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Student Balks After Classmate Makes TikTok Bragging About Releasing Goldfish Into The Ocean

Roger Wright/GettyImages

Delivery is everything.

The way one handles dispensing information is key in getting their point across.

When one flies off the handle, even when in the right, information gets lost.

Case in point…

Redditor Sensitive-Fun-99 wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA my classmate ‘saved goldfish’ by releasing them into the ocean, I called her a dumba**?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My classmate recently made a TikTok and she showed a group of people at lunchtime.”

“They were next to our table so I overheard the girl say ‘Hey look at my TikTok I made, come check it out.'”

“And in it, she explains how she ‘rescued’ goldfish from the pet store and released them into the ocean so they can live free.”

“I was horrified upon hearing this.”

“I love to fish and have several aquariums so I’m fairly knowledgeable on them.”

“I walk over and I ask her to show me the video and I facepalmed.”

“She asked me why and I said ‘You realize you’re actually a dumba** right? This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.'”

“Her friend says, ‘Well that’s just rude, why would you say that because she cares?'”

“To which I had to explain that goldfish are freshwater fish, they can’t survive the ocean because it’s saltwater, so all of those goldfish were dead in minutes.”

“They basically choked to death as salt filled up their gills.”

“Lastly, you never release animals into the wild.”

“There are goldfish that are destroying our rivers and lakes because of dumba**es like her.”

“They say that I’m a bully and walk away.”

“I later get called into the principal’s office who told me I was expected to apologize, and I said no, I stand by what I said.”

“F**k ignorant people who destroy the environment.”

“My parents were called over it. I got sent home and my parents are pissed I refused to apologize.”

“I might get suspended.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole situation, with some caveats. 

“NTA!” You’re 100% right on BOTH counts!”

“That would’ve been a pretty awful death for the goldfish AND yeah releasing captive-bred animals into the wild usually either results in that animal dying OR local flora and fauna suddenly having to compete with an invasive species.”

“She meant well but that stark reality check on your part was definitely warranted.” ~ Sailor_D00m

“This. I don’t even think she meant well – just wanted people to think she meant well.”

“Most likely did it for TikTok, not the fish.”

“NTA… and good on you for standing your ground, OP. Don’t apologize.”  ~ M-Jones-Bkk

“Although more than likely true, she’s a virtue signaler.”

“It’s near impossible to make an impact or impression on someone if they’re in defense mode.”

“Immediately calling someone a ‘dumba**’ will hinder any communication that follows.”

“Most definitely the A**hole for leading with personal attacks.”

“Was OP correct in what they were saying? Absolutely.”

“Could they have conveyed it tactfully and possibly even educated someone or several someones? Also absolutely.”

“Now OP is on the defense, all eyes on them, not the actual issue of Goldfish being released to their death.”

“I would suck it up, apologize, and in the same moment convey exactly why I was upset.”

“Hope you have a wonderful day.”  ~ Nic4379

“Hope OP sees this and it’s a perfect response.”

“Getting the science teacher involved is a great idea, too.”

“Even if the other girl refuses to write a report, perhaps the teacher could take some of the class period and speak on the topic a bit.”

“‘I’ve heard a story going around and this is a great opportunity to talk about the biological differences of animals adapted to certain conditions and how native and non-native species interact in those environments.'”

“No need to call her out.”

“If she didn’t get it, and her friends didn’t get it, it’s safe to assume others don’t and need to be educated as well.”

“NTA, by the way.” ~ MissChrystine

“This reminds me of the story of the kid who got detention and faced worse punishment because he corrected the teacher’s mistake in class.”

“When his parents got involved they asked if their child was right.”

“The teacher said he was but that wasn’t the point.”

“The student should have quietly accepted the incorrect information just as the other students had done.”

“I hope OP stands by this because they are completely in the right about this.” ~ logirl1975

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.”

“OP is correct that this girl should not have released these fish in the ocean, but this is still 100% a YTA situation.”

