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. Here Redditors share stories of their encounters with Karen-type parents that will make anyone pray for the school year to end.
1. Negative Nelly
I had a parent complain to me about her child who was doing really well. Her grades were over 90%, and she showed consistent effort in her classwork and homework. When I told the parent that her daughter put a lot of thought and effort into her work, her mom’s reaction left me stunned. She asked, “She sucks up to you”?
I told her, “No, she wants to do well and be successful. That being said, we'd like to improve her grammar a bit”. Then her mom went bananas. She said, “I knew it. She's stupid. She doesn't do anything. She will fail”. I reassured her that wasn’t the case and told her that her daughter just needed a little more rigor in that department.
The mom responded, “She's such a disappointment”. Every once in a while, I would get a complaint from her whining to me about her child. I couldn’t believe it. Her kid was a joy. I would always take care to affirm her efforts whenever possible and assure her that she was doing great. It may not offset the negativity her mother imposed on her, but the other teachers and I tried to make sure she didn’t doubt her ability to do well.
2. Out Of This World
I had a parent complain because I played a CD of classical Persian flute music one day in class. The class was World Languages and Cultures, so I played a different CD from around the world every day as the students came into class. This parent thought I was sympathizing with terrorists and should "only teach American stuff".
3. I Couldn’t Skirt The Issue
I had a first grader's parent come in after the first day of school, obviously very upset. She told me that her daughter was touched inappropriately by a boy, and I didn't do anything to help. I informed her that I was not told of the incident until that moment. I got the details from the daughter. Apparently, the daughter was bent over to get a drink at the water fountain, felt a tug on her skirt, and turned around to see a boy letting go of it.
She didn't know the boy's name since it was only the first day. I told the mom that I would have her secretly point the boy out tomorrow and that I'll talk to him to get his side of the story. I thought that was enough for her—but I was so wrong. She said to me, "What do you mean his side? He's a perv. That's the story". I told her, "Ma'am, he's in first grade. There are lots of reasons a six-year-old might touch a skirt that are completely innocent.
“He could've been trying to figure out the material. He might've seen a bug. Until I know exactly why I can't assume he was doing something with the intention to do harm. Not at age six". She wasn't happy to hear that, but that was pretty much the end of it. The next day, the girl let me know which boy it was. I talked to him privately.
The girl was wearing leggings, and her skirt was polka dot. The leggings were striped. He was trying to figure out if it was one whole unit or if the leggings were separate from the skirt. I talked to him about appropriate touching and what to do if he was ever curious about a girl's outfit again, and that was the end of it.
I had a student in my class who got a D on their homework assignment. The parent contacted me to complain, saying that I was picking on him. The parent even agreed that most of the answers that the student gave were wrong. Even though that was the case, they told me that I should have "cut him some slack".
5. Boy Vs. Girl
I used to teach phonics (basic reading skills) to kindergarten-aged kids. One parent came in after class, irate, and demanded to know why I had taught the er/ir/ur diphthong before the oi/oy diphthong. The reason why was infuriating. He didn't want his kid to be able to read the word "girl" before being able to read "boy".
He kept going on about how "boy" was just more important and common as a word. He told me that teaching kids less frequent words before more frequent ones would slow down their reading progress and was bad pedagogically, and so on. In hindsight, I was impressed that he managed to squeeze so many justifications into something so pointlessly stupid.
6. Master Of None
A colleague of mine at my school had the most helicopter parent I had seen in my eight years of education. I didn't think people this nuts existed. This mother felt that each school and grade level should vote for a child to be “master of their peers”. She felt that her kid would one day be the president of the United States and that their early elementary public education should reflect so.
She thought her kid should be voted upon to rule the rest of the grade level, delegating responsibilities to his peers. Her son had just turned five and had skipped kindergarten based upon parent request despite his kindergarten-level formative assessment levels. She forced her child's teacher to have him present PowerPoints each month on complicated issues such as segregation and photosynthesis.
She would come in on those days to videotape the presentations that were clearly done by her. She would keep him after school three times a week to make sure his reading points not only met what was expected but were ten times what was expected. She left the district with her children in search of a private school where a second grader could be voted as the “master of all grades K-6” to learn how to lead his peers.
7. They Needed To Get In Dutch With Reality
I used to teach 10th grade in Holland. On parent-teacher night, I had a request to meet the parents of a kid I taught. I wasn’t his form teacher, so it was kind of odd. This kid was always very nervous, would get into fights a lot, and was socially awkward. However, he was good-looking, so he would get away with everything and was considered one of the popular kids.
As a grown-up, though, I could see that something was seriously wrong. The parents walked in at about 9 PM and sat down, and I asked them why they wanted to see me. I had two of the angriest parents in front of me. They sat down, threw a book report on the table, and said, "So, why did you give our son a 7.3 for this report"?
