Care and Feeding

My Daughter’s New Teacher Is the Mother of My Son’s Bully

She knows we complained to the school. Should I be worried?

A teacher snaps her fingers in front of students sitting at their desks in a classroom
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

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Dear Care and Feeding,

I’m having a little bit of a freakout about my 9-year-old’s teacher next year that I’m 75 percent sure is all in my head. Basically, her future teacher is the mother of the kid who last year told my 10-year-old son that if he didn’t give him $20, he’d beat him up. I don’t feel like the school dealt with it particularly well, but the mother was informed. I’m worried that 1) she raised that little shit (but I get that lots of good parents have kids that do iffy stuff), and more importantly 2) she’s going to hold it against my daughter. Am I being irrational? There isn’t another class for my daughter to switch into without changing campuses or leaving the bilingual program she’s been in for four years. I should probably just give the teacher a chance, right?

—Trying to Be a Reasonable Mama Bear

Dear Mama Bear,

I don’t think you’re being entirely irrational (I’ve been through something similar with a fellow parent who also happens to be a teacher, and I wouldn’t want either of my kids in her class). I understand why you’re a bit anxious about your child having this particular teacher. But since there’s no other teacher/class available within this bilingual program, and it sounds like you don’t want to move your child out of it, I think it’s OK if you want to let your daughter start the school year and see how it goes. My guess is that this teacher will have enough to deal with, teaching in a pandemic year, without nursing some deep grudge against a 9-year-old (who was, after all, completely uninvolved with the bullying incident). Make sure you talk with your kid often about how things are going at school, and try to maintain an open line of communication with the teacher. If you ever do have any concerns, then you can try to address them and/or reevaluate your decision.


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