The best intentions sometimes lead to difficult situations.
What happens when a teacher wants to do something nice for their class but your child doesn’t respond in the ‘usual’ way?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) getyoursqueakon when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for not sending money in for my kid’s class pizza party?”
OP got right to the situation at hand.
“My kid’s class is having a pizza party today and for the last week her teacher has been asking for parents to send in $5 for it.”
“My kid has disordered eating due to mental health issues I won’t be getting into. (She is currently in therapy for this and other issues.)”
“So she doesn’t like pizza.”
“She will eat bread sticks sometimes but only if it is a specific (special order) kind from a specific restaurant.”
“They are not ordering from this specific restaurant and I would not request for the teacher to have them make it to my kid’s liking.”
“That’d be rude and selfish. On top of that my kid is lactose intolerant so eating pizza would give her a tummy ache anyways.”
“I explained all this to her teacher in an email, stating I wouldn’t be sending in money because my kid can’t/won’t eat pizza.”
“(I made sure to pack my kid a lunch which is what I do everyday considering her disordered eating.)”
“Her teacher replied saying that sending in money wasn’t an option but that if my kid didn’t want to eat pizza, she didn’t have to.”
“I’m not sending money in for a pizza party my kid can’t participate in. Sure $5 isn’t a lot, but when you’re poor AF, it’s not nothing.”
OP was left to wonder,
“Does this make me TA?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some commenters would seek a higher authority.
“If my kid’s class was having a pizza party, it was paid for by the PTA, not the students.”
“Tell the teacher you are willing to escalate the matter to the principal if necessary, but you hope she understands that your child can’t eat pizza, so you will not be sending in the money.” ~ columbospeugeot
“NTA- as a mother of an elementary school-aged child, I would actually go to someone higher up and ask what the deal is with this.”
“Explain the situation again, just like you did, and ask why this isn’t an optional thing. You never know what other parents are being bullied into paying this money as well.” ~ Temporary-Command-12
“I’m sure the principal would want to know that one of their teachers is trying to shake parents down for pizza party money.”
“NTA” ~ CyclopeanJuiceVendor
Others felt that there might be larger concerns.
“I think it’s also important to acknowledge that you never know what is actually happening at the school.”
“I used to teach at a school where they would tell teachers to collect money for very similar events from parents and demand that I collect the money from EVERY family.”
“Grade-level teams that organized these events might not listen to a teacher bringing a concern about this because in some schools there’s an emphasis on equality (everyone must do and get the SAME thing)”
“Over equity (everyone must receive what they need in order to be successful).”
“They might tell the teacher that they have to make the family pay the 5 dollars regardless.”
“(This is what happened at my school with a similar incident.)”
“In my case, my teaching partner was told to collect money anyway from a student (and family) who had a medical issue with food for a class party because it wouldn’t be ‘fair’ according to our grade level team and our assistant principal.”
“Only when the parent went to the principal of our school did the ‘rule’ about having to pay for the class food change.”
“And we got to have a real discussion with all the grade level teachers about how these parties are planned and executed.”
“TL;DR: NTA, and this might be an underlying issue at your school.” ~ stubbytuna
“This is actually a huge problem even without the medical stuff.”
“Excluding poor kids because their parents don’t have $5 is f*cked up.”
“My school always sent out letters to have parents pay, but we always made sure every kid got to go even if they didn’t have the money, as long as the permission slip was returned signed.”
“The money the parents send in is to replenish the account, actually.”
“We were required to show we could pay for every kid when we applied for the event or trip.” ~
There were also personal stories.
“This isn’t money for her school lunch.”
“This is money for a special event she isn’t participating in. I had a similar issue with a teacher last year, and she took it out on my kid later. So even though you are NTA, I guess be aware. 😞” ~ noblewind
“Our school doesn’t allow things like this for this reason.”
“We’re in a metropolis-style school district (major city), so we have homeless kids in class with kids of millionaires.”
“The elementary school provides ‘popsicle’ parties for treats which comes out of the PTA budget, and anything else is a parent volunteer.”
“Teachers are specifically NOT allowed to raise money for supplies, parties, or anything else.”
“Money is raised centrally by the PTA and distributed based on need.”
“Of course, parents can, if they want to contribute to individual events, but it has to be sign-up sheet and teachers cannot request cash.”
“So like a pizza party would have a signup sheet for pizza, drinks etc, and parents would sign up and supply. Our last pizza party had everything from domino’s to homemade GF lactose-free pizza.” ~ Affectionate_Runner
“As a former teacher, it’s really unethical to do that.”
“You can’t require money from people in a public school setting, it’s illegal, and they can get in trouble for sure. We were required to use language that made it clear it was an optional donation.” ~ jazzyjeffers
Many pointed out how unfair this is for those with fewer resources.
“When I was in high school, I couldn’t afford to pay the ‘class dues’ that we had.”
“The class adviser teacher actually tried telling me I wouldn’t be allowed to walk at my graduation if I didn’t pay them the $45 bucks or whatever it was.”
“I (being the tv legal drama expert I thought myself at that point) very plainly asked who I should direct my lawyer to contact since it was pretty clearly extortion being that it was a PUBLIC high school.”
“She paled and then said she’d mark me as all set.”
“It’s such crap when they make stuff like that seem mandatory, especially for lower-income families.” ~ Horror-Commission656
“My senior year felt like they were trying to squeeze as much money as possible from students.”
“Cap and gown, class photos, yearbook, senior trip, prom, class rings, and so much more.”
“I didn’t get to do any of it because my family couldn’t afford it.”
“Luckily, I was a bit of a contrarian, so I didn’t want to walk anyway.”
“My picture also wasn’t included in the yearbook because they took them before school started, and we couldn’t afford gas to drive that far just for a picture my parents weren’t going to buy.”
“So even if I were able to afford a yearbook, I wouldn’t have been in it.”
“It’s insane the amount of money they try to get from parents.” ~
Commenters felt this was more teacher preference than school policy.
“I suspect the teacher doesn’t want to have to enforce some sort of ‘non-paying students don’t eat’ restriction.”
“She doesn’t want to watch the pizza to make sure only the right students are getting a slice, and it would be awkward to enforce anyway.”
“She also doesn’t trust that your daughter actually won’t eat pizza.”
“I understand why she prefers all parents pay, but she should recognize that it is out of her control. She cannot compel you to pay the $5.”
“It is very reasonable for you not to want to pay if your daughter isn’t eating.”
“NTA for not paying.” ~ SilasRhodes
Though not everyone agreed with the consensus.
“Typically, for classroom parties/class trips/special treats, all kids are expected to pay regardless of whether or not they participate.”
“The reason for this is not all parents send in money.”
“So essentially everyone pays for those who can’t afford it or simply don’t do it.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you. If you have a couple of bucks, send it in. If you don’t, don’t sweat it.”
“This is really not that big of a deal.”
“I’m sure other parents also won’t send in money & the teacher will end up paying for it out of her wallet or through other funds.”
“There’s a reason this stuff is not optional because a lot of parents would just never send in the money. Don’t take it personally.”
“If you can’t afford it, let the teacher know.” ~ Alarming_Reply_6286
There is a difference between treating everyone the same and treating everyone fairly.
Five dollars may not be a tremendous amount of money for one family but a difficulty for another.