No Reading Allowed
“I taught elementary school and I had a 3rd grader who was well behind all the other children in reading skills. He seemed capable of reading, but just never put forth any effort. So I would pull him aside every chance I got and tutor him, it was paying off, he was progressing nicely.
Then his mother showed up one afternoon mad as heck because the boy was learning to read. It took me a while to figure out what she was screaming about, it seems she was receiving disability payments because her boy was ‘mentally challenged’ and therefore incapable of reading. If the caseworker found out the boy could read, the payments would stop.
Luckily, she caused such a commotion that the assistant principal got involved and she was threatened with arrest. But the poor little boy was scared whenever I tried to teach him.”
“I volunteer at afterschool programs to help tutor.
I had a student earlier this year. He’s a good kid. He loves math and computers. He says that he wants to be a programmer when he grows up. However, he’s really struggling in 7th grade because he has no computer at home. We have to do his online assignments in the program, but we only meet twice a week.
I pulled his mom aside and explained how he could be doing MUCH better in school with some kind of PC and internet access at home. She says she can’t afford a computer. I tell her that for $200, I could piece all the parts together myself for a fully functional set-up that would be sufficient for at least the next few years. I’d even build it with him so he could learn some extremely valuable information. I’d even front her half, but she’d have to pay me back. She says no way, it’s still way out of her budget.
Mind you, while we’re having this conversation, she’s barely looking up to speak to me. She’s too busy scrolling through Instagram on her iPhone X (which is worth around $1000).
I say ‘whatever,’ I’ll do it myself. I scrape together all of the parts I can for free, I only had to buy an HDD. The set-up was really out of date but still worked. I gave it to them. The kid was thrilled that he finally had a computer to use at home.
About a month later, I notice he’s trying to finish all his homework at the program again. I ask his mom if everything’s okay with the computer. She says it broke down. I ask, ‘OK, what happened? I’ll pick it up and try to fix it.’ She says she had to throw it away. I pull the kid aside and ask him. He tells me she sold it to her cousin for $50.
I really don’t like calling people trashy when they’re apparently stuck in a culture of poverty. Maybe she needed that $50 for the electric bill, or groceries. But at the same time, she spends 3x that amount on her cell phone each month, so it really just broke my heart. It was like she’s doing everything in her power to ensure the kid has no chance at a decent life.”
“In my profession, it’s more often what the parents don’t do that wins them the parent of the year award. I’m a special education teacher, so I deal with kids with all kinds of physical, emotional and academic disabilities. I took care of a little girl once who had a number of complications due to spina bifida. Her mother couldn’t be bothered to take care of her. The little girl wore diapers and was cath’d. She required 3-5 diaper changes a day. Mom would only send five diapers a week.
The thing is, she was getting full services from her community, so she was being provided with plenty of supplies. We suspect Mom was probably selling the extras. I ended up just buying her diapers. Mom would not change her catheter regularly. We would change her out at school, but other than that she’d go another 24 hours before a change out. Longer, if it was a weekend.
The smell from the infections she’d get after a weekend was horrendous. She had lice constantly and had oozing bedbug sores. Mom told us to ‘leave her alone’ when we’d call and tell her to take her to a doctor. We found out later in the year that she also had scabies. We offered to administer the medications and creams at school. Mom told us to leave her alone. The girl would come to school in men’s underwear, XXL shirts and size 16 pants. She was eight-years-old. Finally discovered that her nine-year-old sister was changing her diapers and dressing her every day, and her sister couldn’t find any other cleanish clothes to put on her. Her mom’s response was, ‘I’m busy. I have to get to work in the mornings.’
The final straw was when the nurse discovered what appeared to be STD warts while changing her diaper one day. The nurse made what must have the 10th CPS report, but the principal insisted that we call home and report our findings. Her grandma found out, tipped off the mom, and she appeared at the school 15 minutes later, snatched up the kids, and disappeared. The investigators showed up 15 minutes later, but Mom was already long gone. We never saw the kids again.”
Safety’s For Nerds
“My kid went to the preschool run by the public school system. One day I saw one of his classmate’s – every student was either 3 or 4 – moms, open the front passenger door. The kid climbed in, and they drove off with the radio cranked and the little girl dancing on the seat leaning against the dashboard. The back seat was totally empty, without even a car seat.
The next day, I offered the lady my other kid’s car seat, and I said that I’d buy another one on the way home. She told me to mind my own business and drove away with her daughter again standing on the front seat. I let the principal know, and we watch the car drive off into traffic towards the highway.
Day 3, I’ve called the police, but they’ll only come out if I call during the pickup. Great, that’ll only take 30 minutes for them to come out. After the mom drives off with her daughter dancing on the seat again, I tell the principal I’m reporting the mom to Family Services if she won’t intervene.