The grades were on a scale of 1–10, so I was flabbergasted. I had graded that report a month ago and had no idea what they were talking about. They obviously came prepared, ripping the report apart paragraph by paragraph. I tried to explain to them that their son was only at the VMBO level. In Holland, we had five secondary education levels; he was at level 2.
I explained that by those standards, he did a great job, and they should be proud of him. They kept being angry with me, even after I explained the grading method and the SAT-equivalent requirements, which he clearly passed. They tried to tell me how to do my job and said to me that I should make an exception for him, and the next time he handed in a report like that, he should get a 4 out of 10.
It was almost 9.30 PM, and I wanted to go home, so I said, “ OK, We’ll discuss his next report together”. The next day, I looked the kid up, and we bonded. I had to keep a professional appearance, but I let him know his parents were idiots. I literally saw him relax his muscles after we talked. I also informed the school psychologist about this.
8. A Waste Of Space
I had a student who was a waste of a seat. He was lazy, manipulative, and arrogant. His mom was a single mom, and based on our first contact, it was pretty clear she was going to be a nightmare. By the end of the first nine weeks, I already had a folder in my email just for emails from her. Despite being a helicopter parent, her son never improved.
She would give me the standard, "We are going to study for the test on Tuesday over the weekend". Then, he would come in on Tuesday unaware that there was going to be a test and then fail it. Naturally, he failed the first nine weeks, and his mom went berserk. For the next six weeks, not a day went by that I didn't receive an email or phone call from her.
Finally, right before Thanksgiving, I had her come in for a meeting. I showed her my failures log. I kept a record of the day-to-day behavior of students who had chronic issues. I showed her what her son had been doing. She refused to believe it—just outright refused. After that, she transferred him out of my class and into another with the same results.
He had four English teachers during his first ninth-grade year.
9. The Proof Was In The Puddin’
I was an assistant school counselor. We had a furious parent call us several times and accuse us of turning her son gay. Meanwhile, her son was cutting a swath through the school's entire female population. Their calls came to an abrupt halt after he managed to get a classmate pregnant.
10. O Holy Nightmare
I had to deal with the worst stage mom ever. One mother threatened to yank her daughter out of the school if the student was not given the starring role in the Christmas concert to sing "O Holy Night". The girl had made it perfectly clear to me, the faculty, and her classmates that she realized she wasn't musically qualified for the part, nor did she want to do it.
It was entirely her mom, who was determined that her daughter should be "the star" of the school, no matter what.
11. Dealing With This Parent Was Ruff
I worked at an inner-city Catholic school where most of my students had some serious learning disabilities. Their parents would get second jobs to pay for Catholic school because they didn’t want their kids in the dangerous public school. However, the Catholic schools didn’t have a special needs teacher that could really help them.
For my students who had severe ADD/ADHD, I had a rule that if they were acting up too much, they could leave the room and “take a lap” for a couple of minutes to get some energy out. This had been incredibly helpful and caused far fewer distractions in class. One day, I had to call home about a student who was constantly on her phone and talking back.
The mother then proceeded to tell me that I called her daughter a “dog” by saying some students could take a lap and that I was bigoted for describing my students as dogs. I never said the word “dog”. When I told the kids "take a lap", I meant to walk to the water fountain/bathroom, then come back.
12. Sit Down And Shut Up
When I taught high school, I moved seating arrangements about once a semester. It would keep the kids on their toes, force them to work with other students, and would break up some of the talky groups we tended to get. Every time it happened, I got calls about, "How dare you move my baby! He wants to sit next to his friends"!
Meanwhile, their child did more talking than work, so they needed to be away from their friends. Others would say, "My little girl needs to sit in the front row. Otherwise, she won't pay attention and get all As". I thought, “Your kid is fine in the second row. She's focused and learning. I need the front row for my IEP kids”.
Then others would pipe in, "You only moved him because you hate him/you're prejudiced/you're mean". As if it would really make me happy to move a child two seats to the right. Seriously, it was a seat change for one period. Unless there was a medical reason that dictated otherwise, the kids would be okay wherever I sat them.
13. This Parent Was A Complete Idiot
My class was about to take a unit test in physical science. It had been about a month since the last test, so I sent home a two-sided review sheet. I was checking them for correctness but grading for completeness. The plan was to hand them back out as a study guide. I noticed one paper that had no answers on one side of it.
The child had written their name at the top of the blank side, so they had seen it and just decided not to do it. I gave the child a 50% on the assignment since they had only done half, which I thought was pretty reasonable—but apparently, it wasn’t. The parent complained, but to the other teachers in the grade, not me.
It seems as if giving a 10-year-old a completeness grade based on the amount of work they did was entirely unreasonable. None of the other teachers were that mean, so it wasn't fair for me to be either.
