As a teacher, it can be a difficult task when it comes to not only their students but the students' parents. But when parent drama arises, the teachers have a good take on how to hand the situation.
Accusations And E-mails Before School Started?
“I had a parent send me emails before school even started that were accusatory (‘U KNOW U R A LIAR’) because she claimed I was friends with her ex-husband’s new wife. I wasn’t. Didn’t even know the lady.
The entire year I tried to avoid her because she was clearly ‘Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs.’
At one point I told her I would never meet with her one on one and that every message/email she sent will be sent to our principal. She stayed pretty far away from me until the field trip.
We arrived to the school after a long day and she ripped into me about ruining everyone’s lives, that I’m a liar, I am a fraud, fake….just anything and everything she could think of/pronounce (but for sure not be able to spell). The daughter was caught in the middle between both parents and fed them each complete lies to pin them against one another. Her next casualty was me. I tried to keep calm but burst out crying after she left, still trying to rip me apart in front of 150 parents.
My principal was supportive and told her to leave the campus but I like to think karma took care of dealing with her, for me. She ended up being sent to jail for a while for something stupid.”
Having To Show Proof He Really Did Receive An ‘F’
“When I taught, I sent home graded tests to be signed so that I knew the parents were at least aware of what was going on during each grading period. One kid who received an F decided to take a girl’s test (I think she got a B), erase her name, and bring it back signed by his parents. The parent checked the grade book online and sent me a note requesting a parent teacher conference. They were infuriated that the child received an F, when they had clearly signed the test that showed a B. I agreed to hold the conference, and she came in the next morning… and she came in HOT. I explained that he had brought home someone else’s test and changed the name.
I took about 10 minutes of verbal abuse from this lady about how her son is a good kid, and that I was lying to her, and so on. I just sort of blankly stared and took her stuff. Once she paused for a moment, I opened my desk and took out:
1) The ‘B’ test she had signed.
2) A photocopy of the girl’s original test that I had taken before sending the originals home, with the girl’s name on it.
3) A photocopy of her son’s original test, with an F on it.
I passed these across the table and explained what he had done again, and showed her proof. I made sure to also point out the vast differences in the neat, bubbly handwriting on one test (hers) and the scrawling nonsense on the other (his). She looked at her son for a second, looked back at me, said, ‘I’m sorry,’ and walked out.”
Claiming Her Child Was In Class…
“Student skips class. I send an all-staff email to see if the student can be accounted for in another class. No response. I write the referral and contact the student’s mother to inform her of the circumstances of the referral.
The mother proceeds to go Full Hulk, insisting that her child was in the classroom and that I did not see her. I explain that attendance records are legal documents and that her child’s whereabouts could not be confirmed elsewhere on campus. She proceeds to screech at me, insisting that I should ‘open [my] eyes while taking attendance’ and that I don’t know how to do my job and that I should be fired. I calmly explain that she’s welcome to speak with the administration, then politely end the conversation (read: hang up) when she starts to spit expletives, saying I should be fired and that she’s leaving her place of work to ‘have a conference’ with me. I warn the principal, then teach my next class.
A couple periods later, my principal walks into the room and lets me know that she handled it. The parent pounded her fists on the principal’s desk, demanded that coverage is sent to my room so that I could be present for the ‘conference’. The principal would not allow her to talk to me but instead called down the student.
The principal pulled up the security camera footage and located the student wandering campus. The mother screeched that I did not do my job and that I should be fired. In the end, the student admitted to the entire ordeal and was issued a suspension. When they returned, I didn’t address it. I let her stew in her own stupidity for the remainder of the year (a week or two).
The only one who apologized was the principal. Teaching is a thankless job, but apparently, there are no limits.”
Purposefully Putting Herself In Negative Situations?
“It was not exactly a parent, but the aunt of one of my students (legal guardian from what I gather) called myself and the other teachers on my team into a meeting concerning bullying accusations that the student was claiming that took place outside of school.
