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Dad secretly sends son to 21K private school, ex says he's making things worse. AITA?

Dad secretly sends son to 21K private school, ex says he's making things worse. AITA?


"AITA for paying 21K to send my kid to private school behind my ex-wife's back?"


Our son is 8 and has an incredible curiosity about the world. His first and second grade teachers gave nothing but glowing praise in regards to both his intellectual growth and his demeanor. However, his third grade year has not gone well.

His teacher has sent us several emails stating that our son does not pay attention in class and is cold toward his classmates. When his mother and I asked him how school is going, he tells us he hates it.

He said "all the teacher does is yell at the class to stop talking, then the kids keep talking and we never do anything and I hate being there." I can see the light fading from his eyes every day and every Sunday night mid-September on he cries because he doesn't want to go to school.

My son lives with his mother and spends weekends with me. We all live in the same town and I would describe the relationship between his mother and I as cooperative, but bad feelings persist. I asked my son a few weeks ago if he wanted to change schools and he responded "God, yes."

I asked his mother if she would have any issue with me sending him to a highly-regarded private school about 17 miles from our town. She reacted in a way that was not expected.

She said I was being ridiculous and that it would be an undue burden on her to take him to a different school (fair) and it would be unfair to her other children if only one of her kids got to go to private school.

I added that I would take him and drop him off everyday and pay for it 100% and she still said no. I told her I don't want our son to waste his potential, nor do I want to fail him as a father. In essence, she responded that our son is just being a brat because he's bored.

I registered him at this school and paid the tuition. He starts in August. I told him what I had done and he was elated. Naturally, upon hearing this news his mother was apoplectic. All I said was "fine, you tell him he isn't going because you think he's a brat." AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


I N F O: Her other kids are not yours, right?

Edit: Adding NTA judgment

The OP responded here:




Then NTA. She's not a good mom if she's willing to hurt your son just in the name of "fairness." Half-siblings whose non-shared parents have different means get treated differently. That's just how life works. Besides, if your wife is currently with her other kids' father, then it's also not fair that your son has divorced parents while his siblings don't.

Courts may not look favorably on you enrolling him without his mom's permission, I'm not sure, but I do think you might want to try for more custody. It really wouldn't surprise me if your son is starts getting treated as the black sheep in that household, especially as time goes on and the siblings get older.


Fair does not mean equal. I’m a teacher—the goal is that each child gets what they need. They don’t all need the same thing. Kids don’t get that, but their parents should.


NTA maybe switch your custody schedule so you have him during the week for school and he goes to her on the weekend?


This seems like the most logical. This allows OP to transport his son to and from school without it seeming “unfair” to the other children. They might not even notice the boy goes to a different school. It would be a shame to deny any kid an educational opportunity that’s better suited to help them thrive. NTA.


INTO: what does your parenting agreement say regarding schooling choices? Usually it's either by agreement or the custodial parent chooses, and you've not fulfilled either here. Are you legally permitted to make this decision and enact it without her consent?

The OP responded again:


We're joint for purposes of decision making. School choice didn't really factor in at the time because we live in the same district. Legally, she could fight it up against a "best situation for the child" argument. My problem is the lack of consent with zero sound reason not to allow the kid change schools.


Sounds like you need to go back to court.


Man I'm conflicted here because I'm very glad you're investing in your kid's education. But parenting needs to be done with the understanding and approval of both parents.


ESH the first and second grade teachers were great, the third grade teacher is bad, and there’s no option for getting the class changed, talking to the teacher, talking to the principal? Not to mention that starting in August doesn’t address the issue this year at all, who knows what the 4th grade teacher would be like. Your ex doesn’t sound great, but you went nuclear here.

So, do you think the dad is doing the right thing and trying to give his son the best advantages for a promising future or do you think he is driving an unnecessary wedge in the family?

Sources: Reddit
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