A Dad Confronted His Daughter's Teacher For Not Letting Her Read During Recess—Teachers Are Talking Badly About Him & He's Having 2nd Thoughts

The teacher has been pressuring the young girl to play with her bullies instead of reading.

Teacher talking with parent, little girl reading on couch nimito / Shutterstock / olia danilevich / Pexels

"My daughter, Cleo, is very active outside of school. At school, however, she struggles making friends," a father began in a confessional, posted to Reddit's "r/AmItheA--hole" (AITA) subreddit. The subreddit is an online forum where users try to figure out if they were wrong or not in an argument or situation that has been bothering them.

In his Reddit post, the man's 11-year-old daughter has made most of her friends outside of school, by playing soccer, taking swimming lessons, and having other kids her age in their neighborhood. However, her issue with making friends at school caused her teacher to get involved.


He worried about overstepping boundaries after reprimanding his daughter's teacher for taking her book away during recess.

During Cleo's time in third and fourth grade, the young girl was bullied for having ADHD. By the time she reached fifth grade, which she's in right now, the bullying had been brought under control, but she still hasn't made any friends.

"These kids still don’t play with her and pretty much ice her out. While I don’t think they have to play with her, it also means that she doesn’t socialize a lot at school. She’s okay with this," he explained.

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While Cleo seems to be okay with being isolated at recess, according to research conducted by Oregon State University, the quality of the recess experience, including the availability and inclusivity of games, adult engagement, and student’s ability to resolve conflict, are essential factors in making recess a positive experience for all children.

While Cleo isn't very active during recess, she does love to read, which was pointed out by the little girl's teacher, who expressed concern about Cleo being alone and reading instead of playing with the other kids during recess.

"Cleo is a huge reader. She’s currently reading her way through my wife’s collection of books from her childhood. She loves them and treasures them, knowing they were her [mother's], and wants to take great care of them."


Despite the teacher's concern, both he and his wife told their daughter's teacher that they weren't worried since when she's not in school, Cleo has other friends and is very active.

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The teacher decided to take action herself.

The dad was taken aback after noticing Cleo come home from school one day looking extremely distraught. She told him that her teacher had taken away her book and wouldn't return it until the next day.

"When pressed for more information, she said she was reading at recess. Her teacher walked over, took the book, and told her to go play. My daughter begged for her book back and the teacher refused."


The next day, he took Cleo to school early to talk with her teacher. "I told the teacher to give me the book. She obliged and tried to defend herself. I told her to save it and she had no right."

He pointed out that no rule says his daughter has to participate in physical activity during recess, especially after both he and his wife had no concerns about their daughter reading instead of playing.

"The teacher said she was allowed to set boundaries for her class but I pointed out recess was free time. It’s not like Cleo is reading during math." After going back and forth some more, he resigned to talk to the principal about the matter.

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He found out that many of the teachers at his daughter's school had been talking about the incident. 

The issue ended up being resolved, with the principal promising him that his daughter would be able to read freely at recess as long as she was not harming anyone or reading during lessons.

"She wouldn’t have any more books confiscated. My wife and I were pleased. Cleo even more so."

However, he later found out, from one of his cousins who works at Cleo's school in a different grade, that the entire incident was becoming "hot gossip" among the other teachers.

"I have been marked as 'one of those parents.' She says the teacher isn’t paid enough and I should’ve just accepted the rule," he wrote. While both he and his wife feel they did the right thing, he wonders if he might've overstepped.


Most Reddit users promised him that he did a good thing standing up for his daughter.

"I understand teachers are overworked and underpaid on a criminal level, but they should also understand how group dynamics work," one Reddit user wrote.

Another Reddit user agreed, writing that most teachers are on "power trips" and don't fully understand children. 

"You gave your daughter the message that it is okay to be herself. To spend her 'me-time' the way SHE wants to. It is a powerful message and who cares what the teacher's lounge thinks of that," a third user remarked.


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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics.