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Teacher Threatens To Fail Student If She Doesn't Write Essay About Why Consuming Turkey Is Bad

RRedditor J . on Unsplash

The role of teachers in children's lives is critical.

But what should a parent do when they feel the teacher is not providing the best learning environment for their child?

Unsure they were on the right path, one parent consulted the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.

Redditor faemur asked:

"[WIBTA] for reporting my daughter's teacher for forcing my daughter to write an essay."

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

"My daughter (10F) is in fifth grade this year during this wonderful pandemic. She has been doing distant learning this entire school year."

"I have had several issues with this teacher since the start of the school year. I have spoken to her numerous times when things have come up."

"For instance, her teacher has told the students, including my daughter, to use Google whenever they need help figuring out a math problem while they are in school rather than asking her for help."

"She also always has her mic on, which wouldn't be bad, except she was talking badly about parents and saying horrible things about the kids. I don't know if she realized her mic was on at that time, but it was extremely inappropriate to say the least."

"She was very vocal about her political beliefs to the kids."

"Any kid that showed a different opinion was put on mute."

"I am a firm believer that teachers should not vocalize their political beliefs onto children. It is a very touchy subject for most people, especially now and teachers should remain neutral so as to not sway young minds."

"Each time, I have emailed her about it."

"I get it, this is all new to us and mistakes happen. It is a learning curve for all of us and that is okay."

"However, my daughter recently came to me because her teacher is now forcing them to write an essay about how they should get rid of turkey for Thanksgiving this year and go full vegetarian."

"The essay actually says that eating meat is unhealthy and goes on to talk about how unsanitary it is and how turkey contains salmonella and can kill you and that turkeys are killed inhumanely. It says to find the research to back up these claims and explain why it is better to be vegetarian."

"My daughter was not happy as turkey has always just been a tradition for our family. When my daughter brought it up to the teacher, my daughter suggested she could write an essay about how having turkey is a family tradition or about the pilgrims or about why turkey is a tradition for Thanksgiving."

"Her teacher told her that if she did not do the assignment as given, she would be given an F."

"When she told me and then showed me, I was taken aback and quite unsure of what to say. I've never had a teacher be so blatant with their personal beliefs and then shove them onto the kids for a grade."

"She's already told my daughter she would fail her if she didn't do the assignment the way the teacher wants, so I am unsure if speaking to her privately would be beneficial to my daughter."

"WIBTA if I reported her directly to the principal for forcing my daughter to write this essay?"

Redditors were asked to weigh in by declaring:

  • NTA - Not The A**hole
  • YTA - You're The A**hole
  • NAH - No A**holes Here
  • ESH - Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP would not be the a**hole if they raised their concerns with the principal.

"NTA. I agree that the assignment is unreasonable and is the teacher pushing her beliefs on the students."

"A more appropriate essay would be 'Present the pros and cons of having a turkey at Thanksgiving, and explain why one should or should not'." ~ urbansasquatchNC

"Or an opinion essay. You can't FORCE someone to choose a side, the point is to let them PICK a side. This teacher sounds very unprofessional!" ~ shynerdnextdoor

"I would say it's fair to assign a side if you're teaching persuasive skills, but the conventional thing is to divide the class in half, and assign different arguments to be represented, not force everyone to uniformly endorse your personal worldview."

"In high school, when my AP history teacher was doing a debate unit in class, he intentionally assigned us sides that conflicted with our actual beliefs about issues. (In other words, he took a poll of the class on which side we were on regarding a particular issue, and then made all of us switch sides for our paper.)"

"I ended up finding the assignment to be an incredibly useful exercise in understanding rhetoric and argument. That said, OP's daughter's teacher is definitely not doing that, but instead using her position of authority inappropriately to push her personal beliefs."

"I also think this issue (morality of meat eating) is probably a little too personal/fraught to use for an assignment like this anyway, especially for such young students. Something like 'dogs make the ideal pet' vs. 'cats make the ideal pet' would be way more appropriate." ~ Father-Son-HolyToast

"NTA. I'd go straight to the principal over this. I would make sure you have documentation- emails, notes, etc of every time you approached her about something and her lackadaisical response."

"I'd be sure to include where she told your daughter she would get an F if the essay wasn't done how she said. The teacher is not instilling any critical thinking skills and is being incredibly unprofessional." ~ Is-That-A-Fat-Joke

An "extremely strict vegetarian" weighed in with their perspective.

"WNBTA, and I say this as an extremely strict vegetarian myself. This teacher has repeatedly abused her position of power over her students and it's disgusting."

"She has every right to have her beliefs and express/enforce them in her own home, but she has zero right to do this to her students."

"You've gone the correct route by trying to talk with the teacher first on multiple occasions and now it's time to go higher up. I hope you saved all the emails back and forth because the principal may want them as support to whatever reprimand they enforce."

"I would also talk about her inappropriate behavior of talking poorly about parents and students while conducting class. She can say whatever she wants outside of class time, but when she's wearing her teacher hat, she needs to be a professional." ~ xfallenxlostx

The OP has the backing of Reddit to contact the principal with their concerns. Hopefully they can get a resolution that best seres their daughter's educational needs.