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Teacher excludes one kid with behavioral issues from class BBQ; mom is furious.

Teacher excludes one kid with behavioral issues from class BBQ; mom is furious.


'AITA for not inviting all students to a barbecue?'

I (30f) am a teacher. I have a class with 24 students. I teach 1st grade.

I told my students that we could have a barbecue at a park (with hotdogs and hamburgers and snacks) for whoever filled their “good noodle” sticker charts. This has been approved by the principal and I teach at a private school.

We have daily sticker charts to track their behavior in school. They had to have perfect behavior all of April in order to participate.

I have one student who has some behavioral issues. They did not earn all of their good noodle stickers this month. Since this student - we’ll call Bobby - didn’t earn the barbecue I had let his mother know just in case he mentioned it. Bobby would join another class for the day and do work inside while his classmates were at the barbecue.

She has been sending emails complaining to myself and the principal all week about how her child should also be able to participate and it is unfair. She thinks we should make an exception since he has behavioral issues and feels we could be targeting him. I think I’m being fair because he did not earn all of his good noodle stickers. So AITA?

Here's what people had to say:

Tdluxon asks:

INFO- So did everyone in the class get their stickers and he's the only one who can't come?

Prize-Property-794 OP responded:


Criminal_of_Thought asks:


1. Were the parents given advance notice of these sticker charts and that going to the barbecue was contingent on getting enough good noodle stickers?

2. Did Bobby's mother notify you of his behavioral issues at the beginning of the school year, or was his behavioral issues sudden news to you? — (EDIT: Upon further reading you mentioned Bobby has an IEP (Individualized Education Program), but how far in advance was this IEP communicated to you?)

3. EDIT: Are good noodle sticker charts school-wide, or only for your class?

(Side note: I love the name 'good noodle sticker'.)

Prize-Property-794 OP responded:

All of the parents were made aware at the beginning of the school year about the “good noodle” sticker charts. We also send the sticker charts home every month so parents can see how their child behaved.

We have known about Bobby’s behavioral issues all year. There is an IEP in place.

Bobby is actually how the “good noodle” sticker charts started. His mom suggested a sticker chart to be part of his IEP but to make it so that he wasn’t different I did sticker charts for the whole class. Bobby’s is more lenient than the rest of the class though without the kids knowing that of course.

BigGirthToes asks:

INFO: Does bobby have a diagnosis for his behavioral issues? Or does he just 'not listen'

Prize-Property-794 OP responded:

There is a diagnosis and an IEP that we follow. So his good noodle chart is handled slightly more lenient.

gabbycardenas0223 writes:

I was the mom in this situation and my son is in 1st grade as well. Kids their age take everything to heart and get hurt very easily by being excluded. If the kids already struggling with behavior problems how would being singled out affect their mental health? That’s so wrong I’m sorry but I’d be furious with you too and ask my child to change teachers…

Prize-Property-794 OP responded:

We only have one class per grade. It’s a very small private school.

SpeakerDelicious6315 writes:

YTA. You're saying out of 24 first grade kids, Bobby was the ONLY one who didn't have perfect behavior for an entire month? That's incredibly hard to believe.

I don't believe in the Special Snowflake, Everybody Gets a Trophy theory that's so prevalent these days, but c'mon! I don't know of any 6 y/o who is perfectly behaved all the time.

Prize-Property-794 OP responded:

The sticker charts aren’t meant to have perfect behavior. That’s not realistic. They’re for basic things that the kids and I chose in the beginning of the year as their classroom rules. Raised your hand, was respectful, kind to other students, etc.

Pretty-Tooth-176 writes:

So to the moms point you’re already making special adjustments for the child - what else would she expect you to do? Plus, if everyone’s noodle charts are public then the rest of the class already knows who will and will not be at the BBQ.

To someone else’s point - time to end the participation trophy era, accommodations are already being appropriately made for the child’s needs and there shouldn’t be cause for even more special handling

Prize-Property-794 OP responded:

The charts are on the classroom door so all the kids know who gets their stickers because they’re visible.

Sarnsquantch writes:

YTA. As a former educator myself, I hate these kinds of public exclusionary rewards, ESPECIALLY for very young kids. These are 1st graders. From what you've posted, it sounds like this was the only student excluded. There is literally no way that is going to encourage better behavior from this young child in the future.

Kids, especially young ones, often act out in reaction to emotional stimuli they don't have the appropriate tools to process yet. 99% of the time, a kid of 1st grade age who is acting out has trouble somewhere - stress/problems at home, getting bullied, who knows.

For the same reason it's unfair to punish young kids for tardiness or attendance issues, it's unfair to expect a kid this young to 'behave' all the time when you have no idea what might be happening in their lives that isn't in their control.

Publicly excluding one child is going to make behavior issues worse. You're turning them into a pariah to their peers - kids can be mean, and honestly don't need much to single someone out as 'other.'

I know you want to use some kind of reward system for the kids who are behaving the way you want, but you're talking about 6 year olds! Something as big as a BBQ at the park should have been an all-or-nothing class goal. Singling out the one kid who is having trouble (which, again, you as the teacher will almost NEVER know the true source of) is bullying.

If these were high schoolers that would be one thing - teenagers are more mature and can be expected to have more control over their behavior - but we're talking about kids who are only SIX years old.

You need to rethink your reward system, keeping in mind age-appropriate expectations for these children.

Edit: some of your comments specify that this kid has an IEP. 100% YTA. A kid that young who already has an IEP is never going to be able to meet that level of behavioral expectation, regardless of whatever accommodations the IEP calls for.

Perfection for a month! You set this kid up to fail. Hopefully not on purpose, but that's still the outcome. Learn from this in the future.

Sources: Reddit
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