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This Concerned Teacher's Elementary School Student Tried To Steal, And Their Parents Openly Defended It

I don't know if you've been on the internet lately, but there's been a lot of discourse about parents and their kids — how people are raising them, what the iPads are doing to them, how much responsibility they should have... the list is endless.

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Well, recently, Reddit user u/lhatss98 (or Miss Hats, for short) took to the popular r/Teachers subreddit to share her story and vent about something that happened in her classroom.

Here's what happened, in her own words: "On Monday," she begins, "a student in my lower elementary class was trying to steal a classroom tablet that I [had] purchased with my own money."

"The student had it hidden under their shirt and tried to stuff it in their backpack," Miss Hats writes. "Another student saw this and shouted, 'Hey! [Student's Name], what are you doing?' That’s when the tablet fell out from their shirt."

Woman with lanyard looking concerned in a classroom setting

"I called the student over and had a very serious but gentle chat about what had happened. [The] student admitted that [they] were trying to take the tablet."

Adult woman and child sitting down and having conversation

"We [ended] our conversation with discussing that stealing is wrong," says Miss Hats, "and [moved their] clip [on the class chart] down for not being respectful. [The student was] of course upset and cried at the front of the room."

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"Other students [gave them] hugs, and I gave a hug, too," says Miss Hats. "[I reminded the] student that sometimes we make mistakes. [They] stopped crying less than 10 minutes later."

"[The] end of the day rolled around and I wrote in the planner about the incident. After school, I had a face to face meeting with Mom already scheduled and shared exactly what happened."

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"After hearing what happened, Mom asks why [her] child was crying. I reiterate that the student was caught stealing the tablet."

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"Mom asks again, and again. I keep saying back, 'They tried to steal a tablet.' She asks again. Finally, I say, 'I guess she was embarrassed for getting in trouble?'"

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"Like, I didn’t know what to say. They were stealing and got caught. Tears were an appropriate reaction. It showed remorse."

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"Mom also asked if it happened in front of the class. I again [reiterated] that it happened during center time, and that the entire class was present, but that the conversation was private."

Two women engaged in a conversation, one holding a digital tablet. They appear to be in a casual work or educational setting

"[I thought] we [moved] on without much issue. Apparently, this was wrong."

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"The next day, the father [called] and [yelled] at the principal, saying that I embarrassed his child and labeled them a thief."

Man in checked jacket and tie with a concerned expression
Man in checked jacket and tie with a concerned expression
Man in checked jacket and tie with a concerned expression
Man in checked jacket and tie with a concerned expression

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"He also said the child was just trying to 'borrow' the tablet. He also said I shouldn’t have written what happened in the planner — I told parents at the beginning of the year that I use the planner to communicate any behavior [patterns], good or bad, to them —  and that I should have called him (he and Mom are married and live together)."

"My principal, of course, [contacted] me about this whole issue. I [explained] what happened. I was basically told [to] next time just call the parents. I guess talking IN PERSON wasn’t enough?"

Man in a business suit talking on a phone in an office setting
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"But this is where I’m worried about this upcoming generation. What should’ve been a discussion about stealing, and that it’s wrong, instead became a witch hunt for the teacher? What are we teaching our children? That’s stealing is fine? That if we make a mistake, it’s someone else’s fault?"

People in the comments — mostly other teachers — had a lot to say, both good and bad.

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One teacher, u/QueenOfNeon, wrote, "I teach middle school. There is literally zero accountability."

"I think most kids do steal, at least small things, until their parents catch them and correct the behavior," wrote user u/SassyWookie. "Taking something that you want even if it isn’t yours is totally normal behavior for children of a certain age..."

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One former teacher who goes by username u/Hihieveryoneitsme shared, "As a former teacher and now a mom, I also seriously worry about the next generation. I’ve seen parents blaming others in TODDLER playgroups. We are definitely doomed."

And out-of-touch parents are everywhere, not just in the classroom. "I nanny a 5th grader... [one] day she was struggling with homework and I told her she needs to go to tutoring," says u/TypicalSandwich3686. "I am not strong in teaching her something I haven’t done in 10 years. (I suck at math!) She said, 'Only dumb kids go to tutoring.'”

Man with a skeptical expression holding a paper
Man with a skeptical expression holding a paper
Man expressing disapproval while reading a paper
Man expressing disapproval while reading a paper

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"[I] turned this into a lesson about the fact that some people... [just require] extra help. I listed her older sister as an example. She cried and cried and cried. She wasn’t in trouble of course, I was just trying to correct something that can turn into a problem later on or if she says something around the wrong person."

"Her parents have heard her say things like this and [don't] give the same [speeches] as me, and that worries me. They just coddle her because she’s crying but don’t address the larger issues. I’m really concerned about these next few generations. I feel for you teachers, I really really do."

Another teacher, u/EducationalTip3599, wrote, "The one that I hate is when a teacher tells a parent that the student lied, and they say, 'Are you calling my kid a LIAR?!' like that’s the worst thing [possible], and if it wasn’t defined by an act that is definitely provable. It takes everything in me not to go Drake and Josh on 'em."

Drake from
Drake from
Josh from Drake and Josh, looking skeptical, text:
Josh from Drake and Josh, looking skeptical, text:

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But misbehaving kids — and their parents — definitely aren't unique to today. "25 years ago a neighbor kid stole our video games and his parents responded by buying him a new game console so he wouldn't want to steal our previous generation console's games," says u/dragon34.

"My parents are also pretty sure the little shit snuck into our house and stole the camera and video camera, but were never able to prove it. Some people should not reproduce."

"This is an administration problem," says user u/Grst. "Parents have always been stupid about this stuff. Schools used to not cater to them."

Man with mustache in office, old computer in background
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I guess the moral of the story is to teach your kids basic manners and not steal things from the classroom. Please let me know your thoughts, because I have so many; mostly along the lines of, "Kids these days!"

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Please note that comments have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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