A mother, actively teaching her twelve-year-old daughter about creating and respecting boundaries, emphasized that it’s okay to say “no” to things that make her uncomfortable, especially when a boy kept bothering her and her friends.
In her daughter’s class, there was a boy who had been bothering her and other girls who were her friends during recess. The woman encouraged her daughter to report such incidents to her or to the teacher.
The daughter shared another incident where the teacher asked the students to form groups of four or five. She initially formed a group of five with some other girls. However, the boy who had been causing trouble at recess insisted on joining their group, arguing that the teacher had said “about” four or five.
The Persistent Boy
When another girl suggested he work with a group that had fewer members, the boy refused. The daughter and a few other girls stated they didn’t want to work with him. He insisted that they couldn’t exclude him as it was against class rules, but the daughter firmly maintained her stance.
The mother received an email from the teacher: “She said there had been an incident at school where my daughter had excluded another child, and that wasn’t allowed in her class, and she wanted me to have a talk with her about it. Her telling of events was the same as my daughter’s. I felt proud of my daughter for her honesty.”
Responding to the Teacher
The mother replied to the teacher via email, expressing her discomfort with the lesson the teacher wanted to impart to their daughter. She explained her stance about teaching her daughter to prioritize her comfort and to be aware of situations where her boundaries might be crossed.
The woman also mentioned her prior concerns about the boy in the email. She described the incident during recess, which the mother had previously discussed with her daughter.
The teacher responded to the woman’s e-mail: “She asked for a meeting in person with the principal. I’m preparing for that but wondering if my email was too harsh.”
Involving Other Parents
The woman reached out to the parents of the other children who were involved in the incident, and they held similar views. They contacted the school, organizing a new meeting that the other parents could attend, along with the teacher and principal.
Questioning Her Decision
The woman firmly believed that the meeting was justified and that it was essential that her daughter and other children felt comfortable at school. However, she also worried whether she had blown the situation out of proportion by involving the teacher and principal.
Posting the Story Online
The mother posted her predicament to an online community forum and was met with great sympathy from others. “You’re protecting your daughter”, one reader stated. “For too long, girls and women were taught to put up with bad behavior. Your daughter has the right to stand up for herself and not be made to put up with people who make her uncomfortable, hurt her, etc.”
Other commenters agreed with this sentiment: “I am fed up to the back teeth with men and boys getting away with nonsense like this”, another person wrote. “In fact, I think you were careful to be polite in your letter and could’ve gone further. Stand up to them. Don’t let the bullies win.”
Support From a Teacher
The mother and other community members were happy to see support from another teacher. The teacher wrote, “I actually find it quite concerning that the teacher in this situation is trying to justify this boy disrespecting the boundaries of others, girls or otherwise.”
Prioritizing the Boys
The thread was unified with outrage by the school’s inconsiderate and somewhat sexist response. “You should ask them why are they more concerned about your daughter saying no than being concerned that the boy is constantly harassing your daughter and friends’, one commenter suggested.
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