I [38F] have a daughter [8F] who is a shy, bookish introvert. She isn’t popular, and she would prefer to read at the library than go to a big giant social event. She has 4 really very good friends in her class of roughly 30 kids. I’ll add that some of her classmates are not very nice to her.
So her birthday is coming up and she specifically asked me if we could do something, her and her 4 friends. This is what has been going on since she was young, we’ve never thrown an actual giant instagram birthday party.
We’re not poor by any means but we’re not rich and we live in a small apartment so what we’d normally do is me, her, and her 4 friends would go out for ice cream and a paint-your-own ceramic activity, or something like that.
However, word got out that my daughter is “having a party” and I got an email from her teacher where she essentially called me out for my “lack of inclusivity.” She said that she had gotten complaints from other kids in her class that my daughter was being a bully for only inviting certain people (re: her close friends) and the teacher told me that now I had to invite the whole class.
I cannot afford to host a party for 30 kids, or bring 30 kids to an activity. I also was afraid of my daughter getting bullied at her own party and wanted this to be a safe space for her. So I politely told the teacher this and explained that it wasn't even a party but a get together for her closest friends.
Now I’m getting loads of angry emails from parents of kids who weren’t invited asking me why not and pressuring me to invite their kids. One even accused me of being discriminatory against their son because he has asthma. I’ve had 10 angry emails and I’m starting to think maybe I should invite all the kids in the spirit of inclusivity and have it in a park or something. AITA?
How did they get your email?
All of the parents’ emails are available to other parents for security purposes.
How did the teacher find out about the party?
Im not sure tbh. It sounds out of character for my daughter who tends to keep to herself. If I had a guess I’d say her friend was bragging but it’s just a guess. Perhaps someone overheard them talking about a “party?”
Why did this even become a thing?
Apparently (according to Google) this started because some kids started weaponizing their birthday party invitations against kids they didn’t like (you’re not cool so you’re not invited.) I can sort of understand the logic, but my daughter never handed out physical invitations, nor did she imply anything about excluding people.
I did some research after one comment asked if it was school policy, and to my surprise some schools do have an official policy where to avoid exclusion a child must invite everyone in their class to their birthday party.
I’m wondering if her school has this, and why it was never enforced before. Could it be because she was more subtle about it? Or perhaps the problem is the teacher.
Has your daughter gone to other kids' birthdays in the class?
My daughter has been invited to quite a few birthday parties of kids who aren’t her friends but never went because she doesn’t like big crowds. I always assumed she was invited due to the parents and kids generosity, not school policy. Frankly I didn’t even know schools could dictate out of school events.
NTA. If you invited 28 kids out of that class, you would be excluding two children. But 4 friends is totally fine. No kid in that class has the impression 'everyone is invited but me.' This is ridiculous.
Hopping onto top comment because it's what I thought, and that hopefully OP will talk to the principal about the teacher harassing OP to invite all the kids when unnecessary.
If a public school, there's no way that is legal in the US? That's about the most obvious violation of 'freedom of association' I could imagine.
It was a private school. But also, it was a 'policy' - I don't actually think they could have enforced it meaningfully.
Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I have sent an email to the principal asking for an explanation, with a threat to take this to the school board. I will not give in and I’m going to make sure my daughter and her friends have the lovely day they deserve, in peace and alone.