A mother is asking for advice from Reddit after her nine-year-old daughter was chosen to be one of only two kids in the entire class who was assigned a “buddy” they had to hang out with during a whole field trip and so withdrew her child from the trip altogether.
This might sound like a baffling situation until you realize that there is a pattern in our society of using well-behaved girls as tools to manage the behavior of boys, because it sounds like that is exactly what was happening here.
According to the OP, the boy that her daughter was made to babysit for a trip to the local water park was ill-liked by the rest of the class for some annoying and unsanitary habits. When her daughter became upset at being singled out for something that would separate her from her friends, the poor girl felt like she was bad for feeling that way.
“She loves water and has been talking about it for months, so I was a bit thrown off when she came home crying a few days ago and told me she didn’t want to go,” the Redditor explained. “I asked her why and she wouldn’t tell me because she thought I’d think she’s a ‘bad person.’ When I finally coaxed it out of her, she said her teacher ‘Ms. N’ has forced her to be the ‘buddy’ of her classmate ‘Ben’ for the entirety of the trip.”
Using a buddy system is common during field trips for young children, but this situation turned out to be different from the norm. Not only were Bryn and Ben the only ones assigned to be buddies, but the rules for sticking with one’s buddies seemed awfully stringent.
“She was to ride the bus with Ben to and from the trip, eat lunch with him, and go on all the rides with him instead of spending time with her friends. She then said nobody likes Ben because he whines whenever they have to do work and picks his nose and wipes boogers everywhere.”
The reasons for the singling out of these two kids soon became clear when the OP explained the teacher’s history with using her daughter to her detriment for the benefit of boys.
“I was horrified, not only because Ms. N had made Bryn do such a thing, but also because she had made her believe she was a bad person for not wanting to. Unfortunately this wasn’t my first experience with Ms. N, as she frequently used my soft-spoken, intelligent older daughter as a ‘behavior buffer’ for the naughty boys until I threatened to report her to the superintendent. It’s clear to me that Ms. N is still too comfortable with enforcing archaic gender roles on her kids and forcing girls to do unpaid emotional labor for the sake of the boys.”
While it’s sad that this boy doesn’t have any friends of his own, that should not be the problem of a nine-year-old girl. The adults in his life should be working with him on his unsanitary behavior instead of just sticking the most well-adjusted girl with him, putting her in a moral dilemma and barring her from time with her actual friends.
The OP ended up pulling her daughter from the field trip and buying VIP tickets to the water park for the same day as the field trip so that she could still be with her friends after Ms. N refused to relent on the buddy thing. When other parents heard about what the teacher had attempted to do, several of them also pulled their kids from the field trip in protest.
Ms. N then emailed the OP begging her to let her daughter go on the field trip as normal and convince the other parents to reverse their decisions because otherwise the trip would be too expensive for the rest of the students. When the Redditor refused, her husband did not stand by her.
“My husband said I was being a bit petty and that Ms. N clearly feels bad about what she did, and I should let Bryn go as I’ve already gotten my way. He asked me if I really wanted to deprive children of what they’ve been waiting for all year. The thing is, if this wasn’t Ms. N’s first offense I probably would have agreed, but she has a pattern of this type of behavior and hopefully this will put a stop to it.”
Other Reddit users generally agreed that Ms. N needed to be taught a lesson and that it was the teacher who created the situation in the first place, voting the OP as “not the a–hole.”