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Korean Mom Claps Back After Son’s Teacher Complains About His ‘Disgusting’ Homemade Lunches

Young boy eating Korean food for lunch at school
imagenavi/Getty Images

Each person is unique in how they behave, what they believe, and what they enjoy, largely because of the family and the culture they could from.

While we all know this, some people are not very accepting of other people’s cultures, especially when it comes to things like clothing, music, and food.

But some of those people are also very loud about their feelings, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor flowergardens0 was shocked when she heard from her son’s preschool teacher, demanding that she send her son to school with different foods in the future.

But when the teacher went so far as to call their Koren food “disgusting” and “inappropriate,” the Original Poster (OP) had no interest in complying with the teacher’s demands.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for packing my kid an ‘inappropriate’ lunch?”

The OP received a shocking call from her son’s preschool teacher.

“I (34 Female) have a (5 Male) son who attends preschool.”

“A few hours after I picked him up from school today, I got a phone call from his teacher.”

“She made absolutely no effort to sound kind when she, in an extremely rude and annoyed tone, told me to stop packing my son such ‘disgusting and inappropriate’ lunches.”

“I felt absolutely appalled when she said this as the teacher, and I have, up until now, always maintained a very friendly relationship.”

“She added that the lunches I’m packing for my son are ‘very distracting for the other students and have an unpleasant odor.'”

The OP thought the teacher had a problem with the quality of the menu she was providing.

“I told her that I understand her concerns, as the lunches I pack are definitely not the healthiest, but the lunches are according to my son’s preferences.”

“The usual lunch that I send him to school with is small celery sticks with blue cheese and goat cheese, kimchi and spam (we are Korean, and he absolutely adores this dish), and spicy Doritos marinated in Sriracha (I know, I know, but he deserves a snack, and I don’t put that many chips in the baggy).”

But the two could not come to a compromise.

“I ended the call by saying that I very much appreciated her worries, but that at the end of the day, I am not going to drastically change my sons’ lunches all of a sudden.”

“I added that it’s not my fault if other students are ‘distracted’ by his meal. It is very important to me what my son enjoys, and I want him to like my lunches.”

“The teacher sent an email to me an hour ago, saying that my response was ‘unacceptable’ and that his lunches are ‘just too inappropriate to be sent to school any longer.'”

“I haven’t responded yet and don’t want to. I want to maintain a healthy relationship with my son’s teachers. I am confused as to what to do.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some found the teacher’s comments to be incredibly inappropriate and concerning.

“Report her to the principal. Her comments regarding your son’s food are ‘disgusting’ and ‘have an unpleasant tone,’ AKA, cough cough, racist tone.”

“She’s too inappropriate to be teaching at the school any longer. NTA.” – thatshygal717

“Kimchi may smell like farts, but there are plenty of other foods that also smell like farts (cabbage rolls, kale chips, broccoli, anything). I’m betting that since white people commonly eat those foods, the teacher wouldn’t have had a problem with them. You’re NTA, OP. This teacher is a racist f**k.” – theoccasionalghost

“I saw the title and thought, ‘how much would I bet OP is not white and the teacher objected to food from their culture.’ And yep, nailed it. NTA, OP.” – RivSilver

“My oldest’s preschool teacher HATED that I sent him tuna salad sandwiches to school once a week for lunch, as it was and still is his favorite sandwich.”

“She never once brought it up to me but always told him that she thought it was stinky and that she personally didn’t like it but that she was glad he did.”

“Honestly, that rubbed me the wrong way a little bit, but I can’t believe OP’s son’s teacher would go so far. It’s ridiculous. NTA, OP. Let the principal know and let your son have what he enjoys.” – Spyro_Crash_90

“You should ask the principal if you need to escalate the issue to the school board or if she’ll deal with the teacher herself. You deserve an answer.”

“The teacher’s allowed to think the food is gross. That’s her personal opinion, but in 2023, she ought to keep her stupid opinions to herself.”

“And the other thing that irritates me about this is, if (and this is a big if!) the other kids are really ‘distracted’ by the food (read: bullying your kid about the food), this teacher isn’t going to do a good job defending your son and teaching these kids to accept differences.”

