in , ,

Parent Balks After Teacher Demands They Replace Phone Daughter Allegedly Destroyed With Magnet

Laura Chouette/Unsplash

As much as we all would like to always believe the best about the people around us, the truth of the matter is that sometimes they make it really hard for us to continue to do so.

Especially when a person does something to swindle someone else out of their money, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Conscious_Koala_7009 thought something was up when their daughter’s first-grade teacher began to demand they replace her phone, as she was certain their daughter had broken it.

With their husband urging them to keep the peace, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure whether to protect their funds or do as their husband suggested.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for not covering a phone my child broke?”

The OP recently learned of an activity their daughter’s teacher hosted in class.

“My daughter is in 1st grade, and her teacher had a class where the teacher distributed magnets and had the students see what they could stick to and were walking around the classroom doing this.”

“The teacher’s phone got destroyed during this exercise because one of the students stuck a magnet on it.”

The teacher ended up contacting the OP over the exercise.

“The teacher asked the class if they knew who touched her phone, and one student spoke up and said they saw my daughter do it.”

“My daughter claims she did not do it.”

“The teacher is asking me to reimburse her for the cost of the phone.”

The OP felt reluctant to do such a thing.

“I told her absolutely not, especially since she didn’t have her phone put away when encouraging 1st graders to stick magnets on things.”

“Plus, the kids that said she saw my daughter could be lying.”

“My husband thinks we should keep the peace and replace the phone, while I think my daughter did not do it.”


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 said the teacher should have better prepared for that classroom activity.

“NTA. Even IF your daughter stuck the magnet to the phone, the teacher had literally told her to stick magnets to things. The teacher should keep her valuables put away.” – hockeypup

“Teacher: OK children, time to stick magnets to things!”

“Kids: stick magnets to things, including things magnets should not be stuck to.”

“Teacher: surprised Pikachu face.” – retired-penguin

“How did the teacher not know to tell students to be careful and not put it on electronics!”

“Our school district gives the kids ipads in 1st and we have a LONG talk about magnets and electronics before the kids get to do this experiment (this is a standard 1st-grade experiment where they have to make a hypothesis and then run the experiment as a class.)” – KSknitter

“Cell phones are seldom cheap, and they always contained treasured photos, cell phone numbers, etc.”

“That teacher should have put her phone away BEFORE encouraging the kids to stick their magnets onto every available surface.” – Marzipan_Shepherdess

“This is a liability thing. Why is her phone out? My sister works in a high school and her phone needs to be in a desk drawer and not be visible because it promotes a bad example to her students.” – millioneura

“NTA. Any teacher who doesn’t have their phone put away during class is a teacher who doesn’t get to play the victim when their phone gets broken.” – NUT-me-SHELL

“It’s not just that her phone shouldn’t have been out for this activity. It shouldn’t be out at all. I have to remind my college students that they cannot have their phones out during class, and it’s a lot harder when they grew up with teachers who have their phones out during class.”

“Accommodations for disabilities are obviously different circumstances. I have not personally seen an accommodation that included a cell phone since all of my students have laptops, but I have never and would never stand in the way of a recommended accommodation.” – SincerelyCynical

“A teacher having a phone ‘out’ and ‘using it’ are vastly different.”

“My admin and coworkers frequently text me important info. I am expected to have my phone available and at least on vibrate so I can be reached. We don’t have landlines in most of our classrooms, but a text doesn’t interrupt the lesson the way a phone call does, so that’s not even an equal option.”

“My phone is in my pocket or out and in sight at all times. When it’s not on my person, the students know not to touch it, even first graders.”

“If the teacher can’t prove that OP’s kid did it, she can’t expect OP to pay for it, but just ‘put the phone away’ isn’t necessarily possible or best practice. If a kid touched my phone without permission and broke it, believe me that I’d expect their parents to replace it.”

“If a child was able to break the phone with a magnet, the teacher obviously wasn’t using or even paying attention to her phone.” – fastyellowtuesday


“Doesn’t matter which kid did it. They are not at fault. The teacher left the phone out and told the kids to put magnets on things. 100% the teacher’s fault. I would bypass the teacher and go straight to admin with this demand.” – tatersprout

Others were skeptical about the damage to the iPhone.

“It’s extremely unlikely that a magnet would damage an iPhone. H**l, I have a pretty strong neodymium magnet on the back of my phone for a car phone mount.”

“The whole ‘don’t put magnets near electronics’ is mainly for hard disk drives where it could damage it, but iPhones have solid-state drives.” – Flleaz

“I’m thinking perhaps the phone was already damaged and the teacher left it out deliberately, knowing it would only be a matter of time before a child put a magnet on it like she told everyone to do, and then she could use the opportunity to get a replacement phone.” – Doolie12000

“It would have to be very powerful magnets to permanently damage most electronic devices, even excluding the fact that even very powerful magnets can’t harm most smartphones.”

“Any teacher that hands out individual powerful magnets to a bunch of 6/7-year-olds should not be allowed to supervise children.”

“Maybe pass one set around the class, or demonstrate for them. No responsible person would give them out to all of them at that young of an age.”

“I think she planned this. She probably handed out whiteboard magnets and used the opportunity to scam for a new phone.” – Stickleshlop

“Being as generous as possible, it broke at the same time, unrelated, and the teacher doesn’t understand about phone and magnets.”

“Which, considering she’s 1st grade and likely not a science specialist, that could be the case.” – eletheelephant

“Magnets CAN damage phones but the strength of magnets kids would be playing with isn’t even close. MagSafe chargers are probably stronger magnets.”

“A strong electromagnet could probably destroy a phone, though.” – skellious

“Also, magnets don’t completely ruin phones like that. To ruin a phone sold today you would need magnet powers that would make the first graders fly across the room to the next magnetic object. And I am pretty sure that didn’t happen.” – J_lmn

“I literally had a student throw my phone as I was using it for work-related purposes. 5-year-old. That’s why it has a heavy-duty case and two screen protectors. Also why I don’t pay more than $150 for a phone.”

“I wouldn’t think to charge the parents when I’m taking the risk by letting it near a kid. I’ve had kids fish it out of my pocket and throw it.”

“I work with a group that is known to be destructive. Heck, it’s always safer to assume that any kid is gonna be destructive. If you value it, don’t leave it in the reach of a kid.” – InfuriatedBadger

“Just no.”

“From Google: ‘No, a magnet will not damage your smartphone’s… And the reason why not is simple: your phone’s components are not magnetic. If they aren’t magnetic, they cannot be disturbed by magnets in your phone’s case. Apple iPhone and Android devices use NAND flash memory, which is not affected by magnets.’ Oct 7, 2021” – EggAndSpoon48

After reading the comments, the OP shared an update.

“One of the commenters here has informed me that modern iPhones cannot be damaged by magnets, so this instructor is trying to con me into replacing her damaged phone.”

“I looked it up, and it seems new phones are not affected like the devices I grew up with.”

The subReddit was immediately suspicious of the story the teacher had told the OP and wondered if she was either trying to pull a fast one with multiple parents for extra funds or if she had a broken phone that she was hoping someone would help her replace.

Either way, the teacher needed to find another means to replace her phone than contacting parents about it, especially when it may or may not have been caused by a classroom activity she personally hosted.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit