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Have you ever done this?


No name

I was doing report cards today and one of my students comes from a really messed up home life. The parents are divorced and it was a really bitter, angry divorce. Mom is a really tightly wound, angry woman. I was filling out the report cards and I gave the child an improvement needed mark for behavior. I mentioned it to the child's former teacher and she advised me to give the child a satisfactory because she was afraid of what the mother would do to the child if there was a bad mark on the report card. She suggested that I address the behavior issue in the classroom and let the parents think that everything is fine. I have no reason to suspect abuse but I thought I would err on the side of caution. We had a child last year who was removed from the home because of abuse. His teachers knew that behavior issues were to be dealt with in school because of the way mom would react. Is anyone else in this situation? I asked the social worker back in the fall to create a support group for children of divorce so this kid would have a safe place to deal with her issues but this child's mother never sent back the permission slip.

Gina TX

Senior Member
I have a student who is a good kid, she just talks and talks and talks..... When we had a conference with her mother we (the three teachers) told her that X was a good student she just needed to concentrate on getting her work done and not talking. That mom went nuts. She was seriously ready to pull her out of school and put her in private school as a punishment. I have never felt so bad in my life. I will never say anything to that mom again unless something really, really bad happens. I put S on her conduct without a second thought. She really has gotten better but I would do it anyway. I really feel for this kid. Mom has rediculous expectations. Nothing under a 95 is acceptable to her. I won't mess with her grades, but her conduct I would if I needed to. The kid knows her mother is over the line and she really makes an effort not to get in trouble. I try to reassure her whenever I can. It makes me so sad. Then the kids who really need their parents to come down on them are no where to be found.


Senior Member
For conduct...Yes

I had a kid last year whose mother was really hard on him. I heard her act almost verbally abusive to him many times and call him names. After that, I let her think everything was great because otherwise he got a lot more punishment than he deserved for things that I could handle myself.


Full Member
You guys need

You need to report any abuse you see through the right officials. In our case, it is against the law for a teacher not to report abuse. If it is only suspected, I would document and still let a principal know the concerns.

Mrs. O

Senior Member
definately document

I would say definately document and let your principal know what is going on if you suspect abuse, but have no actual proof. We are supposed to report abuse. In a Christian school, we do have a "chain of command" that these issues must go through unless it is extreme or the child has told us themselves of abuse.

I too have and will gloss over issues with parents, if I think the child will be in more trouble than necessary for a minor problem. I had a little boy one year who would have to do hours of extra homework given by the mother if there were any problems at all, and he was already putting in a good hour and half normally. I do not give any homework besides Spelling and Bible Memory. I encourage them to read at home, but all told I would think it should only take 15 to 20 minutes if that.

I have a mom this year that will make her daughter write pages of scripture if I mention any problems at all or she recieves less than an A on a paper. I do not change grades, but I won't mention her talking as a problem either.


Senior Member
Seen it before

When I was a student teacher in a public 5th grade class, one of the boys would get hit if he didn't get a good grade on a test. Usually, the teacher had those kids with bad test grades get them signed by their parents, but she didn't have him bring his home. I am sure she reported this to the principal.


Senior Member
Dealing with the same issue

I have two students this year whose parents overreact to any correction. I just mark that the child is fine and deal with any issues. I feel sorry that the kids have to deal with this. Sometimes I'd love to give parents grades.


Senior Member
Glossing over

When I was student teaching, we had a student originally from another country, who (we were told by other teachers) would be caned by his father if he got a bad report about behavior. It was a cultural thing. We were told not to send home such reports. Luckily the boy was pretty well-behaved and respectful so it wasn't necessary to hide anything from Dad.

Yes, I do gloss over behavior issues or bend over backwards to help a kid stay caught up academically if I get a sense that there may be some parental overreaction. Why put a kid through that?

And of course, any concrete evidence of abuse must, by law, be reported immediately. I agree with the other posters that if you start documenting now, then IF stronger evidence ever appears, there will be a written record of more circumstantial things to add to it.


Full Member
for the record

The report card in most places is one of the few things saved digitally or in copies to send with a child to the next grade or school. I would mark the needs improvement on the report card because your anecdotal records or other files will not follow that child forever.
We have had 3 teachers this year who have had to go to court to testify about student work and behavior in messy divorce situations. If you don't document in a permanent way- IT DID NOT HAPPEN.
You could be called into question as to why you thought the child needed improvement but you did not document it on the permanent record.

And just for the next years teacher's sake don't lie on the report card. Someone needs to stand up and document things! That same angry parent will then use the report card to say "no one else had problems with my child- look here is the evidence."
If there is question that the mom is abusive do as the previous posters said and report it.

You never want to put yourself into a position where you either have to lie under oath or say you didn't do your job appropriately.
Just a thought.


Senior Member
For the record...

I agree with you. Angry parents need to be dealt with as honestly as possible. I had a situation where the dad was trying to get custody from mom. He was very unstable. He wanted a separate conference from the ex and all. He got it, but he also got my principal sitting in. He was not happy, but we documented it all. He was so angry he sat through our conference with a wrench in his hand... crazy! Anyway, my principal documented everything and ended up having to go to court and he lost all rights to his kids (thank goodness). But had we not documented everything and been honest, though it made him mad, then she would not have had any evidence in court.

I am a firm believer in honesty on report cards. I hate the "no other teacher had problems" ... it usually isn't true!