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Teacher Refuses To Make Exception After Student With ADHD Turns In Essay Six Weeks Late


Being a teacher is one of the toughest jobs.

There always seems to be drama brewing.

Students are combative.

Parents are irritated.

And no one is happy with the rules.

Case in point…

Redditor phootfreek 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 for sticking to the late policy in my class even though the student has ADHD?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Reddit, I’m a high school teacher in the U[nited] S[tates] who has A[ttention] D[eficit] H[yperactivity] D[isorder] myself.”

“I wasn’t diagnosed until college and want to preface this by saying I’m not perfect.”

“For example, I have lost student’s papers before.”

“The issue at hand happened in my 10th grade class where the kids are 15-16 years old.”

“I’ve always taken off points for essays, projects, and homework assignments turned in late.”

“I explain this on day one and put it in the syllabus.”

“They lose 10% for each day it’s late but I never take off more than 50% as a late penalty.”

“Usually kids won’t turn in major projects more than 1-2 days late.”

“This year I had a student with ADHD turn in an essay 6 weeks late.”

“They did an excellent job but I only gave them a 50% because of how late it was.”

“The second essay counted for 30% of their grade for the quarter.”

“However the student’s second essay lost 40% right off the bat for being 4 class days late (about 2 weeks had passed due to the fact my class doesn’t meet everyday, weekends, school holiday).”

“This essay didn’t do a good job like the first one, but it was a different style of writing.”

“For the first essay their excuse was that it was done but they felt like they half-a**ed it and wanted to do it right.”

“It went above and beyond and was far longer than it needed to be.”

“I explained I prefer they turn something in on time rather than exceed expectations but turning it in 6 weeks late.”

“The only explanation for the second essay was that they had it saved on a specific computer at home that they didn’t have access too.”

“Their previous English teacher never really had much of a penalty for late work.”

“This student is typically an A student but they finished the first quarter of my class with a 67 or 68 and I bumped them up to a 69.5 because I pitied them and it would raise them to a C-.”

“The student was argumentative about their grade and angry with me saying it wasn’t fair.”

“In my defense, they could still earn an A for the course, but they would essentially have to maintain around a 95% average for the rest of the course including the midterm and final exams.”

“College is so expensive in the US and I don’t want to affect students averages over an assignment being a few days late.”

“But I also feel like I’m not truly preparing students for college/university/the workforce by letting them turn in work when it’s convenient with them without consequence.”

“So AITA for sticking to my policy and not boosting her grade?”

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.

“NTA. We aren’t talking about a class period or two.”

“We’re talking about 6 weeks the first time and 4 weeks the second.”

“ADHD is fairly common, lots of kids with ADHD manage to get their assignments in on time or only a little late.”

“But 6 weeks? No.”

‘There’s accommodation and then there’s no accountability.”

“What’s the point of a deadline if you don’t actually adhere to it.” ~ dazedkatwoman

“You went above and beyond for this student by bumping their grade up.”

“A lot of my teachers would only bump up a grade by rounding up to the nearest digit, not raise it by almost 2 points.”

“It sucks that their ADHD affects their school.”

“But you’ve done a lot to accommodate your students based off of your OP.” ~ therealnotrealtaako

“I agree with NTA.”

“At this age, teaching real life skills come into play.”

“One side you mentioned in your edits is yes, diverse accommodations is something to definitely be investigated and considered.”

“Other side is, if you are at a job and turn in a project 6 weeks late, you’re fired most likely.”

“Even with accommodations.”  ~ UnconcernedCat

“I have four kids.”

“They are all ADHD.”

“They are young adults now, and I am extremely grateful that they ran into teachers like you growing up.”

“Without teachers to hold them accountable, ADHD kids (actually any kids) don’t learn accountability.”

“Parents can try to teach it.”

“But if it isn’t reinforced in other areas of their lives, they think they can argue or plead their way into getting what they want, and mom and dad are just overly strict a**holes.”

“You sound like a great teacher.”

“Keep doing what you’re doing, and Thank You!” ~ crackinmypants

“I don’t think anybody is being an AH here.”

“But I just want to highjack the top comment to say that the lateness of this student sounds insane to a neurotypical person.”

“But as someone who has ADHD I can totally empathize with the thought process and outcome of these projects being so late.”

“Most people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what ADHD is and the common accommodation of simply giving extra time for tests and whatnot have led people to believe that it simply takes us a bit longer to get things done.”

“The truth is that for many with ADHD, it can be excruciating to get started on a project even when we want to do it and the sense of needing absolute perfection far outweighs any sort of social pressure associated with a deadline.” ~ sh0ck_and_aw3

“I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until adulthood.”

“Reading and listening in any circumstance was challenging.”

“That being said, I still managed decent grades in high school.”

“It of course got harder in each subsequent level of education, but at least high school was easy enough.”

“OP would not be doing the kid any favors by coddling him when life at this stage is this easy.”

“His policy was clear.”

“He gave several warnings/reminders to the kid and parents.”

“He made class time available to work on it. NTA.”

“I failed a class once bc I turned in a final paper 2 or 3 days late.”

“I deserved it.”

“Executive function disorder or not, the world keeps moving and expects you to keep up.” ~ ConfoozledCat

“NTA. 6 weeks late on HS work is crazy.”

“Wouldn’t be surprised for someone to get a zero for that.”  ~ shinyagamik

OP came back with some deets…

“EDIT: People keep asking about I[ndividualized] E[ducation] P[rogram] and accommodation plans.”

“I work at a private school that offers very limited accommodations and we have no special ed department.”

“We do not offer extended time on long assignments, we will only chunk them into smaller, more manageable pieces.”

“We only offer extended time for quizzes/tests.”

“Despite parents being aware of ADHD, I realized this student has no file, so I will definitely be talking to the guidance counselor.”

“Even though my school doesn’t offer extended time, having an IEP on file for when the student goes to college will serve them well.”

“SECOND EDIT: I also give class time.”

“They usually get around 2-3 hours of class time to write, ask me questions, do peer revisions.”

“Some of them waste their time by talking or going on their phones.”

“I tell them I’m not gonna get into arguments if they want to waste their time but that I’m always there to provide any help and support while they work.”

“Usually I have a constant line of kids asking for help so I can’t dedicate time to focus and observe this one specific student’s work habits.”

“Because then I’d to tell the 3 other kids all asking for help on their essays to hold on and by that time the line of students asking for my help will have possibly increased to 5.”

“THIRD EDIT: I did contact the parents after the first missing essay and admin knows they got a C- due to late work.”

“I tell students to talk to me BEFORE the due date to make arrangements on late work.”

“I’m pretty lenient if we come up with a plan ahead of time.”

“I tell them don’t tell me the day it’s due unless it’s something serious like a death, hospitalization, car accident, etc.”

“For example, a student recently failed a quiz.”

“I followed up and the student broke down saying it was due to family problems at home.”

“I let them complete corrections to raise their F to a C on the quiz.”

“FOURTH EDIT: Yes I’ve spoken to the student!”

“I reminded them in person and email but they would ignore me or say ‘I’ll do it.”'”

“After the second essay was 2-3 days late I finally forced them to discuss this in more detail where I explained the policy, why I have it, how it affects their grade.”

“They seemed pretty receptive until I pulled them aside the following week to discuss why they only earned a C- for the first quarter.”

“They thought it would all balance out because they got As on the quizzes and were quite upset with me when that didn’t happen.”

“Parents were already informed after the first missing essay but we have a parent-teacher conference scheduled.”

Well OP, Reddit is with you.

It sounds like you’ve done all that you can.

Late is late.

Hopefully everyone involved can come to an understanding.