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Mom Bans Son From School Dance After He Trashes Sister’s Dress As Payback For Racist Jokes

Siblings arguing.
101dalmatians / Getty Images

Parenting isn’t ever easy.

Even when all the kids are laughing around a bonfire and eating s’mores, the crickets chirping into the moonlight, it’s never easy.

Particularly when it comes to punishment, there never seems to be a good answer.

So, what happens when one of your children decides to punish the other when nothing else seems to work?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) mdr739 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

She asked:

AITA for not allowing my son to go to his school dance?

OP began with introductions and some background.

“My husband (51M) and I (48F) have 6 children (19M, 16F, 14F, 13M, 11M, + 5F).”

Our 16 y/o, Gianna is a junior in high school, our son Ryker (13) is in 7th grade.”

“The kids are starting to have their school dances, the 7th-grade dance is later this month and the junior banquet is in early May.”

“We have gone shopping for dress clothes for all the dances. We bought Gianna’s dress a few weeks ago.”

“Gianna has usually been a good kid throughout her life, this school year has been slightly harder than others though.”

Everything was fine, until…

“Around 2 months ago, we got a call from Gianna’s choir teacher saying that Gianna and a few other altos were making racist jokes about some of the new pieces she introduced.”

“including an Urdu song and a song from Honduras.”

“We talked to Gianna about her actions and we made her write an apology to her teacher as well as write a 5 paragraph essay on why it is important to respect music from other cultures.”

“Ryker has a friend from his baseball team who is Honduran (he was born here but his mom was born in Honduras and his dad is mixed).”

“When Ryker heard out about this he was quite mad and asked if he could have his friend come over, and teach her about the culture there.”

“We allowed this and he came over with his parents and they made food and Ryker and his friend taled about sports and music there.”

“Gianna was very clearly not enjoying it but we made her engage anyways.”

“Our daughter and a group of her friends, including her boyfriend, got in trouble last week for making racist jokes again.”

“We took her phone to investigate to see where this hatred could be coming from.”

“Ryker had his friends over for a sleepover the night we found out about this, during dinner the boys were talking about how their coach would never let them live though it if they bullied a kid or made racist jokes.”

“My husband and I tried helping guide them through their feelings, like asking them about the diverse athletes they liked.”

“Gianna was hanging out with friends at the mall that night, some of whom were doing dress shopping for the upcoming dance.”

“Our son and the boys decided to use this as an opportunity to trash the dress, using mud, drinks and cutting a few holes in the dress.”

“We found out when Gianna came home, entered her room, and saw the dress.”

“The boys were laughing and Ryker said they did it because Gianna didn’t deserve to go to the banquet, and saying how there ‘could be kids that look like’ his Honduan friend.”

“We told Ryker we were trying our best to educate her in a very white town (we’re also white).”

“We told him that this was the wrong way to take out his anger and that as a result, he couldn’t go to his 7th-grade dance.”

“Ryker told us to shut up and spent the rest of his night in his room with the boys.”

“Ryker texted my parents and siblings as well as my in-laws, a few have called us and came to his defense, saying he’s just a kid who was trying to cope with anger.”

OP was left to wonder.

“Now we’re unsure if we are in the wrong. AITA?”

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: YTA

Some really didn’t see how Gianna was actually punished.

“Info, Is Gianna allowed to her dance?”

“Because tbh it doesn’t really sound like any of her punishments have been ‘punishments.'” ~

“Lol the first punishment was just a delicious meal that they made their son’s family go to their house to cook.”

“Why couldn’t they have gone to the Hondurans home?”

“And you obviously owe that family a meal. Make your daughter cook for these people instead of bringing them to your home and making them the help.”

“So f*cking backwards” ~ Xvrwllc

“Yeah, this was wild to me.”

‘“Come cook for my racist daughter and teach her not to be racist”’

If I were that kid’s parents, I would have been declined with a few choice words. ~ awyastark

“And why the hell was she allowed to go out with her friends that night instead of being immediately grounded?”

“Why is she not receiving any substantial consequences for not just being racist but for doing it in such a public way that she’s getting in trouble for it at school?”

“OP = YTA” ~ [deleted]

Others pointed out how vastly different Gianna’s treatment was from Ryker’s.

“YTA, Why is that with Gianna, every punishment (even as a repeat offender) was actually an “opportunity to learn” but the moment Ryker slips up, he gets an actual punishment?”

“Even if you didn’t intend it, this looks exactly like favoritism” ~ Welcome–Matt

“Please explain in a 5 paragraph essay why your daughter has no consequences for her racism while your son gets consequences for his anger. YTA.”

“You’re about to fail as parents.” ~ RickGrimesSays

“Slight YTA, his punishment does seem more severe than hers… given that she is a repeat offender and he is reacting to racism in his own home.”

“Why is she still allowed to go to her dance, given her behavior?”

“You’re educating her without any serious consequences, but you’re punishing him without any real education.” ~ breathemusic14

This comment sums the whole situation up nicely.

‘”Why did you destroy her dress?”‘

‘”Because she is repeatedly making racist comments, and I will not accept racist relatives in my life.”‘

‘”But it’s a dress. You should be respecting her desire to have that dress”‘

‘”What about her disrespect of HUMAN BEINGS???”‘

‘”But it’s a dress”‘ ~ numbersthen0987431

OP did return with some final thoughts and a wrap-up to the story.

“Hello, I first want to thank everyone for the advice. Yesterday was insane processing just how many comments I got and also talking to the family, including my siblings, parents, and in-laws about where to go from here.”

“I get it. My husband and I were in the wrong.”

“We first talked to Ryker. He told us how mad he was at Gianna. He told us about how some girls in his middle school have been racist towards his friend, so he wanted to protect him.”

“He told us he and his friends made the plot together bc they felt like she could hurt someone if she didn’t face backlash.”

“We asked him if he regretted his decision purely to see his mood, and he immediately said no. We did go over anger management, though.”

“We then talked to Gianna, and things went much worse than we expected. She defended herself and used much worse language than what she got in trouble at school for.”

“She used slurs and called Ryker a crybaby.”

“My family and my husband’s family all live close to us.”

“We decided to have dinner with my siblings, parents, and in-laws.”

“We asked for advice, discussed everything, and had them question Gianna and Ryker some more.”

“Again, Gianna expressed much worse sentiments than we could have ever imagined. Ryker was more put together and went into depth about his feelings.”

“After our families had left, my husband and I went into our bedroom to discuss what punishments would be.”

“We first spoke to Ryker. We told him he could go to the dance and then discussed the money with him.”

“We decided not to make him pay for financial damages to us, but we asked him how he felt if he bought something with his hard-earned money from golf caddying.”

“He eventually said he understood our initial anger after that thought experiment.”

“Off the recommendations of my brother, we also suggested looking into how he could channel his desire for social justice into sports, the most important thing in Ryker’s life besides his friends.”

“We then talked to Gianna. We told her she would not be attending the junior banquet and told her she would have to read and write a report on two books from a list of books on racism.”

“Some commentators have made recommendations, and we will look into them. She has also lost all of her devices except her school Chromebook until further notice.”

“We also apologized to Ryker for holding him to higher standards simply because he’s the high achiever of the family.”

“He also mentioned the fact we don’t give him enough attention because of that.”

“We are looking into different therapies such as family therapy or individual therapy for Gianna, possibly Ryker, and even our other kids.”

Parenting isn’t ever easy.

However, when the consequence of harming someone else is less severe than the consequence of hurting a dress, there may be larger concerns.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.