December 11, 2023 at 6:37 pm

Mom Argues Her Daughter Should Be Allowed To Set Boundaries At School And Exclude Bully From Her Friend Group

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Reddit/AITA/iStock

Everyone, girls and boys and everyone else, has to walk a line between being inclusive and being comfortable on a pretty regular basis.

More and more, parents are teaching their children to remove themselves from situations where they don’t feel comfortable, but a lot of schools still hold a firm “no excluding” line.

OP’s daughter is 12, and there is a boy at school who has been bothering her and her friends for some time. The teacher and administration are aware of the situation, and OP’s daughter has done her best to be respectful.

My daughter is 12, I’m trying to teach her ways of creating and respecting her boundaries that are age appropriate. Teaching her that it’s ok to say “No” to things she feels uncomfortable with.

There is a boy in her class who keeps bothering her and her female friends at recess. I’ve encouraged her to go to me or her teacher when this happens.

This continued when that same boy tried to insist on joining their group in class. OP’s daughter told him their group was full and they didn’t want him to be part of it, so he should join another one.

My daughter told me a few days ago that in class, the teacher had asked the kids to form groups of about four or five.

She had formed a group of five with some other girls, then the boy who had been giving her trouble at recess came over and said he was joining their group.

Another girl said that they already have five, and he should work with a group who only have two or three people.

He tried to say they weren’t allowed to exclude him, based on a school policy.

He said no because the teacher had said “about” four or five. My daughter then said that they didn’t want to work with him, and he should find another group. A few of the other girls agreed with her.

He said that “you can’t exclude me like that, it’s against class rules” and she said she didn’t care.

I heard about this from my daughter first, and the way she talked about it, she had been firm but not unkind.

The teacher emailed OP later, stating the same thing and asking that she speak with her daughter.

But then I got an email from her teacher saying she wanted to call. 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.

OP replied that she didn’t feel comfortable doing that, and outlined her reasons.

I sent her an email saying..

Dear Mrs. (Teacher)

I’m sorry, but that is not a lesson I feel comfortable teaching my daughter.

She’s at the age where she is already having to deal with unwanted attention, and I’m making a point to teach her that she does not have to be around anyone who makes her uncomfortable. And that a young lady is able to choose to spend time with people who make her feel respected.

I understand you already are aware (Boy) has been behaving in ways that she feels uncomfortable with at recess, from our prior conversations.

I think it is a very dangerous lesson to teach a girl she has to include and be kind to everyone, instead of teaching her to be aware of when someone is not respecting her “No” and stepping out of the situation.

I hope I don’t have to explain in too much detail why I find this important… But to put it briefly, I was brought up with the “Include everyone” mindset. No exceptions. It taught me to ignore my own comfort level, and as I became a young adult I became the victim of men who used my inability to say “No” to their advantage. It’s a dangerous lesson, and no longer appropriate at that age.

Thank you,

The teacher then asked her to come in for a meeting with her and the administration.

She emailed me back asking for a meeting in person with the principal. I’m preparing for that but wondering if my email was too harsh.

OP ended up speaking to the parents of the other girls involved, doing some research, and going in with a united front.

I reached out to the parents of the other four girls in the class who were involved, and we all coordinated to go speak to the school administration together. They had similar views, thinking it was inappropriate for the school to expect the girls work with someone who they’re not comfortable with, and frustrated the teacher didn’t do more to deal with the issues during recess that made the girls uncomfortable to start with.

I ended up asking the school if we could reschedule the meeting to a time all the involved families could make, and we ended up meeting this afternoon along with my husband, another couple, two mothers, and a father. Along with the teacher and principal.

She feels there is a good possibility of things changing going forward.

We all presented a united front asking for the following…

The school does training for the teachers on trauma-informed teaching methods and the dangers of expecting young women to go against their best judgement of their own boundaries to be “nice”.

Instead of “Include everyone” the kids should be allowed to respectfully set boundaries and taught to respect each other’s boundaries.

The school addresses harassment in class or at recess and doesn’t enable it to continue.

We went to talk, and I think it went a lot better having all the parents join instead of if I’d gone alone.

The teacher and principal apologized and the principal agreed to look for resources on how to better navigate the balance between being inclusive and not forcing kids into including someone who is crossing a line with them.

Reddit was a big help to her – let’s check out their advice!

The top comment pointed out that the boy seems to want to continue his harassment under the guise of “inclusion.”

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person agrees kids should be able to set and hold boundaries.

Source: Reddit/AITA

If the school has an anti-bullying policy, they should be able to take action.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Girls rights to do this should be defended at all costs.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Either way, the lesson the daughter will learn is not a good one, if nothing is done.

Source: Reddit/AITA

I am so glad that OP did not just let his go.

More parents need to listen up and do the same.