restroom independently.

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31. A Real Kick In The Pants

After school one day, an enraged parent phoned me, accusing me of "kicking" his sixth-grade child during our morning class. I was utterly puzzled as I had no recollection of anything like that. I hypothesized that maybe I had given the kid's shoe a gentle poke to help him regain concentration. 

However, the child had rushed home, gotten his parents worried and rallied their support. But that wasn't the end of it. The father barged into a meeting with the school administrator and myself, still irate. 

According to the student, I had aggressively and forcefully kicked him, but when the administrator quizzed him about it, his responses became twitchy and ambiguous.

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32. The Fall Guy

My mom landed a job at a brand new kindergarten located just across from our fresh, new apartment. It was so new that they had a bit of a staffing issue and teachers, such as my mom, were made to play double-duty. They were tasked with being both teachers and nuns, jumping from the classroom to the kitchen, either engaging with the kids or cleaning up after them. 

It was an overwhelming multitasking role and it seemed like it was only a matter of time before this juggling act would spark an incident. There was a day when the kids were all fired up to go for a little outdoor adventure. 

Amidst the hustle-bustle of putting on their outdoor gear, a few sneaky ones escaped past the wardrobe and managed to make their way to the other side of a staircase balcony. One particular kid was exceptionally restless. My mom barely made it in the nick of time to prevent this student from meeting disaster. 

As the day wound down, she spoke to the kid's mom about his antics. She warned the parent that if he continues these escapades, the school will be left with no choice but to expel him. The child's mother shocked us with her response, "Why should that be an issue? You are his teacher. It's your job to look after him, to guide him towards being a good person". 

She appeared indifferent to the fact that her child could fall and hurt himself, implying that it's the teachers', not parents', role to rear kids.

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33. Apathy Is Not A Virtue

I recently sent an email to a mother expressing various concerns about her adopted son. I saw issues with his effort, behavior, and the quality of his work—they were all falling short. In this email, I sent on a late Friday afternoon, I dedicated a whole paragraph to his recent omission of a significant assignment. 

I ended this section with the note that the student, when confronted, "did not have any regret or disappointment about not completing his assignment". For better or worse, the boy seemed unfazed by it, but I was careful to keep my words unaffected. What she emailed back to me took me by surprise. 

On her THIRD email over the course of that weekend, the mother responded, "I just want to reflect on your suggestion that he felt indifferent, or showed no remorse or sadness about not completing the assignment. That's an inappropriate remark. He's Native American, their bearing tends to be more stoic".

It was a long year, to say the least.

Horror Zoom Calls FactsShutterstock

34. This Parent Spelled Trouble

When I was a child, my mother worked as a teaching assistant. An incident occurred one day, where the mother of a student was greatly upset because her son had scored zero on his spelling test. She found it unbelievable, arguing that they had studied extensively using flashcards she had created, and spent an entire hour practicing.

The student's mother was strongly convinced that the actual reason behind her son's failing grade was a possibility of my mom being biased. Angered by her son's grade, this mother decided to take action. She went to the school to lodge a formal complaint against my mom. 

Interestingly, the complaint letter was riddled with misspelled words. Fuming, she thumped her son's test on the desk, insisting that his answers had been marked incorrectly. Ironically, this mother's spelling abilities were so poor, she wouldn't have been able to pass a third-grade spelling test herself. 

She had been unknowingly teaching her son incorrect spelling from the list of words he brought home to learn.

Booing Me FactsFlickr, Jesper Sehested

35. This Family Made Everyone Quiver

My cousin was part of an archery team that succeeded in reaching the national championship. Locally, there's a bank that champions our athletes by placing the top members of such teams on a billboard. As a result, people visiting our town would be welcomed by the faces of our triumphant archery competitors from the elementary, middle, and high school teams.

Unfortunately, a disagreeable reality was set into motion when the grandmother of a child, not chosen to feature on the billboard, insisted that if her grandson could not be showcased, then no one should. Regrettably, those in charge gave in, so none of the accomplished kids earned their spot on the billboard. 

This was particularly disheartening as these young archers had devoted months towards fundraising efforts to ensure everyone could participate in the nationals. However, the display of entitlement did not stop at the billboard incident. The mother of the child, backed by the uncompromising grandmother, made unreasonable demands. 

