When their child is being bullied, most mothers won't hesitate to step in and make things right. But did one mother on Reddit go too far by throwing her son's bullies out of his birthday party?
On the popular subreddit "Am I The A**hole?" where Reddit users go to determine whether or not they're in the wrong for their actions, one mother tried to find out whether she overreacted in a post titled "WIBTA for going off on my son's headteacher?"
"I'm the mother of a 9 year old autistic boy. His birthday was yesterday. His school has an invite all policy and I want him to make friends so his entire class (30 kids) was there."
"I didn't find out until the day of the party but due to his school's invite all policy he had to invite a couple kids who had been giving him a hard time over his autism."
"When I got the RSVPs I called the mums and basically said 'so your kid has a problem with my kid. Here's what my son told me. Can you talk to your kid before the party because I don't want my son upset on his birthday.' Of the 3 mothers, 2 said 'oh my god I'm so sorry I'll talk to my kid ASAP' but the third went full 'well my child is a perfect angel. You probably meant someone else.' but I didn't back down and she agreed to talk to him."
"Day of the party. Less than 30 minutes in I see the three kids talking to my son. The one with the defensive mum is doing all the talking while the other 2 stand there and watch. I wait and watch in case their mums talked to them and this is an apology. Then my son bursts into tears."
"I go over to the parents who'd stayed behind and said if any of them are the parents of those 3 then take your kid and leave. This was not in front of the kids. 2 left immediately and said their kids are getting grounded, and the defensive mum also left but not before calling my son a r*tard and saying her kid didn't want to come anyway."
"Cut to today, around break time at my son's school I get a call from his teacher. She wants to talk about yesterday. I'm expecting something like the other mum wants to set up a meeting to talk about what happened. But that would be too easy. The teacher instead reminds me about the invite all policy and how the idea is to stop kids feeling excluded and I kicked out 3 kids."
"Over the phone I tell her that they were bullying my kid. She says "and you as an adult felt the appropriate response was to bully them?" I responded that as they reduced my son to tears I felt it was appropriate to ask them to leave. Teacher then says not to be surprised when my son is excluded from something."
"I'm about to go pick my son up from school. The headteacher has office hours for parents right before pick up. A solid 50% of me wants to go in there and ask why the fuck these kids were allowed to bully my son but he still has to include them and the other half of me is saying I need to calm down. "
"I'm a teacher too, in a sixth form, so we don't have the invite all rule but I've still had to deal with my fair share of entitled parents, however if I spoke to any parent like that I'd be out of a job, so I am genuinely unsure about my next move. WIBTA if I gave the head an earful over the kids and the teacher?"
"Update: I talked to the headteacher. I kept my cool. He said that what she'd said was unacceptable and he'd talk to her and I have a meeting with him, the teacher and the mother of the other boy and deal with this." -Worried-Watch
This redditor felt the mother's behavior was totally justified.
"NTA. But I think you got that from your first post before it was taken down. You have every right to be angry and every right to go in and ask for a meeting. The teacher was completely out of line." -corpusdelectable
Others felt the teacher from the story had better shape up fast.
"BRUH. you're a nice person, and it kills me because that teacher is NOT the person who you should be directing your kindness at. that teacher lost all rights and privileges to your kindness when his BUMBLING INCOMPETENCE caused your kid to be surrounded by three bullies at his birthday. That teacher deserves every bit of consequences that comes from that."
"I HATE HATE HATE it when people just let bad employees go because "it's their livelihood", ESPECIALLY when the employees are teachers who interact with kids." -inahos_sleipnir
Meanwhile, the school invitation policy might be the real villain here.
"Invite all policies are asinine. (Not your fault, I know.) Every child won't get along, even if you force them into the room with other people. Every child can't attend, even if invited."
"Requiring 20-30 invitations when venues have per-child charges, is unfair to the parents and kids who might want to go to a special place or event, but can't foot the bill for every classmate. Every parent wont' get along, etc. And, as in your case, if *facilitates* bullying."
"The school has no right to dictate what ANY parent does in regards to a child's celebrations outside the school environment. Ban bring invites to school, fine, but no way would I ever indulge a "rule" like that. If a kid wants a party with five guests, then five are all that get invited. The school can posture all they like; those rules are unenforceable." -VeryVeryTexan
Some redditors actually stood up for the policy while distancing themselves from its consequences.
"To play devils advocate or give you another side. My school had this policy too. I was really bullied in school, and this is honestly the only way I'd ever had gone to a birthday party. I would have been excluded from mostly everything while having to hear about it at school. While it sounds backwards that I'd even want to go, I still wanted to have fun and be included in things. And there would usually be one or two kids that would play with me too, so I didn't ever feel alone at the parties." -CarsonAnaDaily
One redditor pointed out the school's systemic incentives to ignore bullying.
"It's important to keep your cool, but your son is going to experience hell if you take a passive role in his bullying. The fact of matter is, it's easier for the faculty to ignore bullying than it is to address it. The amount of work and bullsh*t bureaucracy that teachers, principles etc. have to go through every single time they address a single incident of bullying creates a huge incentive to simply turn a blind eye and 'let it sort itself out'."
"The only way to ensure that your son's bullying is properly addressed is by making it a bigger pain in the a** to deal with you than it is to deal with the bullying. Now, this doesn't mean that you need to act like an a**hole, but it does mean that you can't back down. Never let them dismiss your concerns. If they refuse to do their jobs, go up the chain of command. The school has a legal responsibility to address your son's bullying, but they will ignore that responsibility if you allow them to."
"Just imagine what the school is letting happen to your son during the day if this teacher feels empowered to tell an autistic boy's mother that she is the bully for making children leave her son's birthday party after they made him cry. What is the environment like at that school that made your son's teacher think she was in the right?"
"This problem will not disappear after addressing a single off-campus incident. You need to make the school take responsibility for your son's care when they take on the role of his legal guardian every day." -scarletice
Everyone reading hoped that this situation would work itself out well!
"I think we'd all love to hear how your meeting with the teachers and the other mom goes; I'm glad you got your point across to the head and I'm glad it looks like there will be consequences of some kind for the teacher. I'm just still so mad on behalf of you and your son! If the headteacher takes anyone across his metaphorical knee, I know I want to hear about it and I doubt I'm alone." -CrouchingDomo
I think we can all agree that if children are bullying your son, those kids shouldn't be allowed at his birthday party. No mom should be held in the wrong for enforcing that!