On Day 4, a guy shows up in her car and comes nose to nose with me, without even so much as an introduction. He says if I keep harassing his woman, I’ll regret it. I tell the principal, she says there’s nothing she can do. They stopped bringing the kid to school after that.”
It’s All About Me!
“I had to have a talk with a parent about their daughter getting removed from our after school program.
It was a HIGHLY sought after program, and the waitlist was extensive.
In any case, the daughter had been touching boys inappropriately, and after many warnings, and a talk with the mom, we had to remove her. Our after-school behaviorist suggested that she needed counseling because something wasn’t right. Due to the rough nature of the kids we dealt with, we had a behaviorist on staff to help with any issues that arose. He informed her that it was reported to CPS and that someone MAY be touching her inappropriately for her to be repeating these actions.
Mom blew up on us, not because of what was going on with her daughter, but because she needed time after work to unwind and if her daughter came home then what would SHE have to do with her? She wasn’t going to help with her homework. SHE NEEDED TIME TO HERSELF!”
A Mom Who Fights Back
“I remember in middle school there was this bully who used to pick on another kid, but no one really paid any attention as to not make anyone think that it was happening. The bullied boy’s mom heard about it and she somehow actually came inside our middle school with no visitor’s badge or even permission. She waited outside of our room until it was lunch time and she quickly grabbed her son and ask him who was picking on him. The kid pointed the bully out and his mom just started going off on him, saying, ‘You think it’s funny to pick on kids?!’ and then, ‘Why don’t I pick on you and see how you feel, fatty?’
Our teacher heard the altercation and she quickly ran out of the room wondering which kid was yelling such nonsense. To her surprise, it was the boy’s mom. Our teacher made us all go back into the classroom while she tried to talk to the boy’s mom. The mom got more upset and started calling our teacher nasty names, just escalating with anger. Our teacher eventually came inside the room and locked the door, while the very angry mom began beating on the door calling our teacher a ‘bad person’ and a ‘witch.’ The resource officer was called and the mother was arrested. We never saw the poor kid again at school but his mom was pretty much everywhere around town.”
“I worked with infants in a daycare where 85% of the children were there on vouchers, which means the government was paying for their care because their parents couldn’t. We had a mom who was 27 with five kids, newborn to nine years old, all from different fathers. Every single one of her children was mixed but she was constantly talking about how much she hated black people.
I was one of five other white women in a staff of twenty and she was NOT afraid to tell me she didn’t trust the other black women with her newborn, who I practically raised from four weeks to nearly a year. She would only give the baby girl to me at drop-off and would often complain if she saw anyone else holding her. She would bring her kids in at opening (6:00 am) and wouldn’t come back until half an hour to an hour after closing (6:00 pm). Once, she came so late we had to call the police because we thought she’d abandoned them.
She talked about how she wasn’t making enough money and could hardly pay her rent, but she always had fresh nails and went to the hair salon monthly. Her two-year-old had very coiled mixed hair and would come in with mats, tangles, and week-old braids. Some of the other black women who knew how to take care of that kind of hair would do so during the day, and the mom was always annoyed about it and accused them of trying to tell her how to raise her daughter.
My last day at that job, I told my director about her racist comments and behavior towards the other women, so she pulled the mom into her office to talk about it when she picked up her kids that day (late, as per usual). A week after that, I had a coworker text me and tell me she pulled all five of her kids from the daycare. I never saw the little one again and think about her often. She’s going to be two-years-old soon. I hope she’s doing okay.”
Taking More Than What’s Given
“I work at a school where over 80% of our population lives under the poverty line. I keep a cabinet full of hygiene products for kids to take. I call it the emergency cabinet. I tell them about a student who one time had to take several items because his family had lost their source of income. I explain that the resources are not infinite and if they take them all now, there might not be enough for someone who really needs it later. There was deodorant, lotion, chapstick, hair gel, feminine hygiene products, shampoo, conditioner, all those kinds of things in travel sizes. Being a teen is hard enough without having to cope with hygiene problems due to lack of funds at home. So, one day the entire thing is empty.
That’s odd, but I refill the cabinet and two days later, all of it is gone again. I refilled with the last of my supplies, and catch the kid in the act of sweeping everything into his bag. I stop him, take him in the other room, and talk to him. He told his mother about the cabinet. She ordered him to bring her everything he could get. She was returning the items to Walmart for store credit to buy cigs and 12-packs. I told him to tell her the cabinet is locked now. I bought a bike lock, so it was not a lie. It was sickening.
The lock was only on until the student left. It has been on the honor system for 15 years, with over 1,700 students, and only one abuser of the system; I call that a good record.”
“Just Thinking About Him, My Heart Still Breaks”
“It was our yearly talent show that we put on just for the parents. Each class in the grade was to perform a musical number.
One student was so excited because parents could take their kids home after the talent show. He talked about it for days ahead of time about how he and his mom were going to spend time together and how much fun he was going to have.
The day of the talent show arrived and this was going to be my second time meeting his mom. He took the bus to and from school and she never came to appointments for her at the school. She was sitting there, on her phone, playing a game. During the whole performance!
The student ran up to her afterward for a hug, she gave him a half-pat and walked away from him. She then came up to me and his other teachers and nonchalantly asked, ‘He can stay the rest of the day, right?’
This poor little kid’s heart shattered. He started crying, got in front of his mom, reached his arm up to her, and started begging for him to go home and be with her.
She didn’t even look like she heard him. She continued to talk about how she wanted the whole day to herself and her new boyfriend. She pushed away her son and walked away without saying goodbye.
The worst part? He was the only one in class left. We had to combine with a couple of younger kids and ended up watching a movie because we so desperately wanted to cheer him up.
I found out the next year that they had lost their home and were living on multiple couches or their car and basically living in truck stops. And then we lost contact with them. We reported his situation several times but his mom was slippery and was never found.
Just thinking about him, my heart still breaks.”
Can’t Put Down The Bottle
“It was my first year teaching at an elementary school in Cuba with my colleague. A dad showed up with his son. This boy was a little shy in class and he was very bright and responsible. He had started the year below grade-level and had worked hard to get on track. The dad smelled strongly of spirits and animals, weaving and slurring his words. I called the office to have someone come down. We escorted them to the office and had him wait. He ended up getting sick in the trash can. I remember the look of embarrassment, anger, and sadness on the son’s face. I had other conferences scheduled so I couldn’t stay long but the police had to be called by the administration.
The next day the son came in and said he was sorry. I told him I was proud of him and that I was sorry his dad was sick and that I hoped he felt better soon. That seemed to cheer him up a little. I sent home the progress report and great examples of his class work. I did try to reschedule but it never happened.
The worst of it was around the holidays, this student would ask if he could come home with me, or he’d mention that he wished I was his mom. I told him that his family would miss him too much and he said, ‘No they won’t.’ It broke my heart. He moved schools the following year.”
“My mum used to be a teacher and this insane incident happened to someone she worked with.
One child was strangling another child and the teacher wasn’t strong enough to pull the attacker off of the victim, so she ended up having to thump the child until he released the victim’s throat, so the attacking child ended up rather bruised in the process.
The parents of the attacker decided they wanted to sue the teacher for hitting their child. Even though the teacher obviously prevented further violence, they wanted to get some money out of the school system and punish the teacher.
The result was that teacher who prevented their son from murdering someone was suspended from work until the case got rejected by the court. Since the parents made a serious accusation against the teacher, due to the nature of the accusation, which was intentional physical harm to a student, the school had to investigate and due to the severity (and the parents’ insistence), it was escalated beyond the school’s control.
The parents of the child who was saved from being strangled were very grateful. These parents would have been easily able to get this teacher fired by filing a complaint against her for negligence, instead, they did their best to help her out when she was being investigated.”
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far
“I used to work with teenagers who had behavioral problems in a special school. One day, a student of mine had a disorganization. He started punching staff and students alike while screaming. It took five male teachers to hold him down. The headmaster called his mom so she could pick him up. She had ten minutes to get there. If it took any longer, we would call the cops to deal with the situation.
The mother arrived eight minutes later. She was a woman in her late forties with bleach blond hair wearing a mini skirt and a crop top. She came in yelling and swearing at her son, instead of calmly trying to deal with the problem. She picked him up and smacked him on the back of the head while telling him he was a good for nothing idiot.
The apple does not fall far from the tree. I suddenly understood where the child learned his behavior from, and why he was so violent and angry all the time.”
Attendance Office, Please
“I worked at my college’s registrar office while I was in school, answering phones. I once had a dad call and say his son broke his wrist skateboarding and so he needed to speak to the ‘attendance office’ to let his ‘teachers’ (he kept saying teachers and not professors, I still remember this detail) know his son was going to miss classes.
I explained that there was no attendance office at a university. His son needed to email his professors and work it out with them. The dad lost it on me. He accused me of trying to make his son fail on purpose. He said his son was ‘too sick’ to deal with our ridiculous, backward policies. His son was on track to ‘graduate with honors,’ so how dare I force him to email his professors?
FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) prevented me from telling the dad that his son was actually on academic probation and would probably be kicked out. My need for a paycheck prevented me from laughing at the man, babying his grown son and telling him to mind his own business.”
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