Essentially, her niece was not invited to a party and the girls at the party prank called her and said some vulgar comments towards her. It’s a tricky situation because these events did not happen on school grounds but the argument was made that it contributed to her niece’s academic decline, so the administration gave the girl ‘in charge’ of the bullying in-school suspension. The aunt also complained about her niece being around a boy with behavior problems and said he would be a ‘bad influence’ on her, saying that the boy was constantly pestering her and whatnot. So, we agreed to keep the two separated as best as we could in the hallways and in class.
Well, it turns out the girl was actually putting herself in those situations, she was sitting with the group of girls who supposedly bullied her and they seemed jovial, and SHE was the one flirting with the boy too. So after a few weeks went by after the parent meeting, she sends all of us a rather…distasteful email about how we are not doing our jobs by allowing the students to be near each other. As a first year teacher coming in mid-way through the year, I bit my tongue as far as my email response went but I voiced my opinion to the team leader, who essentially summed up all of our comments by saying, ‘Your niece is purposely doing this, her grades are fine, we understand you’re trying to be protective but she is the one actively seeking the attention of everyone.’
She, of course, didn’t like that and said that we were short-changing her niece’s education and that we should move people, to which I replied, ‘Doing so would negatively impact their education, we cannot fulfill that request. Have a long discussion with your niece.'”
Rich Mom Who Thinks She Can Micromanage…
“This woman, who we will call Mrs. B, was the wife of one of the richest dudes in the city. Their family owned professional sports teams, buildings, businesses, you name it, they own it.
The kids are a little off, living a life so vastly different from others will do that.
Que the outdoor education trip.
We were taking the kids to a 4-day cabin/camping trip. All the summer-ish activities. Hiking, swimming, sailing, etc.
Leading up to the trip this woman came to visit me every day. I am the lead outdoor education teacher, with something wrong. The group wasn’t right for her daughter, the food wasn’t right (she claimed her kid was gluten free even though the kid told me personally she wasn’t). Every day for two weeks leading up to the trip I dealt with this.
The day we were to leave, I email my administration to document all of the problems and simply say: ‘I am convinced she will write a report up on me, I have done the best I can and here is the list of current accommodations.’
The trip goes great, kids have a blast, as do I. There is truly nothing better than taking a bunch of kids who don’t get enough time away from high-performance lives and just letting them run around outside for a few days. The girl in question even has a great time! I also make sure that I check in, more than needed, to keep tabs on her. Documented her responses, just in case.
Anyways, we make it home. Kids all get picked up, I store the gear. I make my way home and crack a beer. Then my phone lights up…it’s my administrator.
My boss is laughing and asks if I have checked my email yet. I ask if it’s Mrs.B. It is.
Apparently, her daughter made it home and is both mentally and emotionally disturbed from the gross conversations that occurred at night in the girl’s cabin. The cabin of 14-year-old girls was talking about inappropriate things, at some point. And now her perfect child is spoiled because ‘I failed at protecting her daughter’s mental and emotional safety while on vacation.’
Now if anyone out there has organized a trip for 50 teenagers let alone 50 teenage girls, and then personally lead the entire thing, knows that this is very far from a vacation.
She tries to get me fired, and the student who brought up the inappropriate conversations got expelled. I even tried to sit outside the school with homemade notes explaining how 14-year-olds shouldn’t know anything about sex. Mrs. B is a huge financial contributor to the school so this pretty much needs to be dealt with in secret.
I meet with her, a counselor and my bosses to explain that these conversations are natural and healthy. We can’t put a male staff or any adult in a cabin of 14-year-old girls to supervise them. This is not regular procedure and is awkward and inappropriate for all involved. Ps, I am a male.
She threatened to go to the paper – we said she had every right too, but would only be making a good experience for the kid’s something to be regretted.
She eventually gave up. However, she did find me at graduation a few months later and she was wasted. She proceeded to try to humiliate me again, didn’t work.
I ended up taking her kid on several outdoor ed trips and helped her kid finish her Duke of Education award. She eventually thanked me when I left the school for all the wonderful trips I organized. She seems to have forgotten about the time she tried to ruin my career.
Turns out, in the worst of it, she was divorcing her husband. I figured a lot of her stress was being pointed at me. I get it. I just stayed professional and kept the experience for the kids the focus, not some crazy woman who is having a hard time. I felt for her kids though, you could see this behavior was having some serious negative impacts on their mental health.”
