A preschool teacher purportedly banned a student from eating a lunch that included kimchi because it was “distracting” for his classmates and has an “unpleasant” odor.
The 5-year-old’s mother, who goes by the Reddit username flowergardens0 — and is believed to be based in the U.S. — took the matter to a subreddit called “Am I The Assh*le” (AITA) this week, identifying their family as Korean.
According to flowergardens0, her child’s typical lunch consists of “small celery sticks with blue cheese, goat cheese, kimchi, spam and spicy Doritos marinated in sriracha.”
She acknowledged that while the lunches she packs are “definitely not the healthiest,” they are “according to my son’s preferences.”
After school earlier this week, the child’s teacher called the Redditor to talk about her son’s lunch.
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She allegedly called the lunches “disgusting” and demanded the mother stop making them.
“She made absolutely no effort to sound kind when she, in an extremely rude and annoyed tone, told me to stop packing my son such ‘disgusting and inappropriate’ lunches,” flowergardens0 claimed. “She added that the lunches I’m packing my son are ‘very distracting for the other students and have an unpleasant odor.’”
Until their confrontation, flowergardens0 said she and the teacher in question have “always maintained a friendly relationship.” The doting parent responded by saying she understands the teacher’s concerns, but she cannot just make her son change his eating preferences.
I ended the call by saying that I very much appreciated her worries, but that at the end of the day, I am not going to drastically change my sons’ lunches all of a sudden, and that it’s not my fault if other students are ‘distracted’ by his meal. It is very important to me what my son enjoys, and I want him to like my lunches.
The confrontation, however, supposedly did not end there. The teacher allegedly sent a follow-up email, saying the mother’s response was “unacceptable” and that her son’s lunches are “just too inappropriate to be sent to school any longer.”
As of this writing, flowergardens0’s post has received over 22,000 upvotes, with many offering support and some accusing the teacher of racism.
“Report her to the principal. Her comments regarding your son’s food are ‘disgusting’ and ‘have an unpleasant tone,’ aka cough cough racist tone,” one user commented. “She’s too inappropriate to be teaching at the school any longer. NTA.” Another replied, “Your son’s food is perfectly normal. For a 5-year-old. Your family’s food is normal. The teacher is TA for not recognizing that.”
“The other thing that irritates me about this is, if (and still a big ‘If!’) the other kids are really ‘distracted’ by the food (read: bullying your kid about the food), this teacher isn’t going to do a good job defending your son and teaching these kids to accept differences. Instead she’s likely to join in the bullying herself,” another suggested
This is not the first time an Asian parent has taken to Reddit to share about their children being punished for their food. Last year, a Chinese mother said her 6-year-old daughter was forced to eat alone at lunch by a teacher who also called her food “smelly” and “distracting” to others.