'Alarm-Bell': Mom Praised for Defending Daughter From 'Creepy' Teacher

Being a teenager is tough. You've got hormones, school bullies and social media-induced self-esteem issues to worry about. That's why one mom is being praised online for supporting her daughter's need for a mental health day—and standing up to her bully of a teacher when they demanded to know why.

In a post to Reddit's AmItheA**hole? forum on Sunday 24 April, user u/aiathrowaway111 asked if she was "an a**hole" for refusing to tell her daughter's teacher why she had been absent.

She explained that her daughter, who is in the fifth grade, struggled with the emotional side-effects of getting her first period. She "was up all night. Likely dealing with a lot of unfamiliar hormones," so her mom decided to let her take the next day off school for mental health reasons.

She wrote: "I called the school and said we'd had a personal matter and she wouldn't be in. She has a male teacher who she doesn't really get on with so suffice it to say she wanted to keep this private."

Her daughter's teacher cornered her while she was dropping her daughter off at school the next day, blocking her path as she tried to leave and acting aggressively.

The Redditor continued: "He asked where my daughter had been the day prior. I said we'd had a personal matter at home and it was resolved now, thanked him for his concern, and said I really must be off to work now.

"He then said I had to tell him. Kind of leaning over me and dropping his voice an octave as though he were trying to lord over one of the kids. Wasn't a fan of that either.

"I told him I didn't have to do anything and if he continued to speak to me this way I might have to have a chat with the administrators."

The teacher threatened to class the mental health day as "an unexcused absence."

She explained: "You need something like five of those for it to matter and this would be my daughter's first so I shrugged my shoulders.

"Finally I said again I really couldn't be late to work and I pushed past and left.

"He called after me that he couldn't be expected to do his job if I left him out of the loop on things like keeping my child out of school. I told him he'd have to manage."

However, u/aiathrowaway111 began to question her decision after speaking with her husband.

She concluded her post with: "When I got to the car I vented all this too my husband who felt maybe I'd been a bit too brash and that the teacher was coming from a place of genuine concern for my daughter.

"I now feel a bit badly and as though maybe I jumped to conclusions stonewalling him the way I did."

The post received 14,000 upvotes and nearly 2,000 comments from people applauding the woman for standing up to the teacher and protecting her daughter.

Dinkydish said: "This teacher is beyond creepy! He talks about your little girl as if she belongs to him somehow. And the way he talked to you and tried to intimidate you? That is NOT okay."

Hbtfdrckbck agreed, commenting: "I am a teacher, and this is INSANE alarm-bell behaviour."

Research published in the Journal of American College Health in 2015 shows that 64 percent of young adults have reported being bullied by a teacher at least once during their school career, and 93 percent of college and high school students know a teacher with a reputation for bullying. According to lawyers.com, in many instances you can sue the school, school district or school board for inappropriate behavior by a teacher.

In this case, the mom at least got reassurance from fellow parents online that she did the right thing, especially after sharing more info about the situation in the comments.

She added: "He's taken all kinds of very specific and strange issues with her and a handful of other girls in the class.

"Doesn't like the kind of books she's reading, doesn't like the kind of art on her notebook cover, just weird trivial stuff he escalated into a big deal.

"Recently we had to have a PT conference because she stood her ground about an answer she offered in class being correct even after he said it was not, and he sent her out of the room.

"He later admitted her answer had been correct but insisted she shouldn't have challenged him on it because he's the teacher."

Other users shared their own experiences of creepy teachers who crossed the line.

Chrosbord said: "I started suffering from appendicitis. My initial complaints of pain were ignored.

"By the end of the day I was laying on a beanbag chair doubles over in pain. All she [the teacher] said to me was "get up and sit in your chair."

"That evening I was rushed to the hospital, and my appendix ruptured shortly before entering the operating room."

TolSunshineBoi commented: "I had a similar teacher in secondary school as well. Literally every girl who had him as a teacher knew about it.

"He constantly dropped things under tables or chairs, then either getting super close to pick them up or making the girls pick them up in front of him.

"Pretty much everyone who had him tried to ensure that they wore trousers when they had his class or wore shorts under their skirts."

Unfortunately, this isn't the only example of an abusive teacher to go viral recently. Earlier this year, a teacher was suspended for refusing to use a student's preferred pronouns, while a "sexist" sports coach was blasted online for not letting a girl use the bathroom during P.E.

Newsweek has reached out to u/aiathrowaway111.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

Mom Defends Daughter From 'Creepy' Teacher
Stock picture of a girl looking upset in a school hallway while her mom comforts her. Reddit said a woman was right to defend her daughter against a teacher's "dangerous" behavior. DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus