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Mom Furious After Teacher Wants To Put Her Daughter In Special Ed Because She Needs To Eat Snacks In Class

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We are all fiercely protective of our children and how they are treated by others.

Particularly if our children are dealing with some sort of medical condition. We want to ensure their mental and physical safety.

Teachers are just some of the people we trust with our kids on a daily basis and we expect that trust to be justified. When it isn’t, it’s extremely frustrating.

This is the situation 30-year-old Reddit user Dry-Perception-1754 found herself in with her daughter and a new teacher. Frustrated, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for some perspective.

She asked:

“AITA for not thinking my daughter needs to be in special education?”

Our original poster, or OP, and her husband were forced to move earlier this year and are making the most of it:

“Around mid November my husband (33) got a new job across the country and we had to move. My daughter(8) has a very rare genetic condition.”

“One of the main issues she has is her blood sugar will drop rapidly and she gets light headed and nauseous and sometimes she passes out.”

“We’ve worked with doctors and specialists for years and she is currently on a couple of different medications to help alleviate symptoms.”

There are some other ways OP helps to manage her daughter’s condition:

“Her doctors also advise her to eat a small healthy snack every ~1.5 hours to help keep her blood sugar up. She’s had this plan for about 3 years now and this wasn’t a problem at her old school.”

“She has a watch that buzzes every 1.5 hours and she would quietly pull out her snack and eat it.”

“We never needed an IEP or 504 plan at her old school because they didn’t see it as a ‘big deal’ enough to need to put it in writing.”

Her new school is a new story.

“However, this has not been the case at her new school.”

“At the beginning of the year I explained to the school nurse, and Mrs K about my daughter’s needs and they told me that it would be fine and we wouldn’t have to have a 504 because we didn’t have one at her last school.”

But…

“According to my daughter, on her first day of school she went to pull out a snack and Mrs K told her she wasn’t allowed to eat in class.”

“About an hour goes by and A gets dizzy and nauseous so she stands to ask to go to the nurse but throws up all over her desk and workbook.” 

“I’m called to pick up A because she had gotten sick and I was told by the nurse and Mrs K that she was being allowed to eat in class when A said otherwise.”

OP took action.

“The next morning I go in and set up a 504 plan as well as bring a doctor’s note stating that A MUST eat every 1.5 hours. At the meeting I was told A would be allowed to eat in class quietly.”

“It has been a constant struggle since. After the first week, students were upset A could eat and they couldn’t, so A was told that she had to go to the nurse’s office every time she had to have a snack as to not distract the other students.”

“I didn’t know this until school let out for winter break and I’m not happy she’s missing out on class time everyday.”

OP and Mrs. K clashed.

“At our end of semester parent- teacher conference, Mrs K suggested A be moved to the special education classroom.”

“Mrs K thinks A needs to be moved due to her ‘accommodation’ of needing to eat snacks. A is currently in an advanced class and is learning 3-4th grade material and doesn’t have any issues with the material she’s being given.”

“There is nothing wrong with special education for kids who actually need it, but A isn’t one of those kids.”

“I told her that the idea that A needs to be moved is completely ridiculous and her inability to have a simple accommodation in her classroom was mind boggling.”

“Mrs K told me that she was going to recommend A be moved anyways. I ended up calling Mrs K insanely ignorant for not allowing a very simple accommodation and that I felt bad for students in her class with ‘actual’ needs.”

OP just had one question left.

“I’ve never had issues with a teacher like this before. AITA?”

Reddit stepped in with perspective by declaring one of four acronyms:

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

Reddit agreed with OP the teacher was the a**hole.

“NTA. SPED teacher here. Moving a child to a more restrictive setting should NOT happen without lots of documentation.”

“Also, if I read this correctly, your daughter currently has a 504 and not an IEP, right? I have never seen a student with a 504 moved to a SPED classroom. (Not saying it doesn’t happen, just that I have never seen it in multiple school districts in multiple states.)”

“Put your concerns in writing. Email Mrs. K, the school nurse, the SPED Director, principal, assistant principal and even superintendent. Ask for a meeting to discuss your concerns.”

