There is little more upsetting than for a parent to learn their child is being bullied.
Particularly if it’s regarding something about their child which is inherently part of who they are.
If there’s anything worse for a parent than hearing their child is being bullied by other children, it’s hearing that they’re being bullied by teachers.
Redditor zada1710 was furious to learn her son’s soccer coach gave him a demeaning nickname.
And she only became more incensed when he continued to refer to her son by that nickname, even when she repeatedly asked him to stop.
But after finding herself at odds with some of her son’s teammates’ mothers, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for scolding a coach for calling my son a nickname?”
The OP first shared how her son found himself being bullied at school entirely owing to his DNA.
“My wife and I have a son, Matt (7 M[ale]).
“Matt has myopia (nothing too high), but he has to wear glasses all the time.”
“At the school he went to, a kid decided that his wearing glasses was a reason to make fun of him constantly.”
“We tried to talk to the school, to the parents of this child and it didn’t solve much.”
“When my wife was offered a job in another city, we saw an opportunity to get out of it.”
“Anyway, it destroyed Matt’s self-esteem and this is something that we are working on with professional help and very little by little he is improving and the school is much better.”
It seemed Matt was turning a happy new leaf, but the OP soon noticed a potentially serious problem during Matt’s soccer practice.
“Two weeks ago he asked if he could join a soccer school in our town (small town) and I was so happy about it, it had been months since he stopped playing this.”
“I went to talk to the people in charge and when it was right, I went to see the training that was happening between the children and I noticed the coach gave some nicknames to the students (nothing too bad).”
“He explained to me he didn’t remember the names of these students and the called for something he remembered.”
“I immediately warned him that I would like him not to do this to my son, especially in relation to the glasses he relies on.“
However, the OP was greeted by a very unpleasant surprise when she attended one of Matt’s games.
“I couldn’t go to the first training session (work trip), my wife went, but I managed to go to the game.”
“To my hatred, in the middle of the game, the coach started calling my son ‘4-eyes’.”
“The first two times Matt didn’t notice, he played normal.”
“In the third, he understood and got discouraged at a point that he asked to rest on the bench and didn’t want to go back.”
“I waited until the break, and even though I insisted that we talk privately, he didn’t want to.”
“So I said ‘I warned you and asked you not to call my son that, you disrespected me and made my son feel humiliated in front of everyone’.”
“‘Shame on you’.”
“He tried to defend himself, but I said he’d better keep quiet, because he’d hear worse if he tried to justify calling him four-eyes.”
As it turned out, the coach found himself facing consequences for his actions, though not everyone was as happy as the OP was with this information.
“The soccer school tried to call me later apologizing and I said ‘you assured me that my son would be taken in and they wouldn’t put him down for wearing glasses’.”
“‘I could very well sue, but I won’t’.”
“I dropped him out of school.”
“The same day, I got the news that the coach had been fired.”
“All the mothers started saying that what I did was unnecessary and that it could have been resolved in private and that because of me he was fired.”
“Everyone is calling me AH.”
“But I’m a momma bear protecting the cub.”
“Coach called him that in practice and my wife warned him about the nickname.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed the OP was absolutely right to call out the coach, and she was not at all the a**hole in this situation.
Many felt that the other parents were out of line in calling the OP an a**hole, as the name nickname was extremely hurtful to Matt.
“NTA and tell the rest of the parents who are mad to f*ck off.”- yohosse.
“Shame on that coach indeed.”
“You specifically warned he would not call your son any nicknames yet he did it anyway.”
“Anyone calling you an a**hole clearly doesn’t understand what your son went through, and they should back off.”- ARandomDouchy.
“You and your wife separately asked the coach to not call your son four eyes, which he blatantly ignored.”
“You tried to resolve it in private but he refused.”
“No matter what the other parents say just remember that your son will remember this and how you came to his aid when he needed it.”-Radiant_Area9258.
‘NTA – That sort of insulting brainless name calling is absolutely not acceptable, and it’s quite right he got sacked for it.”
“Ask all those who complain if they’d be happy if you were to start calling them by insulting nicknames based on their physical appearance?”
“I think “Miss Saggy Chest” would rethink her stance on how damaging nicknames can be.”-Red_Cathy.
Just about everyone agreed the coach’s firing was justified, with many feeling that he should have been fired earlier, as giving unwanted nicknames is a form of bullying.
“NTA at all.”
“That coach is an effing bully and likely should have been fired long ago.”-Temporary_Badger.
“I’m a youth coach for a different sport and I would never call anyone by a nickname that wasn’t approved by the parents and the kid.”
‘I would also never make up a nickname that is based on some sort of disability/deformity/etc.”
“That’s just completely wrong.:
“Even if the family was ok with it, I still wouldn’t do it.”
“You had a prior conversation with the coach.”
‘You expressly told him not to use that as a nickname and the reasons why.”
“He chose to go against that multiple times and your kid was demoralized as a result.”
“You tried to have a private follow-up after the incident, and he declined.”
“You had no other avenue than in public.”
“The school did their part and found justification to fire the coach instead of another consequence.”
“It’s his own fault.”
“I can just imagine some of the other nicknames he came up with for other kids.”-Hockey_Goalie261.
“It’s almost like he went out of his way to do exactly what you asked him not to.”
“Also, what adult calls a kid 4 eyes?”
“He wouldn’t get fired over an isolated incident.”
“Think of yourself as the hero that finally got him off the field.”- mak-ina-myn.
“Coaches like that are the exact reason the SafeSport certification was created.”
“If you ever enroll your son in any sports again, ask the governing body if the coaches are SafeSport trained.”
“If not, go with a group where they are.”
“SafeSport is designed to make all levels of sports coaching aware of, and empowered to end bullying and abuse in sports.”-traumablades.
“If he can’t work with kids without bullying them, he shouldn’t be allowed to work with kids.”
“You told him about your son and his past experience, and the guy ignored it.”
“He made his bed, so don’t let anyone make you feel bad.”-ThistleFaun.
“You explained nicely why to please not use that nickname and the guy did it anyway.”
“I’m surprised he got fired for it but I think it was deserved.”-lovemypennydog.
“That coach was out of line.”
“You’d asked him repeatedly not to single your son out in this way.”
“Your son was obviously demoralized by the coach’s words.”
“You gave him more than enough chances to stop this behavior.”
“Someone who behaves this way shouldn’t be coaching kids.”
“He’s a bully.”- joanclaytonesq.
“Why would an adult call a child he doesn’t know well 4-eyes? “
“This is common sense.”
“You shouldn’t even had to ask him not to do that.”
“Someone with so little judgement should not be coaching children.”- adianajones
Others who were called the same nickname shared how hurtful it was.
“As someone who has glasses since she was 3.”
“As a child four eyes was really painful for me.”- lowland_rebel.
“NTA 4 eyes isn’t a nickname it is an offensive taunt.”- Ancient-Awareness115.
Sometimes words and names can cause immense harm.
One hopes that Matt might one day find a soccer coach who understands this, and might treat his students with more compassion.