She insisted that the archery team should foot the bill for two hotel rooms for her family for the national events. This was despite the team's policy to cover the cost of only one room—strictly for the athlete. All other expenses are traditionally covered by the parents themselves.

Strangest Punishments FactsMax Pixel

36. There Was No Bending The Rules

During back-to-school night, one of the parents approached me, raising their voice quite a bit due to some classroom rules that their son was having difficulty coming to terms with. 

The rules weren't anything complicated—just basic behavior expectations such as raising your hand if you wanted to speak and keeping your hands to yourself. But this parent didn't consider these rules as important. So, she made the decision to withdraw her child from our school the very next day when I opted not to accede to her request.

After that, the principal approached me with an instruction. They advised that I stop asking the kids to maintain silence in the hallways as, in their opinion, they were too young to comprehend and adhere to this rule—these were first-graders, just to put this into perspective.

Ruined Wedding factsShutterstock

37. Sue Happy Hooligans

I was teaching in Korea and during a spelling test, two of my students wouldn't stop chatting. Given that we didn't have any spare desks, I asked them each to sit in separate corners and complete their exams on the floor. When the test was done, they went back to their usual seats. 

A few hours later, my boss informed me that one of the student's parents was upset and wished to discuss the matter with me. Even after waiting an extra hour at work, the parents didn't show up. So, my boss told me that I could head home. However, at around 10 PM, while having dinner with a friend, I received an unexpected text message from my superior. 

To my surprise, it stated that the parents of the student intended to sue me and I was instructed to call him at once. At about 10:30 PM, my boss fetched me, escorted me to the aggrieved parents' residence, and made me apologize without even offering me a chance to explain my side of the incident.

Despite this, the parents remained adamant about suing me. Later, I found myself in another strange predicament. Another student, who wasn't even in the disputed situation, wanted to sue me as well. The student happened to be the close friend of the initial litigant's child. 

His parents decided they wanted to take up legal action against me on the grounds that their child was "upset" because his friend had faced disciplinary action. Thankfully, none of this escalated any further. The Department of Education examined the CCTV recordings of my class and also observed me while I taught another class. 

They concluded that I was not at fault. The irony of this ordeal was that both parents, who were eager to sue me, were teachers themselves.

Lawyers of redditUnsplash

38. She Made Her Point

My inaugural task was getting signed approval forms returned to me for a little score of four points. If homework was late, my method was to deduct 20% on each delayed day. When a student handed in their form past the due date, I took off a point as a penalty. 

The next day, I received an email from her mother quibbling that a point reduction equated to 25% and not the stated 20%. Technically, she was accurate, but over the grand scheme of things, each grading period encompassed more than 2,000 points. The student, sensing her mother's overreaction, apologized on her behalf. But I assured her it was no bother.

Craziest School Stories FactsShutterstock

39. Dealing With A Double Standard

I used to teach pre-kindergarten, and like any educators in early childhood, I dealt with parents who were very much involved, sometimes about the tiniest issues, since it was their child's first time in a school setting. 

There was this particular parent who always had a tendency to do this, not realizing that they were missing the bigger picture. For a number of reasons, their child was using a behavior chart. The parent would often find something to contest on that chart, or sometimes, they would simply refuse to accept my explanations about entries they didn't agree with. 

This inevitably led to early morning consultations with me before the school day officially started. I remember there was one instance when this parent came rushing in all because her daughter had shared that she got accidentally hit by a classmate. The parent was upset, asking me, "Why wasn't I informed about this?" 

I reassured her that the situation was under control—that we addressed it immediately, apologies were made, and that the incident was completely unintentional, seeing as I was there when it transpired. It then became apparent what my next step was in addressing this concerned parent.

I reciprocated with a question of my own, "Did you read my note regarding the incident where your daughter was seen lying on top of a classmate and attempting to choke them during playtime?" Naturally, this obviously serious behavior was dismissed quite flippantly with, "Oh, she's just like that sometimes. Ha, ha, ha".

School Trips FactsShutterstock

40. Busted For A Bathroom Break

During a lockdown, I found myself in a disagreement with a parent because I couldn't permit their child to use the restroom. I was teaching in an increasingly uncertain neighborhood and we hadn't yet implemented new safety procedures to handle threats close to the school. 