“Bring in your receipts – the dates you dropped off the doctor note, the meetings with Mrs. K and the nurse, the times your daughter missed class for a simple accomadation, etc…”

“My advice? Bring an advocate. Google ‘special education advocate’ and your zip code OR take a Special Education attorney.”

“As the parent, you can invite anyone you please! Fill the room, friend!”

“Drop the terms ‘due process’ and ‘least restrictive environment’ and ‘failed to implement accommodations’ liberally during the meeting. Watch them squirm. Enjoy it.”~illij_idiot

“Oh, I like you. This one is making my blood boil. Punishing this little girl, making her sick, singling her out in a new school, all because a teacher can’t handle a quiet snack.”

“The problem here is that one bad teacher, or even a good teacher making a bad call, can have such a huge negative impact on a student.”

“NTA, OP. You fight for your little girl, don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t.”~CDM2017

“She’s not a good teacher. I say this as someone who has never personally had or worked with a teacher I disliked.”

“I love teachers. But this is shocking and unacceptable.”

“She wants to put a child with no behavior issues who is excelling in academics in special ed to avoid the super minor classroom management task of telling other students:”

“‘She has to have the snack so she doesn’t get sick, like a medicine. In class snacks are only for kids whose doctors say they need them’.”

“This woman clearly does not care about what happens to this child at all. It’s not some small mistake. It’s not an accident.”

“She’s so lazy she’d rather destroy this child’s education than deal with a single really minor thing she’d rather not deal with. It’s appalling and disgraceful. NTA.”~TheHatOnTheCat

“There is no way she should be moved to a SPED class without undergoing academic testing to see if she even qualifies for SPED services, which it sounds like she certainly wouldn’t.”

“They are trying to move her for their own convenience. Unprofessional of them and damaging to her. NTA and fight for your daughter.”~punkybluellama

After all, who would treat a child with a medical condition that requires one small accommodation with such contempt and disregard?

“NTA. Contact the 504 coordinator, principal, and district’s special education department (which likely is overall responsible for 504s as well as IEPs) – depending on the size of the district, they may also have a Compliance office.”

“This is 100% a Compliance issue. Your child has a 504 plan that is not being followed. She doesn’t need an IEP, she ABSOLUTELY does not need to be moved to a more restrictive environment.”

“She needs her teacher to FOLLOW HER GODDAMN 504 PLAN (and to not be forced to leave the classroom for the snack either, because that’s denying her educational minutes every time it happens.)”~meganskegan

“NTA. I’m an elementary classroom teacher. This is literally a 2 minute conversation with the class on the first day about different needs and having respect for others.”

“Some kids NEED fidget toys. Some kids need to drink more water or use the washroom more frequently.”

“Some kids CANNOT go outside without a hat. Some kids can’t eat peanuts. Some kids need a little extra or a little different. Period.”

“It is the teachers job to manage that. There is no funding available to just throw kids in ‘Special Programs’ who don’t actually need the extra help. There is barely enough funding for those who do.”

“This teacher would get her butt handed to her by the principal in any school I’ve ever worked in.”

“Your daughter’s rights are being trampled. You are not an a**hole to stop that from happening.”

“Speak up, go up the food chain. If the admin is uncooperative then the only thing I can say is it’s a terrible school.”~easytigerpinklady

“NTA. I don’t know the process of taking this complaint higher since I’ve been out of school for a while and don’t have kids, but you 100% need to reach out to someone higher up the food chain.”

“Maybe go to the principal about it, and the superintendent from there if the principal is no help. Maybe it is possible somehow to put her in a different class, with a different 3rd grade teacher.”

“Your daughter has the right to a quality education, and if she doesn’t need a special Ed classroom then she’s not going to learn what she should be learning at her age and grade level there.”

“She deserves better than this treatment and is effectively being bullied by a teacher.”

“Mrs K sounds like she is either power tripping by singling your daughter out, or is too lazy to teach all the other 8 year olds in an age-appropriate way that sometimes people have different health needs that deserve to be accommodated and taken care of.”~VirgilThe2nd

“NTA. File a complaint with the school district, her teacher is not only an a**hole; she is breaking the law.”