Parents Hounded Everyone About A Grade Change
“18 years as a high school art teacher, in a middle-class suburb of Chicago. The worst parent I ever had was actually a teacher, himself, in my district.
I had a kid who was a senior in my spring semester photography class, 2003. He was a good kid, smart, but he got senioritis, he got a crush on the girl sitting next to him…he’d checked out. But not so badly checked out, he got a B+. Now you’re probably thinking that’s not a bad grade. But to this parent, it was a dishonor.
Anyhow, the last day of school I’d put in my grades, which back then were not put in through the electronic grade book we have now; it was done with Scantron bubble sheets. I’d been hounded a bit by this parent, but I shrugged him off as another helicopter, figured I would not hear from him again. As I was getting ready to leave for the summer, someone in my office said that the parent was on the phone. I told him to say I’d left for the summer. As I walked out to the parking lot, I could hear my name being paged on the overhead for a phone call, which I ignored. The parent had a counselor friend tell him what the grades were as they came in, that’s how he knew so fast.
Skip ahead one week. I’d left Chicago on a road trip out to Oregon and Washington. As I walked down the beach along the coast in Olympia national park, my cell phone goes off. It was this kid’s counselor begging me to meet with the parent and her to discuss the B+. I told her no way. But he did not give up, he hounded my principal and that counselor all summer.
Finally about a week into the next school year, my principal was so beaten down by this guy, that she asked me to just meet with him for a few minutes. The kid in question was already a month into college. Also, the parent asked to ‘open the books.’ Basically, that means to open my submitted list of grades to bring them into question, to re-tally them all in a meeting. Asking to open the books is basically saying you have no confidence in said teacher. So after re-tallying my grades, the grade was kept at a B+. But he still had the stupidity and balls to ask me to change it to an A-. I just walked out.”
She Almost Got Fired For This Ridiculous Assumption…
“I taught private preschool which was a lot more like an actual school than a day care. We taught them how to read and write, speak Spanish and learn math early on and it was a great program. Kids flourished!
I taught science in the afternoon and physical education in the morning. I had a segment about yoga and all my 3-year-olds loved it! It taught them how to stretch and focus and learn about their little bodies and one little boy was so excited about it, that he ran up to his mom when it was pick up time and told her all about it!
Well, mom thought I was teaching her son Hinduism which meant I was letting Satan into her kid’s heart. He had to stay out of my class when I taught it to his friends or play quietly.
I watched that child break, watching everyone do something he loved. He became a different kid and it was obvious he had a passion for many things his parents didn’t want him to explore. He couldn’t even be in the school play for Halloween or dress up.
The worst part of it wasn’t the parent yelling at me for almost an hour and almost getting fired over it but watching a child feel left out of something he really loved because his mother was a raging brat.”
Changing The Mother’s Opinions On The Assigned Book!
“We were doing a unit on satire and I assigned ‘A Modest Proposal,’ by Jonathan Swift.
Two days later, I got an angry email asking me what was wrong with me and why I would ever think it appropriate to assign a piece of literature in which eating babies is sincerely advocated. She called me some nasty things and went to the principal asking that I be fired for corrupting the youth.
I calmly explained that the purpose of the piece was satire and she didn’t get it. I had to walk her through everything, explaining that Swift wasn’t actually proposing eating Irish babies, but he was highlighting the notion that the English were treating the poor Irish like absolute trash, and most people didn’t care at all. But when he went to the extreme and said, ‘Well, let’s eat the tasty little things,’ everyone freaked out about treating anyone so poorly. He used satire to accomplish his goal of shining a light on such a sensitive subject and it worked.
It took the mom a while to figure it out, but when she got it, she was very interested in satire. I never got an apology from her, but she left me alone to teach the kids after that.”
Her Son Was Being ‘Singled Out’
“I had a student with honest medical needs, and he had a 504 plan which allowed him extra time. However, he was a sweet-but-lazy middle school boy. He wasn’t too concerned about doing his work, even when given the extended time, his plan dictated. He turned in an assignment and answered 5 of 25 questions. I offered for him to redo it for half credit, and he was fine with the score he had. Mom didn’t have a problem with me until his grade started to drop to a D and I called her to notify her.
