Most parents take seriously their children’s performance in school. But what is a parent to do when a teacher’s grading procedure seems preferential to certain students?
A woman on Reddit found herself facing this situation when her overweight son, who has a medical condition, began doing poorly in school simply because of his failing grades in gym class.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by MoMaBear444 on the site, wasn’t sure about how she handled the situation, so she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for input.
“AITA for ‘fat shaming’ a P.E teacher.”
“A ton of context for this story. My (40F[emale]) son (12M[ale]) does great in school, all except in one class: P.E And yes, he is overweight, I am perfectly aware of this and I am working with his pediatrician on it. We are managing with diet and physical therapy sessions. Still, his bad grades in P.E are becoming a problem.”
“They are damaging his record. A rule in the school is that if you have good grades in the year (Feb-Nov), you are exempt from the final exam. By this point, my son has been notified that he is exempt in ALL his classes and has the highest-grade average in his level.”
“Still, he has not received any academic recognition (Diploma) in the year and is not eligible for the school’s scholarship (Private School, we pay tuition) because he is falling P.E.”
“Seeing this, I asked for a meeting with his homeroom teacher and the principal. Because the problem is P.E, the teacher was invited. I went with my husband. I explained that I found enraging that my son is losing a lot of things because of a complementary class and that it’s not taking into account my child’s health condition.”
“The teacher said he grades fairly all the students by using standardized tests, so my kid should do just fine. One of those, which represents 40% of the grade, is the Beep test. A passing grade is above level 7, my kid can’t even reach level 4 without being on the verge of fainting.”
“The teacher argues that most of the class can perfectly reach level 9 and that the best ones, the kids in the soccer team, even go as far as 15. He said this with a smirk in his face, he is also the trainer of the team by the way.”
“That comparison made me SO MAD. He thinks is right to compare an overweight kid to his mini-league guys. Now, this man is overweight himself, so I coldly asked. ‘What level do YOU reach? I am sure the math teacher can solve one of his own exams, so how do you do in your own “fair” test? Level 15? Level 20? Come on, tell me'”
“The room went totally quiet. I was obvious he himself would do terribly on it. He said something about kids being different than adults and that a teacher doesn’t need to explain his grading methods. He left shortly after, before the end of the meeting.”
“Our case is still being reviewed by the principal, but my husband said my words were a huge low blow and that I ended looking like the queen of entitled Karens.”
“For me, the guy was being super hypocritical and I was just trying to defend my kid.”
People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And they were almost entirely on OP’s side on this one.
“NTA , Your child should not Be made to feel like a failure because he doesn’t excel at sport . I hate this outdated view.” —kittiqfaberge
“I had gym teachers that were the same way as a kid – and my asthmatic ass would never have been able to pass the beep test, regardless of weight. I wound up getting a medical exemption from the required PE because my gym teachers refused to make reasonable accommodations for even minor health stuff and they kept trying to get me to ‘push through’ my asthma/migraines/etc.”
“Like sorry but if I am dry heaving from a migraine so bad I can barely stay upright, I am not gonna be able to run a mile, but they didn’t care. Mom raised holy hell with the school admin as a result.”
“PE should never be graded on a kid’s athletic prowess bc all that does is teach kids to hate sports/etc – I wish teachers would help kids rather than treat gym as an excuse to torture kids and get away with it! It took me until adulthood to find out that I liked sports and being active, what I hated was being berated repeatedly about how I was terrible/weak/lazy.” —Madanimalscientist
“I used to be the fat kid and got good grades for PE. I was also graded for my enthusiasm, willingness to help out others and helping with setting up and clearing the material. I always barely passed the beep test, but I did what I could and that was enough.”
“In later years, we all had to organise our own PE classes, in which we had such a variety of sports, that it became evident for everyone that you can’t excell at everything. And that excelling at one thing at a time is enough.”
“We were all taught to try our hardest and always be respectful to one another. This resulted in me, even though I will probably always be overweight, having a healthy relationship with exercise, and confidence in my physique.”
“This should be the way for all children.” —SpookyFoxyLady
“NTA. This is ridiculous. Physical education should be about educating, not athletic ability and performance. They are supposed to be TEACHING kids about activity, how to properly engage in healthy habits, broadening their horizons to a large range of activities and the exams should be based on knowledge, not athletic prowess.”
“This isn’t the NFL combine it is gym class. Emphasis on class. Are there any effective lessons or lesson plans or does this meat head teacher just toss them a ball and let them go lord of the flies?”
“A good PE program should be teaching general fitness, knowledge of recreational sports activities, how to maintain things like cardiovascular health and flexibility into adulthood. Not rewarding those that are just the bestest at sports.” —WayUWearUrHat
Hopefully OP can find a way to get her son’s school to be a bit more empathetic in this situation.