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Parent Refuses To Let Teen Daughter Skip School For Ballet Audition Since ‘School Comes First’

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Likely all of us can remember a time when we had a big dream that we wanted to pursue, only for it to fizzle out for logistical reasons.

Having someone in our corner who would help us figure out those details could have made a world of difference, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

But Redditor CorrectWash9698 wasn’t sure if they were ready to navigate the hurdles that would lead their daughter to become a dancer full-time and for her to pursue a career as a ballerina.

But since their daughter only needed to miss a day of school for the time being, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure if they should play along and simply see how the audition went.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for not letting my daughter skip school for an audition?”

The OP’s daughter was interested in pursuing dance.

“My daughter is 14 and just started high school. She is also very into ballet, even going to New York over the summer for a ballet intensive.”

“She’s still pretty much in that mindset, constantly talking to her friends from the intensive and claiming that she needs to take her dancing to the next level.”

But the OP wasn’t ready to compromise on things like school schedules.

“She wants to travel for an audition next Friday.”

“I said absolutely not, she shouldn’t be missing school for ballet, school comes first.”

“She claims that she’ll make everything up.”

“She also said that her friends are going because they’re homeschooled so they have more flexibility.”

“I told her that I am not pulling her out of school for dance.”

The OP felt conflicted after talking to their partner.

“I’m pretty set, but my partner is starting to listen to her.”

“They’ve pointed out that she’s always been a good student, hasn’t let ballet get in the way of school before, and that we should let her go this time and see how it goes.”

“We’ve come to a standstill, and I’m wondering if I’m the one being an a**hole here.”


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 disagreed with the OP and said the daughter should go audition.

“My girls are competitive gymnasts, and they miss school on occasion to compete.”

“It’s rare, and I let their teachers know in advance so we can plan, to ensure they don’t fall behind. If we travel, we may bring schoolwork with us. Sometimes the teacher just asks that they keep up on reading.” – mommak2011

“She’s going to miss, what, a few days of school at the most? And she’s 14? It’s not like she’s going to miss learning anything life-changing in high school, especially if she said she’ll make everything up.” – smallsaltybread

“Also, it’s a Friday early in the school year. She’s not likely to miss a test or anything major. And kids in sports miss school all the time. OP is being a hard a** for not one good reason.”

“If she’s good enough be in NY for ballet stuff over the summer, there’s a good chance she could be getting into a ballet school or get a scholarship for it later, especially if she puts on the extracurricular time now.”

“OP, you’re not helping your kid. You’re probably hurting her future chances here.” – GoddessArtemis85

“I’ve honestly missed a ton of school in high school for extracurricular activities and my parents supported it 100% as long as I kept my grades up.” – canadiangirl

“School sports, band, academic competitions… there is a reason why student-athletes of all kinds must keep their grades up.”

“Part of the deal is that you get special privileges of sometimes leaving school early or even traveling, but only if your grades are up to par. I don’t see any difference in this.” – Dommichu

Others said there were arts-based schools the OP’s daughter could attend instead.

“If she came to the Central Penn Youth Ballet (CPYB) school in Carlisle, PA., she would go to all core classes in the morning at the high school, and then ballet all afternoon and evening. It’s the only ballet school in the US that is allowed to use Balanchine’s choreography for ‘The Nutcracker.'”

“Every summer we have flocks of ballet dancers come for the summer intensives. The parents of one of my son’s friends have several ‘ballet houses’ that they rent out rooms and have house parents to watch the girls.”

“Other families move to Carlisle for their kids’ ballet ambitions.” – Old-Mention9632

“Competition at a high level in things that are not school-sponsored is always going to take compromise or alternative solutions.”

“I’m not surprised that the other dancers are homeschooled. When I was competing for a high level in horseback riding, many other kids were homeschooled. In down times we’d sit together, me doing make-up school work, them doing home school lessons.”

“When it comes to school-sponsored activities/clubs, there is no question about missing classes because the school is encouraging it. My sister and I would get to miss days at a time for conferences/competitions for things like theater and choir.”

“Football players, baseball players, basketball players (etc, etc, etc) all get to miss class for tournaments and travel, too. The school requires passing grades, and you’re good to go.”