Then, all of a sudden, I ‘wasn’t following his 504’ and I was ‘singling him out,’ when he has a medical issue blah blah. (Other things came into play with this, also, but they’re pretty specific). I could see the red flags and began documenting every single assignment the kid did, the date I gave it to him, the date it was due, for him, the date he actually turned it in and any suggestions I gave him as far as completing it, etc. Sure enough, mom soon calls a meeting with the principal, me, the special ed coordinator, etc. She sat across from the table from me and blatantly lied about what I was doing for her son, how I was treating him, etc. She specifically said, ‘She’s not even following his 504 plan. He is supposed to get extra time!’ It was everything I could do to keep my mouth shut. My principal glanced at me and could see me practically seething. Luckily, I had explained the situation and he totally had my back.
Long story short, the meeting ended and she still wasn’t happy, but he wasn’t going to get moved from my classroom (which is what she wanted) because I was, in fact, following his 504 plan. He ended up in a different study hall period to keep caught up. (She was mad that he was going to be ‘singled out’ by being put into a smaller study hall. You know, that class most people take to sleep and draw). He ended up doing fine because his study hall teacher stayed on his butt. That mom still bad mouthed me throughout the years, though.”
The Cure For Her Son?
“The mom of one of my students was convinced that if we wrote the perfect IEP, we could cure her son’s autism. She brought lawyers to school meetings, made ridiculous demands of the school, and seemed to enjoy making school staff afraid of her. Every one of my co-workers, including administrators, was terrified of her and would bend over backward to make her happy.
I knew she was full of lies and got off on this type of drama and attention, so I didn’t give her the time of day. I would respond to one email from her a day (she usually sent 5-6 to each teacher) and if she sent me more I’d ignore them.
In meetings, if she slung accusations at me, I’d simply pull up the data I took on her kid and calmly read it to her. I refused to be a part of her pathological need for attention. Plus, I hated my boss and was sick of the broken education system, so I really didn’t give any cares about making this demon of a woman, happy.”
His Naive Parents Thought A Bit Too Highly Of Him…
“I used to teach at a private high school. I had a freshman boy who was constantly giving me trouble – refusing to do his work, showing up tardy with no excuse, texting during class, etc. Now, it was not the worst behavior I’ve ever seen but annoying and consistent.
One day, he strolled in 10-ish minutes late, talking on his phone. Noooope. I told him to keep on walking to the vice principal’s office. As he left the room, he said to whoever he was talking to on the phone, ‘Sorry, my terrible teacher is sending me to the office.’ NOPE.
Obviously, he was suspended and there was a major conference with his parents. During that conference, the mother continually denied that her son called me inappropriate names because he ‘doesn’t cuss.’ Uh…okay. His son was then called in to join the conference. His explanation for his behavior (said in front of his mother)? I was acting like ‘a little brat.’ Neat-o!”
Drama Over Christopher Columbus?
“Former high school English teacher here. Our curriculum was mapped out by the district, but my principal let us supplement with outside material to ‘help make it relevant’ to the students.
We were reading excerpts from the journals of Christopher Columbus, about coming to America. I was trying to hammer home the concept of bias, so we also read an excerpt from Howard Zinn that criticized Columbus. He had just recently been a guest on The Daily Show, so I showed a clip of the interview where he was discussing how he researched and wrote.
Had a very nasty letter from a parent about how I was showing liberal propaganda, and her child wasn’t allowed to watch that trash because they were patriots. Included was a picture of the child’s father in full military dress standing with George W. Bush.
I was baffled, and I was a new teacher so I was scared of the potential fallout.
My principal, bless him, just said, ‘Lay out what standards viewing the clip, hit and it’s all good.’ When I called the parent to explain the purpose of showing the clip, she laughed it all off and just said she wanted me to know how proud they were to be Americans. I was like, ‘What the heck?’
I still giggle thinking about that dang picture and its absolute lack of relevance.