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Teacher Makes Chinese-American Student Eat In Separate Room Due To Her ‘Foreign’ Lunch Foods

Photo by CDC/Unsplash

We are in a day and age where we are trying to embrace one another’s cultures.

Food is a big part of culture.

And we need to respect that.

Even if you don’t like the food, there are respectful ways to let people know.

Case in point…

Redditor sndyu wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for reporting my daughter’s teacher to the principle?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My daughter is 6 and is grade 2 but has only been remote until a few months ago so she hasn’t physically been in school for long.”

“Recently she told me she didn’t want her packed lunches anymore and wants to eat what the other kids were eating.”

“She had been not wanting to eat what were her favorite foods and opting for asking for pizza more.”

“I asked her why she didn’t want to eat her favorite foods anymore.”

“And she told me she wanted to be able to sit with the other students.”

“I was shocked because I didn’t know she wasn’t sitting with the other students.”

“And she told me it was because her teacher made her sit in the other room by herself during lunch times because she brought ‘smelly foods.'”

“To be clear growing up I was also targeted by teachers who wouldn’t let me bring shrimp or anything with garlic or onion because they hated the smell.”

“So I try not to pack anything that could cause them to target my child like spam sushi or egg fried rice.”

“I was really upset because she is half Chinese but she clearly looks Asian and I felt it was my childhood trauma happening on her.”

“I called up her home room teacher for a meeting.”

“And the teacher said they didn’t make her sit in the other room to eat but my daughter told me to ask her best friend who confirmed for me that yes she had been.”

“Another teacher confirmed she had seen her eating alone.”

“And her home room teacher switched stories.”

“Saying that she had but it was because my daughter brought a persimmon to school and it was distracting the other kids because they thought she was eating a tomato.”

“And she didn’t want her distracting the other students by having ‘foreign’ food.”

“She refused to believe it was inappropriate and said she didn’t see anything wrong with sending her to eat by herself.”

“I had to go to the principle and take my daughter to another home room to finish up the school year because that teacher said it only happened once despite my daughter swearing up and down it happened every few days for weeks before she told me.”

“She told me specifically of a time she brought tomato egg stir fry and a boy started bullying her because it looked like blood.”

“And the teacher sent her to eat in the other room rather than telling him to stop.”

“My husband doesn’t believe her.”

“He’s saying the teachers would have said something rather than sending her to eat by herself but I don’t think he understands because he is white.”


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

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. any teacher making a little kid sit by herself during lunch is an a**hole. What the hell?” ~ robinhoodProductions

“100%. Also, the teacher shouldn’t even be teaching if they’re going to discriminate and punish a kid just because she doesn’t have ‘Western’ foods.”

“This will traumatize the kid and make her feel embarrassed of her own ethnicity.”

“I am so pissed on OP’s behalf.”

“What kind of teacher is this?”

“When you’re in a position of power such as the teacher, DON’T ever let sh**ty things like this slide.” ~ HP9997

“That’s what’s pissing me off.”

“These kids more than likely would like to try/be curious about new foods.”

“And this teacher is creating division/racism in minds that don’t have it there.”

“Unless there is a legitimate allergy to the food you are sending in he is way out of line in excluding her.”

“Report him NTA.” ~ opinionswelcomehere

“Right!? Here I am thinking how it could’ve been a great opportunity for a fun lesson on how people eat different foods around the world.”

“I remember we did that in school and everyone got to do a presentation on a family recipe and had to talk about the cultural origins of the dish.”

“One kid brought in his grandmother’s baklava for everyone to try.”

“One of the best week’s of school in my life!”

“Kids could’ve been learning about tasty food but this teacher had to go an be a racist AH and ruin it for everyone.”  ~ finnanigans

“Absolutely agree.”

“Being made to feel like ‘the other’ by a teacher is traumatizing.”

“I’ll never forget being in 5th grade and we were supposed to pick a country and explain their Christmas traditions to the class.”

“I was super excited and immediately asked if I could do Korea.”

“Will never forget how crushed I felt when my teacher replied ‘there’s no Christians in Korea, you have to pick another country.'”

“When I came home and told my parents (they are white by the way, so being white is no excuse for your husband), they were livid.”

“Not sure what all they did, but my teacher did pull me aside and apologized to me the next week.”

“OP is definitely NTA and fight for daughter.”

“Her teacher sounds horrid and much worse than mine.”  ~ specialagentdscully

“NTA this extremely inappropriate of the teacher and in my opinion racist.”

“I’ve worked with kids before and at that age the only reason I can see for separating a child for meals is if they had a food that was an allergy danger to other children or vice versa… maybe?”

“But this would definitely be addressed with the parents within 24 hours.”

“So as to make sure it that it didn’t have to happen a second time.”  ~ shrimp_heaven_


“Hello! Indian kid here.”

“I used to sometimes bring traditionally Indian foods for lunch as a kid.”

“Grandma’s cooking or mom’s when she made Indian food.”

“And although I got disgusted looks when I ate that ‘weird yellow stuff’ I was never discriminated against simply because of my food (we ate in a cafeteria).”

“This teacher is absolutely racist and forgive me for saying this, but can walk herself into a floor covered in legos barefoot.”

“Your daughter should be proud of her heritage and racist people can crawl back into the cavern they clawed their way out of.”

“I’m sorry she’s going through this and hopefully, you can get more of your daughter’s friends to tell the principal about the multiple times she’s been forced to eat by herself.”

“That’s social isolation and that teacher should lose their license if they KNOW that it’s wrong and STILL lie about it to save their own skin.”

“It really disappoints me to see how many people are so bigoted when it comes to small things like food!”

“The teacher isn’t the one eating it!”

“In my opinion she should make like an instagram model and butt out.”  ~ dont_eat_my_ramen

“NTA… but you would think a good teacher would take an opportunity to teach children of different cultures.”

“And the food they ate maybe ask the kid if next time they can bring enough for the whole class to try a little serving each.”

“I dunno something like that to open these little children’s minds to the world!” ~ Thatsnodrumset

“With you 100%.”

“I would say OP mentioning ‘wouldn’t let me bring shrimp’ falls in that category.”

“I know people, including family, that can be sent to the hospital just for getting hugged by someone that ate shrimp, and would count.”

“But OP specifically said she does foods that are in her culture but won’t have that same problem.”

“OP is NTA.”  ~ Abrickted

“Definitely NTA.”

“That teacher should never have done that.”

“And If it was such a big issue, that’s something the teacher should have mentioned to you.”

“The fact the teacher lied about it as well & tried to change the story several times shows dishonesty on the teacher’s part.”

“The teacher is the a-hole.”

“Plain & simple. She deserved to be ratted on.”

“Stick up for your kid. You did the right thing.”  ~ LauraBabora325

“NTA. In no way are you the a**hole.”

“This deserves to be reported.”

“I am white and even I can understand that sending her to eat by herself because her foods are viewed as ‘foreign’ isn’t okay.”

“Your husband needs to understand that.”

“Children need to be around new foods, it’s how they learn about parts of cultures.”

“This is an issue with the teacher, not the children.”

“Children see new foods all the time and are fine; I even ate sand as a kid.”

“They don’t care. The teacher needed to be reported because this is highly prejudiced.”

“Food is food. Shouldn’t matter.”  ~ fleetwoodmads

Well, OP it’s clear Reddit thinks you’re being the best parent possible.

Sometimes teachers need teaching.

And parents have to advocates for their kids.

Good on you.