Elementary School Teacher Shares 6 Unsettling Conversations She’s Had With Students & Parents — 'We Don’t Ever Tell Him No'

Whether they’re complicit or ignorant, many parents are “failing” their kids.

Parent teacher meeting nimito / Shutterstock

While teachers often have their fair share of horror stories about their students' behavior, situations involving parents tend to be exponentially worse. From arguments to a lack of engagement, parents remain the bane of many teachers’ existences.

One fifth-grade teacher subtly pointed to that reality in a recent Reddit post, arguing that these conversations with parents are the reason our future looks so bleak.


Here are the 5 most unsettling conversations the elementary school teacher had with parents this year:

1. The student who’s allergic to red dye

“Student: Steals and consumes gum with red dye; is allergic to red dye.”

“Parent: ‘Why do you even allow red dye in the school if my son has an allergy?'”

@docamen Products that contain Red Dye #40 that you might not know about. #fyp #foryoupage #mentalhealthmatters ♬ Sunrise - Official Sound Studio

RELATED: Teacher Says The Disrespect She Receives From Her Class Is Worse Than Ever — ‘I’ve Just Stopped Caring’


One misconception about teacher-student relationships is that students aren't held accountable for what happens in the classroom, especially in elementary, middle, and high school.

For example, if a child is allergic to a food and it’s not communicated to a teacher, how would they know to “ban it” from the classroom? After a certain age, it's the student’s responsibility to check the food they’re ingesting, or at the very least, rely on their parents to do so for them — especially if it’s something as inconspicuous and common as red dye.

2. The misbehaving student with anger issues

“Student: Calls me horrible names and throws a tantrum whenever he's asked to do work."

“Parent: ‘What are you doing to make him so upset?'”


Another case of a parent dismissing or demeaning a teacher’s authority in the classroom is assuming their child could never do anything wrong. It’s this kind of parenting that raises entitled, rude, and socially inept adults.

Of course, this teacher’s experience isn’t a solitary one — hundreds of TikTok teachers joke about parents’ excuses for their students’ behavior, including one who wrote, “One time, a parent told me their child just didn’t respect female teachers.”

Excusing behavior like name-calling or tantrums in children isn’t doing anyone any favors — the student will grow up with an uncontrollable public demeanor, the teacher will hold no authority in classroom discipline, and the parent will be forced to come to their adult child’s rescue each time they face social criticism.


3. The student who’s struggling with absenteeism.

“Student: Has missed 43 days of school so far this year, is reading at a 1st grade level.”

“Parent: ‘He wakes up and doesn't want to go. What am I supposed to do?'”

While absenteeism in schools requires a more in-depth conversation, people often immediately argue that it’s a case of “laziness” or a lack of motivation. While that’s true in some cases, studies show that there’s often more to address concerning a student’s mental health. Many kids feel too anxious to show up to school — whether it’s a fear of embarrassment, isolation, bullying, or something else — and don’t have the support to get help.

RELATED: Why LGBTQ+ Mental Health Matters More Than 'Religious Freedom'


4. The student who makes homophobic remarks

“Student: Recurrently seeks out a gay classmate to say horrible homophobic things.”

“Parent: ‘Telling him he can't admonish gay people is restricting his freedom of religion. You're traumatizing and bullying him.'”

As many educators already know, anti-bullying rules and student protection laws should protect Queer students from this kind of behavior, whether the bully had a “religious basis” for spewing hateful rhetoric or not. What’s difficult about enforcing the behavior is parents who support them — allowing them to be hateful, discriminatory, and closed-minded at home.

Often, children soak up their environments and adopt similar attitudes, opinions, and values as their parents. It’s what they’ve grown up believing is right, whether it’s actually harmful or not. However, students should be taught to respect one another in the classroom.


5. The entitled student who throws things

“Student: Cries and throws things at me when asked to do work instead of playing computer games.”

“Parent: ‘Yeah... we don't ever tell him no. He's not really used to it.'”

Instead of admitting their student’s behavior was inappropriate or at least acknowledging their lax consequences at home, they simply left it up to the teacher to deal with. Studies show that this kind of detached parenting is detrimental not only to students’ performance in the classroom but also in their social competency in general.


For many teachers, conversations with parents often take a similar turn, whether they lack any sense of accountability for their children’s behavior or simply don’t respect the teacher enough to believe it could be true. 

@cayliawallace I understand there are teachers who do lie on kids but VERY RARELY. Its not that common at all. We also usually have documentation or proof of the behavior or have endured the behavior from the child for a long time. #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teacherlife #teachers #k12education #edutok #edutokmotivation #edutoklifetips #parentsoftiktok #parenthood #parenting #parentingtips #school #danceteacher #danceeducation ♬ original sound - cayliawallace

“Parents with no accountability for their children are helping the downfall of K-12 education,” teacher and creator Caylia Wallace admitted in a recent post. “I understand there are teachers who do lie to kids, but very rarely … we keep documentation on behavior for a reason.”

At the end of the day, the education system should have an institutionalized measure for protecting teachers — including their integrity and authority to enforce behavior in the classroom. Teachers shouldn’t have to bear the entire burden of student’s misbehavior in the classroom — their job is to teach.


RELATED: A Parent Tells A Teacher That ‘Kids Will Be Kids’ After A Group Of Middle School Boys Showed Up At Her House At Night

Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.