She Complained To The School As Teachers And Students Were Bullying Her Daughter Over Her Food Choices – Was The Mother Acting Rationally?

A mother’s six-year-old daughter, who had been doing remote learning until recently, expressed a desire to stop having packed lunches. This shift in preferences raised confusion and concerns for the mother.

Chinese Background

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The mother was Chinese whilst the father was white, and the child was brought up eating Asian-style food. She enjoyed it, so requested these favourite foods for her packed lunches at school.

A Sudden Change In Food Preferences

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The daughter, who had initially enjoyed her favourite foods at school, began requesting different meals, such as pizza. When questioned about this change, the child revealed that she wished to eat with the other students.

Shocking Revelation

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To the mother’s astonishment, her daughter disclosed that she had not been sitting with her peers during lunchtime. She explained that her teacher had made her eat in a separate room because of the “smelly foods” she brought.

Personal Trauma Revisited

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The mother was deeply upset by this revelation, as she had previously experienced a similar situation during her own childhood. Recalling her own experiences, she wrote: ‘I was also targeted by teachers who wouldn’t let me bring shrimp or anything with garlic or onion because they hated the smell.”

Discussions With The Teacher

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The mother contacted the daughter’s homeroom teacher to discuss the situation. However, the teacher denied making the child eat separately. 

Asking The Friends

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Not content with the teacher’s response, the mother investigated further by talking to the daughter’s school friends. It was confirmed by the child’s best friend and another teacher that she had indeed been isolated during some lunchtimes.

Desperate Justifications

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When confronted for a second time, the teacher’s explanation shifted from denying the action to justifying it. The teacher’s justification was that the daughter “brought a persimmon to school and they didn’t want her distracting the other students by having “foreign” food.”

Further Bullying

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The mother was not satisfied with this response, and there were several other reported incidents to discuss. “She told me specifically of a time she brought tomato egg stir fry and a boy bullying her”, the mother wrote. “The teacher sent her to eat in another room rather than telling him to stop.”

Taking Action

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Dismayed by the teacher’s actions and attitude, the mother escalated the matter to the school’s principal. She also transferred her daughter to another homeroom for the remainder of the school year to ensure her well-being.

Family Dynamics

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The mother’s husband, who is white, had doubts about their daughter’s claims, believing the teachers would have mentioned such actions. However, the mother felt that he might not fully comprehend the situation due to differences in cultural experiences.

Seeking Validation And Advice

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Grappling with the idea that her child might be experiencing discrimination and bullying due to her cultural background and food choices, the mother sought second opinions online. One respondent commented that it was “extremely inappropriate of the teacher and in my opinion racist”

Cruel Teachers 

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Aside from the racial implications, other commenters discussed the teacher’s general act of cruelty. “Any teacher making a little kid sit by herself during lunch is a terrible person”, stated one reader.

Disappointment In Husband

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Sympathy for the mother and daughter was unanimous, but the same could not be said for the father: “What is wrong with your husband?”, asked one reader. “He doesn’t believe his own daughter.. especially at 6 years old, what motivation would a six-year-old have to lie about something like this?”

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