School trips are usually the highlight of the school year for students. Even museum visits can be an exciting change of pace, so naturally, an excursion to a water park should be a blast, right?
For Redditor surroundsound1’s daughter, the highly anticipated school trip turned sour before it even began.
When their daughter’s teacher made an inappropriate request, the OP (original poster) sought out feedback from the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA).
“AITA for pulling my daughter from a water park trip because her teacher made her stay with a kid she doesn’t like?”
How did a fun field trip turn into a strained parent/teacher dynamic?
“My daughter Bryn [Female age 9] is going on a trip to a nearby water park with her class next week.”
“She loves water and has been talking about it for months, so I was a bit thrown off when she came home crying a few days ago and told me she didn’t want to go.”
“I asked her why and she wouldn’t tell me because she thought I’d think she’s a “bad person.” When I finally coaxed it out of her, she said her teacher “Ms. N” has forced her to be the “buddy” of her classmate “Ben” for the entirety of the trip.”
“She was to ride the bus with Ben to and from the trip, eat lunch with him, and go on all the rides with him instead of spending time with her friends.”
“She then said nobody likes Ben because he whines whenever they have to do work and picks his nose and wipes boogers everywhere.”
“I was horrified, not only because Ms. N had made Bryn do such a thing, but also because she had made her believe she was a bad person for not wanting to.”
“Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first experience with Ms. N, as she frequently used my soft-spoken, intelligent older daughter as a “behavior buffer” for the naughty boys until I threatened to report her to the superintendent.”
The OP went on to drop the mic about emotional labor.
“It’s clear to me that Ms. N is still too comfortable with enforcing archaic gender roles on her kids and forcing girls to do unpaid emotional labor for the sake of the boys.”
“I immediately sent Ms. N an email condemning her actions. She sent me back an email with a bunch of bs that basically ended with, ‘If Bryn goes on the trip, she has to be Ben’s buddy.’”
”Fine. I informed her Bryn would not be attending then.”
“I immediately booked VIP tickets the same day her class was going so she could still go to the park and see her friends.”
But then, things quickly spiraled.
“What happened next I wasn’t expecting. Bryn is quite popular, so I have gotten to know a lot of the moms in her class.”
“When I let them know what Ms. N did, some of them were so horrified that they also pulled their kids out of the trip. In total, eight kids (out of a class of twenty) are either not going or going with us.”
“Today, I got an email from Ms. N saying that because almost half of the class isn’t going, they either have to raise the cost for the other students or not go at all.”
“She practically begged me to let Bryn go and tell all the other parents to let their kids go, promising she wouldn’t make Bryn do anything she didn’t want to do. I told her she should have thought about that before she tried to make my daughter do her job.”
“My husband said I was being a bit petty and that Ms. N clearly feels bad about what she did, and I should let Bryn go as I’ve already gotten my way. He asked me if I really wanted to deprive children of what they’ve been waiting for all year.”
“The thing is, if this wasn’t Ms. N’s first offense, I probably would have agreed, but she has a pattern of this type of behavior, and hopefully, this will put a stop to it. Plus, if she has to explain this to her superiors, I have receipts.”
“UPDATE: Bryn WAS the only student assigned a “buddy.” The rest of the students were free to do what they wanted.”
“Is my husband right? Or am I justified?”
Redditors were given the chance to give their two cents by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Ultimately, Redditors decided: NTA.
“‘Bryn WAS the only student assigned a “buddy.” The rest of the students were free to do what they wanted.’”
I mean just, this is the only reason you need to be NTA. I’m really bowled over by anyone who would think this is in any way acceptable. The teacher is a piece of work” – ReviewOk929
“Am I alone in suspecting that the teacher isn’t so much feeling bad about what she did but faintly terrified of either having to explain to her superiors why the trip is suddenly in jeopardy or the backlash from other parents when it comes out why the trip she organized has fallen apart?”
“Not to mention that if you’ve booked VIP tickets, I’m going to guess that if you DID cancel your plans to suit her, you’d end up paying twice over – once for the school tickets and again for the VIP tickets you’ve already bought?”
“NTA. I’d stick with a simple “Sorry, I’ve already committed to and paid for my own arrangements for that date now” (with a possible unless other parents ask and you actually can rearrange without significant personal loss).” – ieya404
“‘She practically begged me to let Bryn go and tell all the other parents to let their kids go, promising she wouldn’t make Bryn do anything she didn’t want to do.’”
“So, this is the part that gets me. Ms. N wasn’t willing to make any changes until it affected her. Because now the other kids and their parents are going to blame her, so she has repercussions.”
“That’s the reason why she agreed to let Bryn be free of Ben. Not because it was the right thing to do, but because it now directly affects her.”
“I think the whole situation sucks. Ben doesn’t have anyone to go on rides with, so instead of putting the kids into groups of 4 where everyone could be with friends and still include Ben, she doubled down and tried to force her hand.”
“I feel bad for these kids. NTA.” – Sandi375
“Bryn is NINE. Ms. N should be the one helping the boys in the class learn better behavior.”
“What a terrible precedent to set for the young women of the future. Not only are you right, but you should also detail this and her other actions to the superintendent.”
“She is shirking her duties as an educator and reinforcing archaic gender roles.” – VioletDaisyAMJ
“NTA-I was used as a behavior buffer as a kid many times. Well-behaved kids should not be punished…and made to feel guilty about not wanting to. I would have done the same thing!” – BuildingBridges23
“And she’s freaking out because with this many students pulling out/needing to cancel the trip, it becomes a much larger, much more public issue.”
“The parents of the kids who are still going/won’t be able to go are going to want to know why it’s canceled.”
“The school administration is going to want to know what happened.”
“She’s scared because she knows what she did was wrong, and she might have to face censure for her immoral and possibly illegal actions.”
“It’s really sad for the kids who miss out, but if you bend now, this teacher will continue these practices, and that’s not fair to your child’s class or any of the future classes.” – AnonymousTruths1979
“It’s scandalous making the smart mature kids take care of everything.”
“My daughter went through this doing group work in public school. She was expected to help everyone at her table in her math class finish their work when she was in the 7th grade.” metaverde
’‘Made her believe she was a bad person for not wanting to’
“Previous issues? Check”
“Emotional abuse toward a child? Check”
“Treating a young student as an unpaid employee? CHECK AF”
“Do not speak to this teacher on the phone any longer. Rely on email/text/voicemail so you can have everything documented.”
“If you are in an all-party state for calling, and she continues to call, inform her that all calls are recorded, and listen to her hang up super fast.”
“She had plenty of opportunities to apologize. She is only doing so now to avoid the negative attention she is receiving and prevent her superiors from noticing a continued gender discrimination incident.”
“Why didn’t the teacher just hold his hand while leading the other children? He could have gotten on a ride by himself or rotated with other children taking rides with him and staying with the teacher while walking around?”
“So many solutions and she took none of them because it involved effort on her part.”
“YOU ARE NOT STOPPING YOUR DAUGHTER FROM GOING, she is just going with YOU. There is nothing wrong with wanting to supervise your daughter.”
“From now on, I’d make sure to take a day off from work to CHAPERONE, no matter who is leading the school trips. Good luck, hope there is an update soon.” – proud_didi
It is frustrating to see teachers perpetuating such outdated and unproductive ideologies.
Hopefully, all of the students got to enjoy a well-deserved enjoyable day at the water park.