There's a very interesting community on Reddit called "Am I the Asshole?" It's described as "a catharsis for the frustrated moral philosopher in all of us, and a place to finally find out if you were wrong in an argument that's been bothering you."
Basically, people come to this corner of the internet to ask if they're the asshole in a situation, from serious disputes to petty disagreements. And boy, things can get WILD!
On Tuesday, a mom submitted her back-to-school dilemma, and thousands of people chimed in to argue about it in the replies. So get comfy and grab a beverage, because this is gonna be one heckuva ride.
It all started when this mom took her first-grade daughter back-to-school shopping. They bought the items on the school's list like they were supposed to — however, the mom added that she did ignore a note instructing them not to label the supplies.
I got the list of supplies to buy, did the thing, and brushed over a note about not [labelling] school supplies; it didn’t explain why, and I didn't want her to lose the things we bought so I just...did it anyway and didn’t really think much of it.
Then on the first day of school, the mom got an email from the teacher explaining that the reason for not labeling was because all of the supplies students brought — notebooks, folders, pens — were supposed to be pooled and distributed amongst the entire class.
The saga continued:
"The teacher took the notebooks and folders (I sent six each) and gave [my daughter] two new ones. I emailed the teacher back and said I don’t mind buying extra supplies if a child doesn’t have any, but I want the stuff I bought for my daughter to be returned to her. We picked it out together and she was excited to use them."
The teacher then emailed back saying that she couldn't return the daughter's supplies because another child was already using them. She also told the mom that it was "important that kids learn to share" — and that her daughter in particular seemed to have issues with sharing.
The mom continued: "I’m just not seeing the point of this? My kid had school supplies in the first place, she didn’t need other kids' stuff. It sounds like everything just got pooled and shuffled." She wrote that she was frustrated with the teacher for not communicating the initial instructions more clearly and that she just wanted to put her foot down and get her daughter's supplies back.
And so, this poster asked Reddit: Was she an asshole for not just accepting the teacher's rules and letting this go?
The majority of the commenters concluded that the mom was NOT the asshole:
"NTA. It’s one thing if the list asked parents who can to donate supplies for children who may need them, but this is practically stealing. You weren’t informed of this, and your daughter obviously didn’t consent to her things being taken from her. Likely the only 'lesson' she’s getting is that her wishes will not be respected by those with authority over her. I would take this to the administration and have my child placed into another classroom."
Several other people also chimed in to say they had never even heard of a system like this:
"I have never heard of this before. I have had my kid's teacher ask to send in a couple boxes of tissues, Ziploc baggies, and those sorts of things, but [they've] never made them hand over notebooks or folders...NTA."
However, not everyone was in agreement. Other commenters pointed out that the mom did ignore the "do not label" instructions and that she could have reasonably concluded what it meant:
"OP was given a list of school supplies to send in that said DO NOT LABEL with names. That means they [are] classroom supplies, not personal. It is on OP for choosing to ignore that. She was told — she just didn’t listen. I’m a parent — sharing school supplies is the normal and standard thing at most public schools these days. It’s because there are ALWAYS kids whose parents never buy supplies and so those kids don’t start the school year feeling like shit. God forbid OP teach her daughter to think about anyone but herself."
Some people thought the mom was being overly petty and sympathized more with the teacher:
"YTA. Yes, you’re petty. I can see why your kid is possessive. You’ve now made a huge deal to her about the importance of 'things' and how not to share. At age 6, you did this. You’ve sent a message to the school that you’re THAT mother. Let [it] go. Don’t carry on this nonsense about folders and pink and labels and how many pencils and who bought what. Let her grow. Let her teacher teach. Butt out. Now."
Another commenter said that while they didn't think the mom was the asshole, they also didn't think this was the hill to die on:
"NTA, but you really need to decide if this is your hill to die on. Unless you are planning on switching schools, you have a long way to go and have already made a name for yourself and your daughter...you don’t want to be 'that parent.'"