“OP, if ballet was offered through the school and your daughter was going to miss her regular classes due to a school ballet event, would you question it at all?” – SCVerde

“The career of a dancer is very short to the point that there are high schools for dancers to attend while pursuing their career. Perhaps you should consider having her attend one if she really is serious about making this a career path.” – kissiemoose

“The sheer initiative it shows from her daughter… You can’t stifle that, you’ve gotta harness it.”

“Honestly, I feel like some parents (while they’re doing their best) are trying to cling to these sets of arbitrary ‘principles’ for parenting they have heard somewhere and are trying to emulate, but they are so often misapplied.”

“Like… you have to be able to make contextually sound, case-by-case decisions as a parent about what is in your kid’s best interest.”

“Sometimes allowing them to take initiative, experience something new, get a glimpse of what their future might look like and if they even want to pursue it, and have some freakin family time while you’re at it.”

“Some of my fondest memories growing up were occasionally breaking from the routine.”

“Do you want your kid to learn to arbitrarily follow authority, not question or advocate for themselves, fall in line… or do you want them to be engaged citizens, critical thinkers, and to be able to move confidently through the world?” – jtgibggdt

“This is the case for so many young elite-level athletes. I went to a school that specifically had programs for artists and athletes that allowed us more leeway in our classroom hours so we could go to auditions/rehearsals and tryouts/games/tournaments/competitions (depending on the program obviously).”

“The school also had a professional development program that allowed us to meet with scouts, polish our resumes and portfolios, develop audition material, and showcase our abilities.”

“Unfortunately for those types of things, if you don’t get your foot in the door when you’re young, you’re going to be at a serious disadvantage compared to your peers.”

“If you don’t have access to a school like that, you’re likely going to end up homeschooled, especially if you’re looking at receiving funding (aka most of my friends that were elite gymnasts since it was the one program my school didn’t have).”

“OP, if your daughter is very serious about this, maybe it’s time to consider if she could benefit from this type of schooling system.”

“I know many large ballet companies and highly regarded studios have relationships with schools (both public and private) in order to help serious dancers with professional development while keeping them in school and maintaining their grades. It seems like if she’s very serious about pursuing it, this could only be beneficial.” – TheRestForTheWicked

A few pointed out, however, that ballet was a uniquely physical investment.

“The OP is at a real fork in the road here. Ballet dancers start their careers young (and often end them young). If the OP’s daughter is serious about pursuing ballet as a career, there is a good chance that will mean missing school and doing makeup/pursuing non-traditional school options to fill the gap.”

“Not being willing to make that level of commitment will likely relegate ballet to a hobby as she will probably be behind her peers.”

“It’s not an easy decision, especially when we are talking about a career in the arts that could be ended abruptly by a simple injury and is often associated with negatives like body image issues. The OP has some serious thinking to do.” – 0biterdicta

“It’s a hard one too because ballet can be fucking life-ruining in terms of injuries and body image issues/eating disorders. I still say let her miss a day for auditions but with ballet specifically, I get being concerned.”

“It’s a well-documented issue with ballet specifically though. Anecdotal of course, but the former dancers I know who are in their 20s and 30s now are not well. It’s an industry that considers you old and washed up by your very early 20s. The girls I know have horrific body image issues and EDs that were encouraged by their coaches.”

“Again, I’m not saying that’s everyone and I’m not saying OP is negligent, and I do think the kid should be able to skip a day for auditions. But what I will say is that when it comes to very dangerous and potentially damaging things like ballet and football I get being incredibly cautious.” – Herslookingatmekid

“After they spit you out, you don’t have education/work experience to get started in an alternative career. A lot of gymnasts end up at Cirque du Soleil, or coaching at gyms.” – penninsulaman713

The subReddit was divided on this one, right down to the parent’s intentions. While some thought the parent was essentially being malicious or overly strict for no reason, others thought the parent had the best intentions at heart, even if they were being poorly executed.

Most could agree, however, that one day of school undeniably would not ruin the rest of the OP’s daughter’s high school career, whether or not she was talented enough or committed enough to go the distance with her dancing career.

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.