14. Hard To Handle Nonsense
When I was teaching overseas at an American school, I had a parent of a fifth-grader who felt that her son wasn't being challenged enough. So, I ramped up their work and challenge level to a degree I thought they could handle. The student’s grades dropped a tiny bit. At the next conference, the same parent complained that I was being too tough on her child. There was no winning.
15. Not In Your Wildest Dreams Lady
I was organizing a graduation dinner. One mother came in and demanded her daughter perform her music. I informed her that the grad class had picked someone else other than her daughter. Then, she got even madder and corrected me that she was not talking about her daughter, who was graduating. She was talking about her other daughter, who had graduated years ago and was now trying to launch her music career.
I laughed and professionally informed her it would never happen. A couple of days later, she called the conference center and tried to make all the meals kosher and a bunch of other stuff. She was a wild lady.
16. I Swear She Was A Kook
A parent came in to tell me that their child had heard someone using swear words. The child was 16 years old. I thought it was odd, but if a student, or worse, a teacher, had sworn at him, it's not good. So I asked the parent, "Was it a teacher or someone else at the school"? They said no, so I asked, "Ah, it was a fellow student then"? Again, they said no.
I then asked, "So it was someone else in school? Did it happen on the school campus"? They said it did not. I continued trying to get to the bottom of it. "During school hours"? The parent again said, “No”. I said to them, "So you're saying your child heard someone swearing outside of school grounds and outside of school hours, and that person had no connection to the school"?
They replied, “Yes, I want to know what you're going to do about it”!
17. Don’t Mind Me
A student came in and sat in their chair, leaning back, taking that standard “don't care” posture, while another woman in her mid-50s came in and sat next to him. No one took any notice because it was college, and everyone could attend at different times in their lives. Usually, attendance wasn’t taken, but it was the first day of a 101 class, so the professor wanted to make sure everyone who was supposed to be there was.
The woman had a notebook out but wasn’t on the class roster, nor was she someone who was waitlisted. The professor asked her if she missed the waitlist announcement, to which she replied, "No, Don't mind me". The professor frowned and asked, "Why not? What are you doing here"? Her answer blew our minds. The woman replied, "Taking notes for my son. Like I said, don't mind me".
The professor stood there stunned. He stated, "Lady, he is in college". The woman nodded and replied, "Yes, but notes are hard for him". The professor asked, "Does he have an IEP? If so, we have a program for that". The woman said, “No. Like I said, Don’t mind me". The professor told her, "I do mind. You have to pay to be in this class".
The woman persisted, "I’m not learning anything. Just taking notes". The professor was left dumbfounded by that. He pointed her to the exit and said, "No. You’re gonna leave the classroom because your son isn’t 12 anymore and can darn well take his own notes. You didn't pay for classes, so you're not allowed to be here. Goodbye"!
The woman had the nerve to say, "Well! I will complain to the head of your department". But the professor still had one more trick up his sleeve. The professor told her in no uncertain terms, "I am the head; now leave".
18. Understanding Limits
A mother came into the teacher's room one afternoon because both the chemistry teacher and I agreed to send her autistic son to the special needs class, where they had two fabulous teachers who worked WONDERS with children who couldn’t follow the pace of other kids. The parent was angry because we couldn't keep stopping the entire class so her boy could understand some subjects.
He couldn't understand them because he had been passed in previous years just to appease her. Unfortunately, the student couldn't even divide or subtract in the 8th grade. She wanted him to have a "normal" life with other kids, but he had no interest in interacting with any other boys. He would also get angry when we tried to explain things to him calmly.
We knew how hard it was for him, and I had been yelled at and scratched by him several times.
19. Fired Up On The Home Front
I was at a parent-teacher interview. A mother came in and said that she was concerned that her daughter was failing. I explained to her that although I thought her daughter was capable of passing, she would have to put in more work at home. She hadn't completed any homework assignments. Big mistake. I then spent the rest of the interview listening to her rant about how I wasn't allowed to suggest what she should spend her home time on.
She told me how I should focus on teaching her daughter more than the rest of the class during lessons just because she was struggling. I politely explained that I couldn't do that because that wouldn't be fair to the rest of the class. The mother then stood up in the middle of the hall and yelled, "YOU ARE THE WORST TEACHER EVER! I'M GOING TO THE PRINCIPAL, AND YOU WILL BE FIRED".
20. Missed Photo Op
I had a parent complain that their child wasn't in a group picture from a field trip. Their child wasn't at school on that day. She inferred that I clearly didn't like their child and made him sit out of the picture. The parent insisted that his child was there because he got a sticker from the place we visited. The kid had received a sticker because I went out of my way to get him one since he wasn't on the field trip.
I told him that he could take a look at my attendance book to prove that he didn't send his preschooler to school that day.
21. She Had Some Hang Up
A parent once called her daughter in the middle of my class to just "check in". She then contacted my principal after I took the girl’s phone away mid-conversation and dared to speak with her about the importance of not interrupting her daughter's learning time just to say "Hi". I then hung up and kept the phone until the end of the period.
The girl was mortified, and I never saw the phone again. As a result, the principal shook my hand, and the parent refused to respond to any of my contacts about her kid's progress for the rest of the semester.
22. She Missed The Point
I had a student miss about 30 classes. The mother was angry that I failed her daughter in a participation-based class. My chair and I both warned the girl at midterms that she wouldn't pass if she missed even one more day. She didn't show up to the following three classes. The mother went to my chair at the end of the semester to complain.
The chair said she missed too many days. It was very clear why she failed, as not only did she lose participation points, but she missed a ton of class assignments that she wasn't there for. It should’ve ended there—but she wasn’t done with her tantrum yet. Then, they proceeded to walk into an exam I was proctoring to try to confront me about it.
I just told them they needed to leave. They went to the Dean, and I didn't hear a word from either one of them after that.
23. Bad Parenting
My mom taught kindergarten-aged kids. One day, this kid went on a little rampage and was ripping another kid’s work off the walls and shouting at the teachers. My mom told him off and took him to the headteacher’s office and told him that what he did was wrong and not nice to the other kids. The next day my mom was called to the headteacher’s office.
The kid’s parents had come in to complain about my mom because apparently, she had “embarrassed” their son and made a big deal out of nothing. Luckily, the headteacher basically told the parents to take a hike and defended my mom. They were pretty much laughed off the premises! It serves them right for being bad parents.
24. The Shrill Of Defeat
I worked for a local computer shop. We were located less than a half-mile drive from the school in the center of my city. Every once in a while, we would get a call from the tech support guy there with a semi-advanced question or simply something he didn’t know. The school became acquainted with us well enough that either me or my boss—the only two who worked there—would sometimes be called in as sort of subs for their tech guy.
The board knew us, the administration knew us, and I became really close friends with the SINGLE janitor this entire high school of more than a thousand kids had. I was substituting for their tech and got a call from an irate mother about her child. I was really curious at first, but then the principal came in and signaled for me to hang up NOW.
However, I kept listening. Apparently, her kid got a 79 on a test, and she wanted him to retake it. As lenient as this school was, it was a state exam, and I knew that because I had gone to this school. My explanation didn't appease her in the slightest. She began screaming in the most high-pitched voice she could. I sat there, shocked.
I had my phone volume at one, and the principal was able to hear it from a good eight feet away. The principal leaned up against the wall, and at this point, we were waiting for her to stop screaming. It suddenly ended, and I could hear that she was out of breath on the other end. She was panting like a dog but wheezing like a pig getting slaughtered. Well, she’d messed with the wrong person.
I gave a good ten-second pause and asked, "Would you like fries with that"? A foul word came out of the phone, and she screeched. There was no annunciation, no vague dictation, just a loud, piercing screech that permanently damaged the phone’s speaker. Then a click. The principal and I never laughed harder in our lives.
He said, "Thank God you don't work here, or I'd have to fire you". All that fuss because the kid got a 79.
25. She Was In Permanent Vacation Mode
A student had missed about 20 non-consecutive days of school. She walked into the classroom to demand that I tell her all the homework she had missed while I was teaching the class. I told her to come back later. Not even an hour later, I got an email that was CC'd to me and sent to the principal complaining that the student and I weren’t getting along because of my behavior.
They claimed that was the reason she was failing. They accused me of not having a good classroom demeanor and demanded that I do more to help her. I sent a lengthy email back explaining all the things she could do to better learn the subject and how I would be willing to help. The kid left for a two-week vacation the next day.
26. This Parent Was A Reign Of Terror
I was a teacher’s assistant for a sixth-grade world history class. When we got to the segment on Africa, the kids were assigned a short research project and presentation on a topic of their choice. One picked the Umayyad Caliphate, which was on a list of recommendations from the teacher. His mom came in the next day screaming about how the teacher was brainwashing her son to be a radical.
27. This Parent Was Not Very Accommodating
I had a student who had written into his accommodations for the parent to be contacted directly every time he scored a grade less than a C. I refused to do so since I taught nearly 200 students in a course where I gave some sort of graded assignment, quizzes, and activities every single day. My school district already had a web service for parents to check their children's grades.
Not only that, but it could email you their grades daily as well as email you whenever your child had a grade below a specific value set by the parent. This parent had complained enough to their child's ESE representative; they had over two full pages of accommodations for their child. They really weren't interested in having their child learn as much as they were interested in creating an accommodation plan so confusing that they could argue away anything their kid did as the school not following the plan.