“Letting her eat snacks is a perfectly reasonable accommodation, the teacher cannot prevent it and trying to switch her to a special ed class is absurd.”

“The teacher just doesn’t want to deal with the other kids whining I guess but that is not your problem and certainly not your daughters, and it certainly does not warrant switching her out of a mainstream class.”

“The law requires that students be placed in the least restrictive environment, not put in a special ed class or sent to the nurses office (also ridiculous!!!) because their teacher is useless.”~Javyswag

Redditors felt this teacher was both unfair and unjust—and might be breaking U.S. law.

“NTA. That is incredibly simple, and this Mrs K is going out of her way to be a pain.”

“A needing to eat regularly is not a difficult accommodation and the fact that this teacher is letting it affect her lessons is very alarming. You should get the school principal involved.”

“I think A’s fellow students need information. If you explain to them why A has to eat every 1.5 hours and what happens if she doesn’t, I’m sure they’d come to understand and accept it.”

“When I was a kid one of the other kids’ moms came in one day to explain to the class that her son had Tourette’s, what it was, what it meant for his behaviour and how we could help him if he needed it.”

“That creates understanding and respect and takes away ignorant, bullying behaviour. Maybe this might help A’s class too.”~lorelorelei

“NTA. Sending your daughter out of class to eat her snack can be considered a violation of her 504. Is the teacher is sending your daughter out of class because the other kids are complaining that your daughter gets a snack and they don’t?”

“If so, a simple explanation of ‘she has a medical condition and you don’t’ should have been more than sufficient enough to handle the problem.”

“Instead, she’s made a big deal of it. Definitely take this to admin and get your daughter out of that class.”~desert_red_head

“NTA. I’ve heard so many horror stories from people who were put in special ed when they didn’t belong there at all (schools do this with neurodivergent kids too).”

“And 90% of the time it was because teachers felt it would be easier to put them at a class level that wasn’t right for them instead of accommodating them.”

“My moms friend has a daughter my age with an intellectual disability, and when we were in high school the school wanted to put her in the special ed class.”

“Her mom fought them on that, because while the standard courses weren’t the right fit for her, the special ed courses weren’t advanced enough, and she wouldn’t learn anything.”

“In the end the school paid for her to attend a specialized school, because her mom fought to make sure she’d be learning. You’re doing the right thing.”~Mudkippey

“NTA. However, as an educator, I have to add that there are many steps and objective qualifications A must meet to be placed into special education – the opinion of only one person involved in the process means almost nothing.”

“The process begins at the suggestion of one of the student’s teachers, but once that starts, many people are involved in many ways.”

“We recently went through the process with a student we were all certain would be placed and who we felt truly needed the level of help afforded to special education students in our school.”

“Her test scores (some are academic, but they test many things, including social abilities, speech, etc.) did not allow her to be placed.”

“So it’s not likely anything will come from this process anyway, though it will be arduous for A and possibly you guys as parents depending on how far they go with it.”

“That said, you need to reread her 504 plan (which they are right to require, even if her old school didn’t) and remind them that the accommodation listed there must legally be met exactly as written.”

“If necessary, have another meeting to rewrite the 504 to say that A can eat in class, or at most, step into the hallway and right back in once she’s done.”

“Make sure you’re choosing quiet snacks to a reasonable extent, as it is only fair to avoid disruptions even while meeting a medical need.”

“An administrator, the teacher, and the school psychologist are usually present in these meetings.”

“Since A’s need is medical, the school nurse may also join to stay in the loop. Happy to answer any questions you might have if I can.”

“I agree this teacher is handling the situation extremely poorly and should be doing more to accommodate A’s needs in a way that does not alienate her.”

“Any idea her experience level? Just asking out of professional curiosity. I’m sorry she’s going through this, and you by extent. Hopefully teach calms down once she realizes her suggestion won’t go very far.”~PurpleProboscis

Parenting a child is already difficult.

Hopefully OP finds the right solution for her daughter sooner rather than later.

Mike Walsh

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.