At the time, our response was a complete lockdown, triggered by anything from a nearby store robbery to a car pursuit. Under these measures, we would secure all doors and windows, switch off the lights, suspend teaching, and gather students in one corner for safety. 

The child, however, reached out to her mother via text message, upset that she couldn't go to the bathroom. This led to the parent phoning my classroom, angry and ready to take the issue up with me and, subsequently, the principal.

Once I explained to her that we were in lockdown mode and that my priority was to ensure her child's safety, she became more understanding. It's important to note that I was teaching in a high school, so the child would certainly have had other chances to use the restroom, but had instead decided to waste her break time.

Signs From The Universe FactsShutterstock

41. She Couldn’t Take A Joke

I was in the process of rearranging the seats in my ninth-grade class, quipping at the students that I was keeping the mischief-makers within my line of sight at the front. I didn't think much about it. Only one girl was intentionally moved up front due to her incessant chattering with classmates, with the remainder simply ending up there by happenstance.

Surprisingly, a student from the first row became upset and left the room in tears, retreating to the restroom. By day's end, the girl's parent and my school principal were standing in my class, accusing me of grouping her child with the so-called "rule-breakers". 

The girl had apparently returned home distressed, questioning her mother with sobbing eyes, "Am I a terrible student?" Subsequently, I was asked to reassess her seat. Feeling slightly confused, I decided to place the girl in the farthest rear corner, surrounded by boys.


42. The Daily Grind

I once had a student in my 6th-grade class whose stepmother would reach out to me through email every single day. This boy was a great student, maintained an 'A' in my class, and had no behavior issues to speak of. Nevertheless, I had a collection of over 90 emails from her—most being totally unnecessary. 

I often wanted to ask, "AREN'T YOU COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR SON AT ALL?" as he could easily answer around 95% of her inquiries. 

Despite this, she would continue to flood my mailbox with emails seeking explanations for things like: "What prompted my son to be tardy for your class?", and "There's an assignment listed in the grade book marked 0/0, labeled as Extra Credit Bonus Points. Could you please clarify how this will impact his overall grade?"

Moreover, she had an unending habit of constantly monitoring his grades. It was truly astounding.

Speak to the Manager factsShutterstock

43. What A Pain!

I had a pupil whose mom was constantly asserting that he had a significant health problem. I'm not fond of accusing people of dishonesty, but it was clear she wasn't telling the truth. A prime illustration of this involved her assertion that her son suffered from extreme asthma. 

I bent over backwards for this child, ensuring immediate healthcare assistance anytime he mentioned chest discomfort. However, my doubt crept in when I saw him at break time, racing about wildly without a single complaint. Curiously, his chest discomfort seemed to coincide only with test durations or whenever it suited him. 

I never confronted him about it, simply because I didn't want to enter a debate. Another instance occurred during a science lesson about microscopes, and he assumed it was alright to dash around the room. In response, I sent him out and informed him he had failed science. 

Yet, at the conclusion of the school day, I reconsidered and assigned him to read a chapter from the science textbook and write a summary as homework. The following day, he returned with an intricate 3-D model of the chapter, and his summary was written in pen with neat handwriting more akin to a grown woman's rather than a fourth-grader boy's.

When I asked him to explain the chapter to me, he faltered, so I decided to contact his mom. She insisted that he had dedicated hours to this project with her as a witness. I confronted her and pointed out that he was unable to explain anything about the chapter. 

Unexpectedly, she confessed to assisting him and saw no issue with writing the summary or building the model on his behalf.

Teachers Take On Karen ParentsShutterstock

44. She Was Enough To Make My Systems Blow

Once, a parent showed up with their kid who was carrying a "WiFi/Cellphone Radiation Detector" gadget. For the initial five minutes of the lesson, she paraded around the classroom, her child following her closely. Finally, she indicated a spot for him to take a seat and approached me. 

Her question was whether I could talk to the building maintenance crew about the still-rather-high radiation readings.

Surrounded by Idiots FactsShutterstock

45. All Work No Play

I once guided some middle schoolers in my school for a rendition of Treasure Island. One afternoon, our regular rehearsal space was not available, so we migrated to a student’s home. This particular student's mother had offered to host us, despite the fact that there always seemed to be something unique about her, in the sense of her constant haste to fetch her daughter from rehearsals.