“Instead, she’s likely to join in the bullying herself. Huge bad apple racist vibes from this teacher.” – OneChrononOfPlancks

“You are NTA. If this teacher is behaving this way, you need to report her to the administration immediately. You can thank her for the email where she helpfully literally put her possibly racist thoughts in writing so you can just forward that or screenshot that right onto them. Good luck.” – AgreeablePlace4439

Others discouraged the OP from changing up her packed lunches.

“Kimchi is delicious, healthy, and not messy at all. It also really doesn’t smell that bad. I eat it almost every day. What the teacher said is racist and culturally insensitive. Kimchi isn’t going to hurt anyone.” – Ok_Tell2021

“It sounds like she feels like your food culture is what’s inappropriate. I doubt she would say the same thing if the kid was packing a fluffernutter or chicken nuggets every day, and those aren’t exactly healthy either.”

“As a matter of fact, kimchi is very healthy, and celery is pretty good too. I taught school for years, and her attitude is terrible, and I agree that she’s the inappropriate one here, not the lunch.” – Specialist_Air2158

“NTA. I’ve had a teacher talk to me about my kid’s lunches twice.”

“First one was when my son was in pre-k, and they said, ‘Please don’t send blueberries in his lunch, he puts them in his mouth and then shoots them out like a machine gun.'”

“The second one was for my daughter in grade 1, when the teacher explained, ‘The bento characters are very cute, but she keeps playing with them and doesn’t finish her lunch in time. She doesn’t want to miss recess and is understandably irritated and hungry later in the day.'”

“These are appropriate comments in a student’s lunch.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with what you pack.” – TheLastLibrarian1

“This makes me so sad, as a person and as an educator.”

“Once a year, we read ‘Carla’s Sandwich’ (summary: a kid gets made fun of for eating weird sandwiches until one day she shares with a hungry kid, and they like it) as part of our lessons about self-confidence, diversity, and kindness.”

“After, we held a brunch where students could bring their favorite food/make crazy sandwiches/share a family recipe, and it was one of our most popular segments amongst students AND parents. The only rule was ‘don’t yuck someone’s yum.'”

“We had a pretty diverse class, and this was special education, so we stayed together through high school and therefore experienced this together over several years, so it was such a special thing every year.”

“We would have sandwiches, pizza, homemade traditional Indian and Korean food, Chinese food, you name it, and the kids LOVED it. Even kids with avoidant food behaviors would try (and often like!) new things!”

“This teacher missed a huge opportunity to show how the simple act of eating a meal can bring people together in beautiful ways. It hurts my heart that so many people have had terrible experiences eating what they enjoy because of ignorance.” – captaincatcircus

“I worked part-time in a daycare when I was younger. We had one little girl whose family packed brand and rice every day for her lunch. They were vegetarian and didn’t want to risk giving their child school food.”

“It became a problem because the girl wouldn’t eat her lunch and visibly was losing weight. But did we tell the mom she couldn’t pack that lunch?”

“No. We sat down with/called mom, going over every ingredient of each food every week that we served. We found snacks and side dishes for the little girl to eat too. We encouraged her to eat the meal her mom packed, but could also offer her something if she didn’t eat what mom gave her.”

“Mom was surprised at what her kid would eat at school and incorporated those foods in her child’s meals.”

“This was over 15 years ago. This is how you handled these situations. This teacher is 100% out of line. You don’t call a parent and tell them what they can and cannot do. You try to find solutions that everyone benefits from.”

“This teacher could have asked the mom if she could make one of the dishes that could be shared (if the school was unable to make it), to share with everyone. Whenever a parent came at lunchtime, they’d always be surprised their kids would eat [any number of new foods].”

“That is how little ones learn. This teacher only cared about her own discomfort… not the well-being of the kids she taught.” – Reddits_on_ambien

The subReddit was frustrated on the OP’s and her son’s behalf after reading what the teacher had to say about their food. The teacher missed an important opportunity to talk about cultural differences and acceptance, as well as being willing to try out a wider variety of foods, especially since her core concern did not appear to be the smell.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.