Being a teacher is difficult and an often thankless job.
And certain situations often arise, we’re as an educator, you’re not completely sure the best course of action.
This can often lead to many, awkward, and volatile situations.
Case in point…
Redditor Existing_Ad_9509 wanted to discuss his story for some feedback. So naturally he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA For refusing to let a female student use the bathroom?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Okay, so. I know the title makes me look like a major a**hole but hear me out.”
“I M[ale] 46 work at a highs chool as a PE teacher and recently I noticed that a student of mine, let’s call her A stopped participating in class, and her excuse would always be the same.”
“‘Mr. Smith (me) I’m on my period, can i please go to bathroom?'”
“This carried on every PE lesson for 1 month when our unit was dancing and I had to give each student a mark.”
“At this point A was concerningly behind everyone in our unit and I had nothing to grade her on and I was getting increasingly annoyed.”
“And up until this point I had never told her no when she always used the bathroom and would come back after 45 minutes.”
“So once again she asked if she could use the bathroom because she was on her period and I just snapped.”
“‘A, if you’re on your period this often, multiple times in 2 months then I honestly think you need medical help. I have to grade you, come up and participate.'”
“Later that day at around 17:00 I was placed on temporary leave because of the complaints I got from A’s parents and A had also gotten her friends and their parents to complain.”
“I was being called sexist and multiple other names by the student’s parent’s.”
“And I was honestly so confused, and multiple of the student’s parent’s threatened the principal to turn to social media or even enroll their girls in another school because of me.”
“Since they felt unsafe with a sexist teacher.”
“So, AITA and what should be my next action to regain the parents respect?”
Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:
- Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors declared our OP WAS the A**hole.
It’s a tricky situation.
Let’s hear some thoughts…
“But what was she doing going to the toilet for a whole 45 mins I understand it takes time to sort yourself out but not that long unless she’s bloody showering.”
“If anything it makes it seem she was getting out of PE just to bunk off.”
“On the other hand OP really should have dealt with it a bit differently should have spoke to her privately or make her parents aware.”
“So it’s in between YTA and NTA at the same time hard to say.” ~I ll-Diver9767
“I agree but it’s a firm YTA.”
“If she’s clearly trying to get out of class, fail her, give the parents a progress report, talk to a school counselor. I dunno.”
“There are so many better options than to comment on the biology of a teenage girl in front of her classmates as the adult in the room? It’s unprofessional.” ~ Binky390
“This is the most appropriate/professional way to have handled it.”
“I understand OP’s frustration, though. “
“If I were a fellow female student, I would have been frustrated with that girl too for using her period as an excuse to ditch.”
“However, OP shouldn’t have blown up at her in front of the class. He invited the subsequent wrath on himself.” ~ ScyllaImperator
“I don’t know if I had a student who said they were on their period every single week, I would become worried about their health.”
“A lot of people are not educated on things like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian, and don’t think they can happen to teenage girls when they can.”
“I would absolutely ask the student if her health is okay or even check in with the parents at that point.”
“Not publicly in front of the class or anything but, people die when medical issues like this go on mentioned and untreated.”
“You know children’s bodies are related to their health and to some extent their health is the responsibility of the adults around them.”
“If they seem like they are very ill or something is wrong, needs to be brought up in some way.”
“Which of course doesn’t change the fact that he is the asshole because, his comment was unbelievably inappropriate.” ~ Glass-Trade8008
“He is not wrong in his conclusions – she is either lying to avoid the lesson or in need of medical intervention.”
“But while I sympathise with his exasperation, he was 100% unprofessional in making those comments in front of the whole class.”
“This should have been a situation where you keep good records.”
“Then once the pattern appears to be problematic (but you can’t tell without being intrusive), consult the guidance counselor/your head of department/head of year/whoever is appropriate in your school for advice on figuring out what measures to take.”
“Potentially this would involve a parental meeting, where you express concern for the pupil’s chronic illness.”
“And ask if she has further medical needs that should be documented by the school, and sorry about the paperwork but we do at this stage need a medical note to affirm the need for accommodations.” ~ Normal-Height-8577
“It doesn’t matter if she is trying to get out of class, he had no right to talk about her bodily functions the way he did.”
“That makes him an a**hole. He could have pulled her to the side and discussed.”
“He could have said that if she didn’t participate in that lesson she would have to fail.”
“He could have told her that she could go and he would be talking to her parents after school that day.”
“Instead he went nuclear and called her a liar in front of the whole class and shamed her for a bodily function, even if she didn’t have it.”
“Some people do have periods for months on end, and it’s not his place to comment on that aspect of it.” ~ acgilmoregirl
“I have GI issues and it can absolutely take me a whole 45 minutes in the bathroom, or longer.”
“I’m working with my doctor right now but I would be royally pissed if anyone made assumptions about my health and commented on it like that.”
“I would be totally on board with OP if he had approached the situation like an adult and addressed the problem at hand, her poor attendance, but instead he chose to comment on her body and health in the middle of class.”
“That’s inappropriate regardless of the situation, but especially from a grown man in a position of power directed at a teenage girl.”
“Is it possible that A is just skipping class and is the one in the wrong?”
“Absolutely! But OP lost all moral high ground when he made a snappy comment about her period instead of pulling her aside outside of class or contacting her parents.” ~ amitychicky
“YTA. I literally bled for months straight from 7/20/2021-11/6/2021.”
“Before that, 6 weeks straight. Before that, 3 weeks straight. I had undiagnosed endometriosis. Let her use your bathroom.” ~sprizzle06
“YTA. In addition to the above, many women have medical conditions that can cause irregular or continuous periods.”
“It is not your place, nor do you have the authority, to ask or dictate what medical attention she has gotten or should get for her own body.” ~ bripotato
“YTA you know there was a better way to handle that.”
“You let this go on for 2 months without contacting her parents and letting them know what was going on? Or your boss? Instead humiliated a teenage girl.” ~ HPNerd44
“YTA- so you chose humiliation to try and stop this.”
“After the first month you call a meeting with the parents or send them an email.”
“You totally missed any chance of helping her with whatever issue is going on.” ~ shadow-foxe
Our OP seems to have taken some time and done some inner reflecting. He came back with an update.
“EDIT: Okay so, today I decided to call A into my office and I explained why I acted the way I did and I explained to her how out of line it is and I gave her my sincere apology.”
“No denying, justifying or anything.”
“I asked her what I could do to be a better teacher for her and make lessons fun yet educational for her and other students and she gave me some excellent advice and also apologized for leaving class so often.”
“She agreed to stay behind everyone else and participate more so that I could give her a final grade in the dancing unit.”
“The temporary leave was lifted and I also apologized to A’s friends and parents.”
“I haven’t had time to contact A’s friends parents but I’m currently trying to do so.”
“Thank you for your suggestions and help, I tried to read as many as I could and I promise to be a better teacher not only for my female students but also for male students.”
“I will accept TA responses and will hold myself accountable in the future.”
That is a tough one.
When personal health issues come into play, everything gets weird.
Hopefully everyone learned from this situation.
It sounds promising.