Their home was quite spacious, so it seemed ideal for rehearsing. Once there, the mother greeted us warmly, yet the daughter was shut away in her room. I suggested that she join us for rehearsal, but the mother encouraged us to start without her. I tried explaining the crucial role her daughter played in the play and the difficulty of rehearsing without her.

Her response was that her daughter was occupied and unable to participate. Eventually, following thirty minutes of waiting, the daughter emerged but her mother limited her availability to just 15 minutes before she should get back to her "work". The daughter protested, stating she had no work, but her mother dismissed her claim with a curiously passive-aggressive tone.

I chose to not interfere and commenced our rehearsal. Soon, I launched a video on my laptop to showcase to the students, only to be abruptly interrupted by the mother. She leapt towards me and shut my laptop, while yelling a stern, "No Media!" She then whisked away my laptop, prompting me to trail her and retrieve my device.

In her defense, she elaborated that they were a "no media" family and the exposure to it was considered harmful to her daughter. She informed me again about her daughter's need to resume her work, to which I negotiated an extra five minutes of her time. On returning to the group, the daughter expressed her annoyance at her mother's behavior. At that moment, the reality of their home life hit me.

It was revealed that the student wasn't allowed to watch TV, use computers, or listen to music via iPod. She was expected to focus on her studies and read books vetted by her parents. Given she was in the sixth grade, her workload was not immense, yet her mother ensured she reviewed her daily notes and often demanded her homework be redone as it was deemed inadequate.

When I raised concern over the excessive pressure on the daughter, I was dismissed from their home rather abruptly.

Cranky Customers FactsShutterstock

46. An Arresting Development

My uncle served as a teacher for a quarter of a century in a rather reputable school. During his tenure, he taught various grades, including a period where he was instructing sixth graders. In one of these classes, he had a student who was notorious for struggling academically. 

Such occurrences are not abnormal in educational settings, but this particular student had extreme difficulties in understanding lessons. On one occasion, while teaching a history unit and preparing to assign homework to the class, this student stood up and voiced his barely-concealed disdain for history in a boisterous manner, berating my uncle for even attempting to teach such a subject. 

Predictably, this resulted in the student being reprimanded and sent to the office for displaying disrespect towards a teacher. Once in the office, he broke down, shedding tears and attempting to save face by crafting a make-believe narrative in which my uncle insulted him by calling him an idiot. 

His response, according to his own claim, was an assertion along the lines of, "I am not a nuisance". This chain of events eventually resulted in him demanding to contact his parents. The headmaster consented to his demands, and meanwhile, my uncle was also summoned to the office to provide his side of the story. 

Hardly five minutes had passed after my uncle finished detailing the incident when the boy's parents barged in, leading to an utterly remarkable scene. His father, the town's chief officer, attempted to reprimand my uncle on the spot, while his mother—a close associate of the mayor—unleashed her fury at my uncle, practically spitting in his face as she yelled. 

As this unfolded, their son watched, grinning and chuckling gleefully as my uncle was led away by the chief. Given the numerous classmates who were witnesses to the actual incident, the facts of the matter surfaced fairly quickly.

But far from offering apologies or trying to mend the damage, the father spun another tall tale, this time claiming that my uncle resisted arrest and even "struck" him while he was attempting to restrain him in the office. 

Undeterred by their crumbling credibility, both parents approached the headmistress after the incident, presenting her with a threatening ultimatum to agree with their fabricated narrative or they would make her life miserable. Shockingly, instead of admitting their error, they took this route. Eventually, their actions caught up with them. 

The father lost his job as the chief and the mother was delegated a desk job after her attempt to exploit her position in this fiasco became common knowledge.

Lydia Locke FactsShutterstock

47. It Was The Same Old Story

Practically every year, whichever book or topic I choose, there's bound to be at least one concerned parent who finds it unsuitable for various reasons. Recently, I had just completed a study module on the Holocaust. 