28. A Smile Was Worth A Thousand Words
I usually gave homework that was basically practice because I didn’t like to overload my students. I sent one of my brighter students some difficult homework just to see how he would do. I put a sticky note with a smiley face on it that said, "Michael may need a little help on this one”. The dad came in the next day—I couldn’t believe his insane reaction.
He threw the note on the principal's desk. He was furious because the smiley-face was me being a smart aleck and saying that he didn't help his son with his homework. The principal was politely incredulous, and the guy's wife came in later, rolling her eyes and apologizing for him. My principal let me explain the situation, and he chilled out.
But still, a smart-aleck smiley face?
29. Oh Captain, My Captain
I was an ELL teacher overseas, and years ago, I taught an advanced debate class for third-graders at a private English academy. During the class, I split the students up into two teams. On one team, two students got into an argument about who the captain was. I went over to resolve the issue and picked the captain myself.
Things settled down, and the class went on without any further incidents. After the class ended, the students took the school bus home. The next day, I was called into the counseling room by my head teacher, informing me that one parent had a complaint against me. A student on the bus said something that upset the student who was in my class.
His mom believed it was my fault because she thought it was the other student who fought with her son about being captain. The mom actually threatened to sue the school over it, too. I was mad and felt insulted. After a phone call by my head teacher, the parent found out that it wasn't even a student in my class and realized it was a big misunderstanding.
30. Toilet Trouble
Within a few days of the school year, it became clear that one particular student had no idea how to use the toilet without assistance. This was a class of five to six-year-olds. My friend contacted the student's parents. Eventually, it came out that the child was only out of Pull-Ups a few weeks prior, and the parents hadn’t taught her how to use the toilet because they didn't want to put "pressure" on her.
They felt she would tell them whenever she felt ready to learn how to use the toilet. They even suggested that a female staff member be on permanent standby to assist their child in the bathroom and to clean her up whenever she soiled herself. The sense of entitlement and pure laziness these people had was unbelievable.
He told the parents that if the child was not potty trained, she was no longer welcome at the school. The child was able to use the toilet without assistance within a week.
31. A Real Kick In The Pants
One day after school, I had a furious parent call because I "kicked" his 6th-grade son during our class that morning. I had absolutely no memory of doing anything with my feet. My best guess was that I had nudged his shoe or something to get him to focus. The kid ran home and got his parents all upset and on his side. But it didn’t end there.
The dad came storming into a meeting with the administrator and me. The student claimed I reared back and booted him hard, but when asked directly by the administrator, he got extremely squirmy and vague.
32. The Fall Guy
My mom was working at a new kindergarten that had been built right in front of our new apartment. Because it was new, they lacked staff, and teachers had to work both as a teacher and as a nun, which meant that they either washed dishes or kept up with the kids. In the end, it was a matter of time before the overwhelming multitasking would become the cause of an incident.
The kids were preparing to go for a walk outside. While they were getting dressed to go out, some of them ran away from the cabinet and managed to climb to the other side of a stair balcony. One of them was super annoying. My mom barely made it in time before this annoying kid crashed. At the end of the day, she informed the kid’s mother about his behavior.
She told the parent that if he kept it up, the kindergarten would have to expel him. The student’s mom reacted by saying, "Why is that? You are the teacher. You are responsible for him. You must raise him to be a good boy". She didn’t care that her boy could fall and get injured and felt it was not up to parents to raise their kids.
33. Apathy Is Not A Virtue
I e-mailed a mom about a variety of concerns I had about her adopted son. His effort, behavior, and work quality were all very poor. In the Friday afternoon e-mail, I devoted an entire paragraph to his recent failure to complete a major assignment, ending with the observation that the student "did not express any regret or sadness in reporting that he had nothing to turn in".
In fact, the kid was pretty smug about it, but I was being measured in my language. I couldn’t believe what she wrote back to me. In her THIRD e-mail in a row over that weekend, the mom replied, "A quick comment regarding the suggestion that he felt nothing, no remorse, no sadness about not having done the assignment. This is an unacceptable comment. He is Native American, and they carry themselves differently, more stoically".
That was a very long year.
34. This Parent Spelled Trouble
My mom was a teaching assistant for a while when I was a kid. A student’s mom was irate because her son failed his spelling test. He got a zero, and the mom insisted that was impossible. She said that she had made flashcards, and they studied for an hour. The parent claimed that the real reason my mom failed her son was that she must be prejudiced.
The parent got so mad that she came down to the school to file a complaint against my mom, and almost every word was misspelled. She slammed his test on the desk, demanding that his answers were correct. The mom was spelling at a level that could not pass a third-grade spelling test. She was teaching her incorrect spelling to her son when he came home with a paper of the words to learn.
35. This Family Made Everyone Quiver
My cousin’s archery team made it to nationals. There was a local bank that would put some of the teams on a billboard, so people could see it when they came into town. Because the elementary, middle, and high school archery teams made it to nationals, they were going to take the top three athletes from each team and put them on the billboard.