“If the OP had gone over and said, ‘You might not know this, but goldfish are freshwater fish who will die in saltwater, and also, it’s often harmful to release domesticated animals into the wild.'”

“Then there would have been no a-holes.”

“But OP went over with a smug sense of superiority and berated this girl for not knowing something.”

“They demeaned her, calling her dumb, and stuck to their guns when called out on their inappropriate behavior.”

“Doing the right thing the wrong way is still wrong, and ineffective to boot.”

“OP is such an a-hole, and I don’t know how it’s possible that so many of you can’t see that.” ~ zorblak

“NTA, but a different approach might be more effective. Ask questions.”

“‘Did you know that goldfish are freshwater fish?'”

“’Do you understand what happens to freshwater fish when they are released into saltwater?’”

“Lead her to her own dumba**ery…” ~ Soiree1999

“Yes, people who are ignorant need to ‘warm up’ their brain by getting questions.”

“You need to actively pull them in the conversation to get some legit response.”

“If someone just piles up information upon information, they’ll just get defensive and close up.”

“OP: NTA.” ~ ToastAbrikoos

“Agreed. A different approach would have been more effective.”

“That being said… shouldn’t the principal be apologizing to the entire school for apparently failing so bad at, oh I dunno, educating that a group of kids old enough to buy a bunch of live goldfish don’t know the difference between fresh and saltwater marine creatures???”

“Whenever I’ve bought fish the haggard employees always made at least a half a**ed effort to tell me their most basic needs so I assume she was told what water to use.”

“And on top of it, these kids live near the ocean so it’s the local ecological system!”

“I am distressed.”  ~ UnApprovedActivities

I’d even slide towards a YTA here.”

“I don’t see anything in OPs post that shows that the girl was an a**hole.”

“She did something she thought was good.”

“She was wrong, but being wrong doesn’t make you an a**hole.”

“I don’t see anything about her getting upset and lashing back at OP.”

“Just them calling him a bully which he was.”  ~ vkapadia

“ESH. Never lead with the insult, no matter how justifiable it is.”

“Explaining facts without launching with the dumba** part might have actually given her pause to consider her actions in the future.”

“Instead you insulted her which threw up a wall and no matter how accurate your statement on her actions, no facts will get through.”

“She sucks for all the obvious reasons.”

“And the school, too, sucks if they’re going to suspend you for not apologizing while also not actually educating their students well enough to understand this sort of ‘Activism’ does more harm than good.”  ~ slydog4100

“Is this what schools look like these days?”

“Back when I was a kid, a classmate argument like this would have never escalated up to the principal, to the point of calling parents, to the point of demanding an apology from you.”

“WTF for, because you hurt someone’s feelings?”

“Is this because they feel you ‘bullied’ her?”

“Over a difference of opinion or criticism? Lmao… man things have changed since when I was a kid.”

NTA, but maybe be less insulting next time.” ~ jpcats

“ESH. She is indeed a dumba** for releasing goldfish in salt water, and possibly an AH for escalating it to the principal.”

“But you barged in on someone else’s conversation and called her a dumba**.”

“Sure, it’s true, but it is rude.”

“It really does read like something a 15-year-old would do.

“Next time, don’t insult someone directly.”

“Just explain why their actions are wrong without attacking their personality.”

“Furthermore, I would like to know exactly what the conversation with the principal was like and what he told your parents.”

“I might be wrong, but I feel like some info is lacking or at the very least biased.”  ~ Ladderzat

“You are technically right (I used to work in an aquarium as well).”

“But your delivery of this information could have been gentler.”

“She obviously cared.”

“And I’d venture to say most people don’t know as much about aquatic life as we do.”

“Gentle YTA because of the delivery, not that you’re wrong per se.”  ~ tijori1772

Well OP, sounds like Reddit agrees with your science but not your execution.

Perhaps next just take a gentler approach when making a point.

Good luck with the principal.