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Father Supports His Daughter After The Teacher Took Away Her Book For Reading At Recess, Gets Called A Jerk
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Father Supports His Daughter After The Teacher Took Away Her Book For Reading At Recess, Gets Called A Jerk

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Many years ago, when I was in school, all we did was run through the corridors during recess, and the teachers would try in vain to persuade at least someone to sit down and read a book. I remember it well, because I was just one of those who managed to be persuaded…

Now, several decades later, the situation is quite different. And now the school staff makes the kids run around during recess, and teachers even confiscate books when they see that one of the students is reading too much. At least that’s what happened to user u/iguessimthatdad‘s 11-year-old daughter.

The author of the post has an 11 Y.O. daughter who is in the 5th grade

Image credits: Arthur Krijgsman (not the actual image)

The girl has lots of physical activities outside school, yet rarely plays with her classmates

Image credits: u/iguessimthatdad

The dad says that his daughter has ADHD and was even bullied at school several years ago

Image credits: RODNAE Productions (not the actual image)

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Image credits: u/iguessimthatdad

One day, the teacher saw the girl reading during recess, so she confiscated her book and demanded she go play instead

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Image credits: Pixabay (not the actual image)

Image credits: u/iguessimthatdad

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The father went to the school to stand up for his daughter but was criticized instead

So, the Original Poster (OP) says that his daughter Cleo is now 11 years old and is very active outside of school. The girl plays soccer, takes swimming lessons, and enjoys playing with the neighborhood kids. At the same time, her friendships did not work out at school. Perhaps, the father reasons, it was because Cleo has ADHD and was bullied in the 3rd and 4th grade. Be that as it may, now in her 5th grade, everything is already under control, however, her classmates still ice her out.

Well, on the other hand, Cleo enjoys reading during recess, or just playing alone. The teachers brought this to the parents’ attention several times, but they simply explained that the girl had enough physical activity after school. But the OP’s daughter really likes reading, and she happily reads her mother’s books, and tries to treat them very carefully.

And so, one day, the girl came home from school incredibly upset. It turned out that the teacher had seen her reading her mother’s favorite book during recess and confiscated it. The girl needed to, firstly, be reassured that her mom was not upset, and secondly, her father decided to go to the school and get justice for his daughter.

The teacher, as the dad himself recalls, tried to somehow justify herself, although, as it turned out, she had no right to take away books from children during the break. So the OP just went to the school principal, and after a short conversation, firstly returned the book to his daughter, and secondly got a promise that her books would never again be confiscated if she read during recess.

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However, the original poster’s cousin, who works as a teacher at the same school, later criticized him, saying that what he did is “hot gossip” in the teachers’ lounge, and that now he and his wife will be considered “one of those parents “. Be that as it may, the OP believes that he did the right thing by standing up for his daughter – especially since the girl will be going to another school in August.

Image credits: Max Fischer (not the actual image)

Of course, in the contemporary world, the importance of play for children, in particular, physical activity, is of paramount importance. “Our society knows this is a big contributing factor to the childhood obesity problem and is also linked to depression, yet most teachers comply with the demands of a test-prep-obsessed system,” Lisa Nelson writes in her blog The Innovative Educator. “Watch them. See what they love. See who they are when you aren’t telling them what to do.” And it was this wise advice that the teacher from our story did not follow at all.

“Certainly no one is going to dispute the importance of games during a recess,” says Volodymyr Nemertsalov, the principal of Veda private school in Odessa, Ukraine whom Bored Panda asked for a comment on this story. “On the other hand, if the child loves to read, and the parents have repeatedly said that she has enough physical activities outside school, then ideally there should be no problems with this.”

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“However, it often happens that people try to force others to be healthy or happy. This comes from too literally following the recommendations ‘from above’. In other words, if children are encouraged to play during recess, then they literally ‘should’ play. This is fundamentally wrong and is solved, of course, by talking with the teacher. In any case, if the child is passionate about reading, this is nothing but wonderful and deserves every kind of encouragement, not punishment,” Volodymyr claimed.