However, one kid’s grandmother decided that since her kin wasn’t going to be on the billboard, no one would. Sadly for those kids, they listened to her. No one got to be on the billboard. The kids in archery had spent months raising money to send everyone to nationals. But the entitled behavior didn’t there. The same kid whose grandmother complained had their mother throw a fit as well.
She said that the archery team should pay for two rooms for her people, even though the archery team was only paying for one—the kid’s. Parents had to pay their own way.
36. There Was No Bending The Rules
I had a parent come during back-to-school night and yell at me because we had classroom rules that her son was upset about, and she didn't think they were necessary. They were simple rules like raising your hand to speak and keeping your hands to yourself. She pulled her kid out of the school the very next day when I refused to cave to her demand.
Then, I had the principal tell me that I needed to stop telling the kids to be quiet in the hallway because they were too young to understand. This was first grade.
37. Sue Happy Hooligans
I taught in Korea. We were having a spelling test, and two kids would not stop talking. Seeing as we had no additional desks, I sent them to separate corners to finish the test on the floor. Immediately after the test was finished, they returned to their seats as normal. A couple of hours later, my boss told me one of the parents was upset and wanted to come in to talk to me about what happened.
I waited around for an hour after work, but the parents didn’t show. So my boss told me I could go home. Two hours later—at 10 PM on a Friday night—I was out to dinner with a friend when I got a text from my supervisor. I was shocked. It said the child’s parents were suing me and to call him immediately. At 10:30 PM, my boss picked me up, drove me to the parent’s house, and without even being allowed to explain myself, made me apologize.
The parents still decided they were going to sue me. Then, things took another twist. I learned the following week that another student was also trying to sue me over the incident, but they weren’t even involved in it. It was the best friend of the kid who was suing me. His parents decided to try and sue me because their kid was "upset" that his friend had been punished.
Luckily nothing ever came to fruition. The Department of Education watched the CCTV footage of my class. They also observed me teaching another class and determined I had done nothing wrong. My favorite part of the ordeal was that the parents of the kid who initially tried to sue were both teachers!
38. She Made Her Point
The very first class assignment was to have my policies signed and returned to me. It was worth four points. My approach was that late homework lost 20% each day it was late. A kid turned her sheet in late, so I put it in as one point off. I got an email the next day from the mom complaining that one point off was 25%, not 20%.
Technically she was right, but each grading period usually had over 2,000 total points. The kid apologized for their mom being crazy. I told them not to worry about it.
39. Dealing With A Double Standard
I taught Pre-K. I would get parents who contacted me over the littlest things because it was their kid’s first time at school. I had one parent who did this while ignoring the bigger picture. The student was on a behavior chart for quite a few reasons. If there was something on the chart that the parent didn’t like—or didn’t like my explanation for—she would come in before school to speak with me.
Once, she came in because her daughter came home and told her that someone accidentally hit her, and the parent asked, "Why didn't you tell me about that"? I told the mom we handled it in class, apologies were said, and it was purely an accident since I saw it happen. I knew exactly what to say next to put her in her place.
My follow-up question was, "Did you see my note about your daughter laying on top of someone and choking them at recess"? Of course, that behavior was fluffed off as "Oh, that's just how she is. Ha, ha, ha".
40. Busted For A Bathroom Break
We were on lockdown, and a parent got upset that I wouldn't let her kid go to the restroom. I taught in an area that was getting more and more sketchy. This was before we had developed a new procedure for dangerous activity near the school. Back then, we would go into full lockdown mode if a bank or business down the street got held up or if there were a car chase or something.
Doors and windows got locked, the lights were put out, there was no teaching, and everyone huddled in a corner. I don't know what the kid was thinking would happen, but she texted her mom that I wouldn't let her go to the bathroom. The mom called my classroom, ready to have it out with me; she was on her way to talk to the principal about me, etc.
When I told her we were locked down and I was just trying to keep her daughter safe, she calmed down. I was teaching high school, so it wasn’t as if her kid didn't have another opportunity to go. She just chose to mess around and do other stuff instead.
41. She Couldn’t Take A Joke
I was changing the seating plan in my ninth-grade classroom and jokingly said to the class that I needed to keep the troublemakers in the front row so I could keep an eye on them. I thought nothing of it. There was only one girl who I moved to the front because she wouldn't stop talking to her friends, and the rest were there by chance.
One of the kids in the front row started crying and left for the restroom. At the end of the day, this kid’s parent came in with my principal, saying I was treating her child just like the other problem kids. Apparently, the student went home bawling and asked her mother, "Am I a bad student"? I was asked to change her seating arrangement.
Out of spite, I stuck the kid in the back corner with the boys.
42. The Daily Grind
I had a sixth-grade student whose stepmother emailed me on a daily basis. He was a good kid, had an A in my class, and didn’t have any behavior problems. Even so, I had over 90 emails from her. They were usually completely unnecessary. I just wanted to ask her, "DO YOU EVER TALK TO YOUR SON"?! He could clearly answer 95% of her questions!
Yet, she would still send me emails asking things like, "What was the situation that caused my son to be marked tardy to your class"? And, "There is an assignment in the grade bookmarked with a 0/0. It's titled Extra Credit Bonus Points. Please advise on how this will affect his grade".
She would also incessantly check his grades. It was crazy.
43. What A Pain!
I had a student whose mother was always claiming he had some health issue that was pretty serious. While I hate calling people liars, she was so obviously lying. The best example I can give was when she claimed her son had severe asthma. I made every accommodation I could for this kid, including immediately sending him to the nurse every time he complained of chest pains.
I began to wonder if this was true when I would see him at recess running around like a maniac without any complaints. He only got chest pains during a test or whenever it was convenient for him. I never questioned it because I just didn't want to even try to argue. Another example was during science when we were working on microscopes, and he thought it would be OK to just run around the room.
I booted him out and told him he flunked science. At the end of the day, I had a change of heart and made him read a chapter out of the science book and write a summary for homework. The next day, he came in with this elaborate 3-D model of the chapter, and his summary was written in pen with writing that looked like a grown woman's, not a fourth-grade boy’s.
I asked him to tell me about the chapter, and he couldn’t, so I called his mom. She proceeded to tell me that he spent hours on this thing, and she watched him do it. I called her out and explained that he couldn’t tell me anything. She admitted to helping him and felt there was nothing wrong with her writing it for him or constructing the model.
I couldn’t wait for him to go to middle school.
44. She Was Enough To Make My Systems Blow
I had a parent come in with their child holding one of those "WiFi/Cellphone Radiation Detector" thingies. During the first five minutes of class, she walked around the room with her kid in tow. She finally pointed to a seat for him to sit in and then came up to me and asked if there was any way I could make the building maintenance staff aware that the radiation levels were still quite high.
45. All Work No Play
I directed some of the kids in my school's middle school division in a play of Treasure Island. One day, when we weren't allowed access to the theater, we did a rehearsal at one of the girl’s homes. Her mother invited us to come over, and at first, I was wary as something always seemed a bit "off" about her. She was always in an insane rush to get her daughter home after all of our regular rehearsals.
However, they had a very large house, and I didn't want to give up the space, so I agreed to rehearse there. Once we were there, the mom politely greeted us, but the girl was holed up in her room. I asked if she could come and join us, but her mom kept insisting we start the rehearsal without her. I explained to her that her daughter was one of the most important parts of the play, and it would be hard to practice without her.
She just kept saying that her daughter had work to do and wasn't available. Finally, after about half an hour, the girl came out to meet us, but her crazy mother told us that she could only stay for 15 minutes and then she had to return to work. The girl then turned to her mother and said, "I don't have any work", to which her mother responded, "Yes, you do, sweetie", in the most passive-aggressive way I've ever heard someone talk to their child.
I decided to stay out of it, and we started rehearsing with her. I then opened my laptop to show the kids a video of what they did. The mother happened to be walking past at the time, and she ran over and slammed my laptop's lid down, shouting, "No Media"! But she didn’t stop there. She then lifted up my laptop and ran away with it somewhere. Since it was my computer, I followed her and asked for it back.
She carefully explained that they were a "no media" family and that it was important that the girl wasn’t exposed to that. She then said that her daughter should get back to work anyway, but I said we needed five more minutes. When I returned to the kids, the girl said, "Isn't my mom so annoying"? I wasn't sure how to respond. That’s when I found out the truth.
It turned out that this girl wasn't allowed to watch TV, go on any computer, or even listen to music on an iPod. She was just supposed to do her schoolwork and read books that her parents had already read. She was in sixth grade, so she didn't have that much work to do, but her mother would make her study her notes from the day every day and would frequently make her do homework again as it wasn't long enough.
I told the mom that she shouldn't put so much pressure on her daughter, and she responded by throwing me out of the house.
46. An Arresting Development
My uncle was a teacher for 25 years at a fairly prestigious school. He had taught several grades and was teaching a sixth-grade class. There was a boy in the class who was very—for lack of a better word—stupid. This wasn’t uncommon in schools, but this kid was simply thicker than brick and couldn't seem to grasp anything that was being taught to him.
My uncle had been teaching a chapter in history and was assigning homework for the day when the boy stood up and started yelling about how stupid history was and that my uncle was dumb for attempting to teach it to them. Needless to say, the boy was sent to the office for verbally harassing a teacher. While the boy was in the office, he began crying and started to fabricate a story about how my uncle had called him an idiot in the classroom.