I'm not the type of teacher who wraps students in cotton wool, so we visited the museum, watched numerous documentaries, and read literature and first-hand accounts that didn't shy away from the truth. I was impressed by the students' mature reaction. After that, I started a module on The Hunger Games

Some parents are often uneasy about modern literature, so to allay their fears, I sent home a letter over the Christmas break outlining the book and my reasons for teaching it. I invited parents to reach out to me immediately if they had any concerns. As I received no responses, I commenced the module in February.

A few weeks in, a father approached me, voicing his concern that the book was too graphic for his two sons, both of whom were in my classes. I responded, "Okay, but remember we just explored the Holocaust, which was far more violent in reality". He retorted, "Well, that's OK because it really happened". 

Ironically, I later spotted one of his sons engrossed in the sequels during free reading time later in the year.

The Hunger GamesFlickr, Mike Mozart

48. Second Grade Struggle

Once there was a mother, upset because we wouldn't let her second-grade son attend the class he desired. For the beginning months of the year, her son kept going to the kindergarten classroom every day, despite our school having just one class for each grade.

There weren't any developmental reasons for him to still be in the kindergarten class; he simply preferred the toys there. But that's not what concerned us most. The boy had begun to belittle the younger students, making fun of them because he was older and, in his view, smarter. He'd even resort to hitting those he labeled as "stupid". 

We alerted his mother, explaining the situation and stressing the need for her support in this transition. Yet, she thought our actions were merely to keep her child from being happy at school. Eventually, we succeeded in moving him to his rightful class. 

Unfortunately, his problematic behaviors—hitting, swearing, making a mess, deliberately being disruptive, showing disrespect, and generally acting inappropriately—didn't cease. And the mother continued to believe that we were targeting her child out of meanness.

Students Getting Expelled factsShutterstock

49. Things Got Pretty Heated

Once, a parent argued with us, upset because we'd sent her child home due to a fever of 101 degrees and vomiting in the school cafeteria. Her complaints reached an extreme point. She was convinced all cafeteria witnesses were dishonest about the vomiting episode and believed her child's high fever resulted from him wearing a sweater.

For context, this mother wasn't distressed due to being interrupted at a job; she was a full-time, stay-at-home mom. In fact, she was home when the school nurse reached out to her on her home phone.

Entitled peopleShutterstock

50. A Little Too Late

In my experience as a kindergarten teacher at a less affluent school, it was a common occurrence for students to join the class late into the school year. I'm not quite sure why this was a prevalent pattern, but that seemed to be the norm. The school year kicked off in late August, and I initially had 14 eager little learners. 

However, by the time we were midway through October, I had welcomed eight additional students, reaching a total number of 22. During the eighth week of the term, a parent decided to register her child. Rather intriguingly, she sent her teen daughter to accompany the young student to my class while we were in the midst of a carpet time activity. 

In response, I quickly organized a game for the rest of my students, greeted both the newcomer and her elder sister, and specifically instructed the teen to inform her mother that my door was always open. I made it clear that if she ever had any concerns or simply wanted to gain a feel for the atmosphere in our classroom, she was more than welcome to drop by and conduct an impromptu observation.

After orienting the new girl about where to keep her belongings, I directed her towards a free carpet spot. Considering that every student had their assigned seat and I was working with an expanded class, I managed to find a temporary spot for her towards the back.

Just as I resumed my teaching, I was interrupted by a knock on the door. To my unexpected astonishment, I was greeted by the mother of the new student who seemed quite furious. "Why is my daughter seated at the back of the room?", she demanded. 

Keeping my demeanor as professional as possible, I tried to clarify that this was merely a temporary seating arrangement. I explained that our seating plan always took into account the needs of the children and was subject to regular revisions. However, my assurances fell on deaf ears. 

She insisted that I relocate her child to the front of the class and make it a permanent spot—a request I was unwilling to comply with. After enduring an excessively lengthy argument, I eventually asked her to kindly allow me to return to my teaching duties but extended an invitation for her to reach out later if she was still dissatisfied with my handling of her daughter's needs.

Her response was to storm out, utter something unclear to the school office, and leave the premises. Subsequently, the Assistant Principal dropped by seeking explanation on what the fuss was about. Upon hearing my recount of the entire episode, his reaction was simply, "What exactly was she expecting, enrolling her kid late into the school year?"

Weirdest Thing ConfiscatedShutterstock


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