By the way, many people in the comments also wrote that they experienced something similar in their school years – however, mostly when they read at an inappropriate time. But even in this case, as commenters recall, they always returned the book at the end of the same day. Here, it is the teacher’s behavior that looks inappropriate. “How can you actively discourage reading and call yourself a teacher???” folks in the comments wondered.

However, a school is a place where, quite often, one has to deal with lots of bureaucracy. For example, as it happened in this post of ours, where a newly-minted superintendent postponed the start of PTM in a rural school by her own decision – and was incredibly surprised when no one showed up. And if you also read at recess in your school years – please let us know how it all happened and how it all ended.

However, people in the comments sided with the author almost unanimously and reminisced about reading books during recess in their school years as well

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natrubio avatar
Natalia Rubio
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm a teacher, the teacher is the AH. No reason to confiscate a book unless it's inappropriate material. In fact, I actively encourage reading at breaktime for children who want to read.

suzycreamcheese avatar
Suzy Creamcheese
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

For that matter, it isn't the teacher's (or the school's) place to decide what is or isn't appropriate reading material for other people's children, and confiscating a student's personal property is crossing a line even if it's only temporary. If the teacher is concerned about what little Jimmy is reading during recess, he or she should contact the parents. If they don't see a problem, that should be the end of it.

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christine-backbay avatar
Uncommon Boston
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My son was an only child. He always needed quiet alone time. In preschool he would often take a book, find a place to sit with the book. It was during "free play" when all the children choose what to do. The preschool used this as an opportunity to teach about boundaries and respecting other's choices. I was one of those parents when he was in public schools. Reading at recess would definitely have been a problem. Too many unreasonable rules.

eeveestar682 avatar
Peppy Piplup
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sorry to say that Cleo not being allowed to read during recess isn't because one teacher had a problem. In primary school I'd try to sit by myself and read books at lunch time but teachers (several different ones) would come along and MADE ME MOVE SEATS to a busy table. Because I was supposed to be "talking to people". It's a common thing.

christine-backbay avatar
Uncommon Boston
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yup, yup. They also wanted him to read certain books. He consumed books and started reading mine. Only once he proudly took the large hardcover novel to school. The teachers yelled, "We will call your mother!" He grinned, "It is my mom's book. She suggested I read it." It was a fun mystery.

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natrubio avatar
Natalia Rubio
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm a teacher, the teacher is the AH. No reason to confiscate a book unless it's inappropriate material. In fact, I actively encourage reading at breaktime for children who want to read.

suzycreamcheese avatar
Suzy Creamcheese
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

For that matter, it isn't the teacher's (or the school's) place to decide what is or isn't appropriate reading material for other people's children, and confiscating a student's personal property is crossing a line even if it's only temporary. If the teacher is concerned about what little Jimmy is reading during recess, he or she should contact the parents. If they don't see a problem, that should be the end of it.

Load More Replies...
christine-backbay avatar
Uncommon Boston
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My son was an only child. He always needed quiet alone time. In preschool he would often take a book, find a place to sit with the book. It was during "free play" when all the children choose what to do. The preschool used this as an opportunity to teach about boundaries and respecting other's choices. I was one of those parents when he was in public schools. Reading at recess would definitely have been a problem. Too many unreasonable rules.

eeveestar682 avatar
Peppy Piplup
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sorry to say that Cleo not being allowed to read during recess isn't because one teacher had a problem. In primary school I'd try to sit by myself and read books at lunch time but teachers (several different ones) would come along and MADE ME MOVE SEATS to a busy table. Because I was supposed to be "talking to people". It's a common thing.

christine-backbay avatar
Uncommon Boston
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yup, yup. They also wanted him to read certain books. He consumed books and started reading mine. Only once he proudly took the large hardcover novel to school. The teachers yelled, "We will call your mother!" He grinned, "It is my mom's book. She suggested I read it." It was a fun mystery.

Load More Replies...
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