Mom Says Her Son's Teacher Threatened To Give Him A Zero If He Didn't Bring In School Supplies For The Entire Class

She claimed that parents shouldn't be forced to supply teachers with necessities for their classrooms.

Shanitta Nicole @shanittanicole / TikTok

A mom voiced her frustrations with her son's middle school teacher after his grade was threatened because he hadn't complied with a mandatory school supplies assignment.

In a TikTok video, Shanitta Nicole shared that her son, who is in the seventh grade, had come home from school one day and told her that he was in danger of failing because of his teacher's request to everyone in his class.

His teacher gave him a zero because he failed to bring in classroom supplies for everyone.

In Nicole's video, she questioned if she was wrong for feeling a type of way about a mandatory assignment that her son's teacher gave him and the rest of his class. "My son recently started at a new school because we moved, and before his first day at the new school, we went to go buy him new school supplies," Nicole began.




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She explained that her son's first week at school went well, and there were no issues or concerns. However, during the second week, her son came home and told her that one of his teachers wanted him to buy classroom supplies, which Nicole thought was weird since she had gotten him everything on his supplies list and he wasn't supposed to be using classroom supplies at all.


"The third week rolled around and he's like, 'My teacher is going to give me a zero if I don't turn in the classroom supplies.' Instead of arguing about it, I just went to get the classroom supplies," she continued, adding that it was mostly tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, pencils, Expo markers, and red pens.

Even after buying her son all of the necessary classroom supplies that his teacher wanted, she went to check and there was still a zero for the assignment. That's when Nicole decided to personally email her son's teacher, airing out her confusion about why buying supplies was marked as a mandatory assignment.

She acknowledged that it's "inappropriate" that students could be at risk of failing just because they weren't bringing in tissues and red pens.

"She emailed me back and was like, 'I appreciate involved parents and I'll update his grade today,' but she didn't say anything about the fact that I said we shouldn't have to supply your class, so I emailed the principal because I just wanted to see what was going on. Why do I have to buy supplies for the classroom?" Nicole said.


The principal of her son's school apologized and claimed that it's not 'common' for teachers to force parents to buy supplies for the classroom.

In a follow-up video, Nicole provided more context to the situation involving her, her son, and his teacher. She explained that her son was asked to buy classroom supplies for his seventh-grade honors class, which she found to be ridiculous since she already had to buy supplies for his homeroom class.

"He's in this class for 50 minutes. He has a homeroom and we provided classroom supplies for his homeroom. These are additional classroom supplies for his seventh-grade honors class," she clarified. 



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Nicole continued, sharing a snippet of the response that she had gotten from the principal of her son's school, who called personally to apologize on behalf of her son's teacher. "She said that's not their common practice. The teachers are allowed to ask for donations for classroom supplies but in no way should it be a mandatory grade."

Nicole was also told by the principal that her son's school district, which is located in Dallas, Texas, actually supplies the classroom and various students with backpacks and other supplies, which means the teacher's request came out of left field and the principal agreed that it wasn't appropriate at all.

While some school districts provide supplies for teachers, a majority of public school educators have to reach into their own pockets to provide for their classrooms and students. 

According to the New York Times, over 90% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies and other items their students need to succeed. Just before the pandemic, educators on average spent around $500 of their own money on classroom supplies for the year.

Another study found that 47% of teachers felt feelings of guilt or inadequacy over not being able to spend more on their students, and out of 367 teachers across the U.S., 34% of responding teachers said the quantity of supplies their school provides is inadequate.


On average, most public school teachers spend a significant amount of their own money on supplies, and according to a survey of more than 1,100 educators by the Association of American Educators, it was found to be at least $673. Of course, this amount most likely varies from state to state and could be higher for other teachers.

Not only are teachers under-appreciated and battling a crippling public school system, but they are also underpaid and have to take money out of their own checks just to supply their classrooms with necessities.

There's nothing wrong with teachers reaching out to their students' parents to ask for donations and supplies that they would appreciate having, but the lines become murky when parents are basically forced to do it, like Nicole.


Nicole's video goes beyond her having a conflict with her son's teacher but highlights the need for more resources to be made available for public school educators. 

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.