Redditor TimelyMix6119 is a dad whose ten-year-old son was disciplined for wearing a T-shirt that his teacher considered was inappropriate.
The father believes the shirt was “sarcastic,” and even the school principal chuckled at the description of the shirt’s graphic but ultimately reserved judgment and backed the teacher’s decision.
In response to an email the teacher later sent the father, he responded in a manner that made him consult with the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to see if he went too far.
The Original Poster (OP) asked:
“AITA for calling my son’s teacher a ‘drama queen’ over her objection to his shirt?”
“I got a call from his school saying that he was asked to cover up his shirt (he had to turn it inside out) and not to wear it again. I was baffled. He’s 10.”
“The principal said that his teacher took offense to it and sent him to the office. I asked him if he thought it was offensive and he didn’t want to answer and just said the teacher being offended is enough.”
“He was wearing a shirt that said ‘Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.’ I thought it was funny because it reminded me of the stickers on CD’s back in the 1990s when I was a kid. My son liked the design.”
“I explained that to the principal and he laughed because he’s an 80s/90s kid. And no, I am not some raunchy dad. I am quite square and my son is a sweetheart.”
“The teacher brought it up in a follow-up email and I just replied that she was a total drama queen.”
The OP provided an update with more details:
“She replied back saying that my comment was ‘uncalled for’ and her objection to the shirt was that it was at the very least ‘borderline’ offensive akin to wearing a Death Row Records shirt.”
“She cited ‘today’s climate’ where someone else would take a bigger offense and she had to look out for the school community as a whole. That made me laugh because the hardest thing my son listens to is Foo Fighters or the Wizard of Oz soundtrack.”
“The shirt was sarcastic.”
“Update 2: She sent my son home not with a school dress code memo, but a ‘classroom’ dress code memo to which she highlighted that anything that ‘supports vulgarity or obscenity, explicitly or implicitly’ is not allowed. This would be funny if it weren’t sad. I don’t know whether to taunt her or to leave it alone.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors almost supported the OP until he belittled his son’s teacher.
“ESH. Come on, you were RIGHT. You had the principal on your side. You had the high ground!”
“And you threw it away to call your son’s teacher a ‘drama queen’ and completely undermine your point by sounding rude and immature.”
“Even if you don’t care for yourself, as your son’s advocate at the school you should be a polite one so you can advocate effectively and are taken seriously.”
“Also, your son is stuck with this woman all year. Why antagonize her ineffectively like this and cause problems when son is the one that has to see her every day not you.”
“Your child’s teacher is someone you have a professional relationship with. Word your e-mails accordingly.” – TheHatOnTheCat
“Yes, it sounds like the teacher is overreacting, but calling her names is making the situation worse.”
“Be professional in your responses or you’ll be perceived as part of the problem (because you are.). It’s totally reasonable to write back and question if this is in violation of a written dress code or a personal reaction, for example; not OK to respond by calling her insulting names. ESH.” – milee30
“Her reaction to the shirt is bizarre to say the least.”
“Calling her a ‘drama queen’ is intellectually lazy. You need to articulate what you mean by ‘drama queen’ and how her actions violate professional standards in some way (perhaps as suggested by the comment above).”
“Then you’ll be acting like an adult interested in constructive problem resolution – a role model this teacher sorely needs.” – dlogos13
The last statement from the previous comment was immediately challenged in support of educators.
“This teacher doesn’t need a f’king role model. She needs to not have to deal with parents calling and yelling at her because their kids learned the word ‘explicit’ today.”
“She gets paid sh*t, pays for half her own school supplies, works overtime, resists the urge to slap some brat upside the head every day, and is only trying to head the parental drama off at the pass so she can focus on helping her students graduate 5th grade.”
“She doesn’t need some a**hole screaming about his kid’s right to wear their special funny t-shirt to school. How tiresome.” – super_common_name
One Redditor insinuated the teacher overreacted.
“Lordie, that is so asinine. ‘You are wearing offensive striped pants! They are preventing you from learning because they are distracting! As punishment, you will now be prevented from learning in order to make new pants! That’ll teach you!'” – TheRedBanshee
But many Redditors maintained the OP should not have taunted the teacher.
“ESH. Don’t call your child’s teacher a drama queen, even if she is one. You can be professional and dismissive and keep the moral high-ground.” – lamamaloca
“Because the principal still backed his staff’s choice in the matter. He may have agreed with OP but still stood with the decision that it made the teacher uncomfortable so it’s not to be worn.”
“I would still be fighting for my kids right to wear the shirt but I would be taking it higher and higher up the ladder instead of going back down for name calling.” – saymynamebastien
“The OP cares more about a dumb T-shirt than she does about her son’s well-being. She cares more about the T-shirt than the son does.” – HyacinthFT
“Seriously- calling people names over a disagreement is what middle schoolers do (and really? drama queen? did you steal that straight out of a middle schooler’s mouth?).”
“It sounds like your son didn’t call anyone names, OP, so how is it he handled this with more maturity then you did?”
“Again, I agree that she overreacted. But sometimes people are unfair, sometimes you disagree with authorities figures, and sometimes you just need to do the mature thing and say ‘Well, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.’ and drop it.”
“So I’m not sure if you’ve ever worked in childcare, but parents can be crazy. Unfortunately teachers have to be extra cautious to avoid offending parents. Your sons shirt doesn’t sound harmful, but I don’t blame his teacher for asking him to turn it inside out.”
“When I worked in an after school daycare for kindergarteners, we had a lot of rules that were extremely silly, but we had to follow them to protect ourselves from parents who might take offense to ridiculous things.”
“You’re assuming SHE is the one offended, when likely, she is just protecting herself from parents who would yell at her if they saw it. She probably doesn’t care but based on the ‘today’s climate’ comment, she obviously is trying to be proactive in protecting herself from people who want to be offended by everything.”
“You didn’t have to call her names for simply trying to be cautious. You don’t have to agree but ultimately it’s her classroom and she gets to make the rules – if she finds it inappropriate or believes another parent might find it inappropriate, it’s her right to remove it from the class.”
“You behaved childishly and were unnecessarily rude when you could have brought up your issue in a much kinder way. YTA.” – the-willow-witch
“It’s tempting to be immature and call names and be petty and fight dirty- but stooping to that level is pretty much never worth it.” – Willowed-Wisp
“YTA – She’s right, your comment was uncalled for. Parents like you are the worst, it’s her classroom. You don’t need to agree, but if your son knows about your comment, you just taught him that disrespecting his teacher was ok.”
“This was the time to teach your kid that ‘although we are going to disagree but some situations mean we need do something for other people’, you didnt do that. You owe that teacher an apology.” – PDX816
Overall, Redditors agreed that the OP responded poorly to the situation with the gendered slur and his defiance was setting a bad example for his son.