He said that he retorted by saying, "No, I'm not a jerk", or something to that effect. He then began requesting to speak to his parents. The headmaster obliged and let him call his parents and, at the same time, summoned my uncle to the office to discuss what was going on. Five minutes later—as my uncle had just finished explaining what had happened—both the boy’s parents burst into the office. What they did next was so bizarre, it’s unforgettable.
The father, who was chief of police, attempted to arrest my uncle with his wife—who worked closely with the mayor—basically spewing in my uncle’s face as she yelled at him. All the while, their boy was sitting there smiling and laughing as my uncle was taken from the room by the chief. It was all pretty absurd. With an entire room of witnesses—the other students—the actual story came to light fairly quickly.
However, instead of apologizing and trying to save face, the father began telling a tale of how my uncle had resisted arrest, reacted forcefully, and "struck" him as he was attempting to gain control over him in the office. Both the parents approached the headmistress after the fact and offered her an ultimatum to agree with what they were saying, or they would make her life a living nightmare.
All that, instead of simply admitting they were wrong. The father lost his job, and the wife was severely demoted to desk clerk after everyone found out she tried to use her position as leverage in the situation.
47. It Was The Same Old Story
Almost every year, no matter what book or theme I go with, I have at least one nutjob parent who thinks it is inappropriate for some reason or another. I had just finished teaching a unit on the Holocaust. I was not one to coddle students, so we went to the museum, saw a lot of documentaries, and read books and accounts that didn't really hide or sugar-coat anything.
I was proud of how they handled it. Next, I started a unit on The Hunger Games. Parents tended to be afraid of any contemporary literature, so I sent home a note explaining the book and my justifications for teaching it over Christmas break. I asked the parents to contact me immediately if there were any issues. I didn’t hear anything back, so in February, I started the unit.
A week or so into it, I had a parent come and say that he thought the book was too violent for his sons, both of who were in my classes. I said, "Ok, well, we just learned about the Holocaust, which was much more violent". Then he said, "Well, that's OK because it really happened". The funny thing was that I saw one of his sons with the sequels during independent reading time later in the year.
48. Second Grade Struggle
There was a mom who was mad that we wouldn't let her son be in the class that he wanted to be in. Her son was in grade two, but for the first two or so months of the school year, he would go to the kindergarten classroom every day. We were not a big school, so there was only one grade two class. Developmentally there was no reason her son should’ve still been in the kindergarten class.
He just kept going there because he liked the toys better. But that’s not the worst part. When he was in there, he would make fun of the younger students because he was older and smarter than the rest of them. He would also hit them if they were “stupid”. When we told the mom what was going on and that we needed her to support this transition, she thought we were doing this just because we didn't want her son to be happy at school.
We finally got him to go to the correct class, but his troubling behavior—hitting, swearing, making messes, being purposefully distracting, disrespectful, and generally inappropriate—still continued. The mom's idea that we were picking on him and were being mean to him also still continued.
49. Things Got Pretty Heated
I had a parent complain that we unfairly sent her kid home after he was running a 101-degree fever and vomited right in the middle of the cafeteria. She really took it to an unhinged level. She insisted that every witness—in the whole cafeteria—was lying about the vomiting and insisted that the 101-degree fever was caused by her child wearing a sweater.
This mom was not called away from a job to pick up her sick child. She was a stay-at-home mom. She was literally at home when the school nurse called her home phone number.
50. A Little Too Late
I worked at a poor school teaching kindergarten. It wasn’t unusual for students to enroll late. I don't know why, but that was just the way it was. School began in late August, and I had 14 students. My last student enrolled in mid-October, giving me a final count of 22. During week 8, a parent enrolled her daughter. She sent her teenage daughter to bring the student to my classroom while my class was on the carpet.
I got up, had my class play a game, greeted both of them, and specifically told the teenager, "Let your mom know that if she has any questions for me or would even like to come sit down and observe for a minute, she is more than welcome to. Just have her walk on in, and I'll talk to her in a break". I showed the girl where to put her stuff and had her sit down on the carpet.
I had given everyone assigned seats, and since my class was bigger, I had to find a random spot for her close to the back. I started teaching again when there was a knock on the door. I went to answer, and got an unexpected surprise. It was the new girl's mom—and she was livid. She said, "Why is my daughter in the back of the room"? I tried to use my professional voice and explain that this was not her permanent seat, that seating was based on the needs of the students, and that I would regularly change it.
She didn't want to hear any of it. She wanted me to move her to the front and promise that would be her permanent spot, which I refused to do. After an exchange that lasted way too long, I basically told her that I needed to return to my students and she could contact me later for a conference if she felt I wasn’t meeting her daughter's needs.
She stormed off, said something to the office that made no sense, and left. Later on, the assistant principal came by and asked what it was all about, and I told him exactly what was said. He replied, "What does she expect enrolling her kid late"?