Uptight Mom Flips Out Over 3rd Grader's School Award

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homeworkMaking fun of children isn't nice, but teaching them to be able to laugh at themselves is an important skill that too often gets pushed aside as many parents today overreact to every little thing that may hurt their precious little one's feelings. Case in point: Arizona mom Christina Valdez who's outraged over a recent award her daughter was given at school.

Valdez's 8-year-old daughter, Cassandra Garcia, came home from her school recently with the offending award. Instead of it being a source of pride like most awards would be, it was a "Catastrophe Award" given for the "Most Excuses for Not Having Homework." It was signed by her third grade teacher with a smiley face, but it left Valdez feeling anything but smiley.

In fact, she was outraged that it was given to her daughter in front of classmates who laughed, and she went to the school to complain. She says the principal blew her off and told her it was a joke. She told KGUN9-TV:

I think it's cruel and no child should be given an award like this. It's disturbing.

Whether Cassandra actually had a problem making up excuses like the dog ate her homework, I don't know, but I don't think it's nearly as big of a deal as this mother is making out to be. She told the station she's so upset that she won't be sending her daughter back to that school next year. The station got input from all sorts of specialists who chimed in with how awful the award was too. "They feel less than, they feel fearful of authority of what might happen if they make a mistake," said psychologist Sheri Bauman.

Or maybe next year they'll stop making excuses and actually do their homework?  Look, while I don't think the award was the best move on the teacher's part, I think the mom's reaction will do a lot more damage to the girl in the long run. Instead of just telling her to brush it off as a bad joke, she's teaching the girl to take herself way too seriously.

Learning to laugh at ourselves and being able to take a joke are vital skills in life. I'm working on it big time with my 8-year-old son who gets irate anytime anyone dares laugh at him or ribs him even a little. In a perfect world, no one would ever laugh at our kids, but it's not perfect, so we may as well give them skills to deal with it rather than freak out over every little joke.

Do you think it was wrong for the teacher to give out this award? Do you think the mother is overreacting?


Image via smbuckley23/Flickr

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Shandi80 Shandi80

This is why not every kid deserves an award...the teacher had to scramble to find something to "award" said child and this is the best she came up with. Political correctness has gone wayyyy too far.

nonmember avatar A Farris

I agree--not every kid deserves an award. I also think that in the time the teacher thought to take to print out the mocking award, she could have emailed or picked up the phone to call the mom of the failing student. Instead she made a joke at the expense of an 8 year old's education. Educate, don't humiliate!

miche... micheledo

I don't think this was a smart idea.  We often don't know what is going on in a child's home life.  She could have the most excuses because of a lot of problems at home.  Giving recognition for the fact that a child made tons of excuses and didn't turn in homework is not an award.  It is to put them to shame.  Not appropriate in front of the class.

Maybe if the teacher came up with something more creative and fun like "Craziest excuse for not turning in homework." 

tinyp... tinypossum

So you think mocking and public humiliation are great ways to motivate little kids? I'd be furious if my child's teacher did something like that. What she should have done is talk to the child and her parents and figure out why she's not doing her work and develop a plan to get her back in track. This teacher is a moron and you are too, if you think what she did isn't harmful to that little girl.

howcrazy howcrazy

This would have been appropriate for an older child, perhaps middle school and up.  Not so much for a young elementary student.  Teachers and groups(such as band) often have awards ceremonies that are not serious, but funny such as this was meant to be.  Young kids are not fully equipped to see the humor in the situations though.

libby261 libby261

In giving this award, the teacher became a bully.  Yes, I would be outraged too.  I would have complained to the teacher  and the principal.  I am appalled that the principal "blew" the complaint off.  I hope the media attention has caused the teacher and the principal to have second thoughts.

Guest27 Guest27

I think the teacher shouldn't have given this award, and I also think the mother is overreacting. It seems like the mother wasn't concerned with her child's education until now, if she was, the child would have had her homework done. Seems like this was probably a difficult parent to deal with the whole school year.

LizB86 LizB86

Too embarrasing for such a little kid.  Being laughed at by her peers would be a big, bad deal at that age.  The parent needs to get on top of the homework situation fast though, before there are real consequences to not turning in homework.

Prett... PrettyGirlMyers

I think this award is HILARIOUS and I wish someone would have given one to my daughter. There's nothing wrong with a little humiliation, and I'm sure the teacher spent a lot of time over the year trying to get this kid to turn her homework in. The mother's response as well at the CM reactions are the reason that so many kids these days are just giant babies who can't take a critical word or action against them. The teacher in NO WAY bullied this child, kids need to get a backbone!

Sierr... SierraLynn

I think people need to stop treating their kids like little babies. The teacher should have (may have) contacted the parent for the missing homework. But not all parents will get on the kid about it. An 8 year old child is not a baby anymore. Dont treat them like they are.

If it were my kid, Id tell them to brush/laugh it off and do their damn homework next time so it doesnt happen again.

Life is full of disappointments and people poking fun at you. I do not, and will not shelter my child from it. It believe she will have a thicker skin and be able to brush stupid crap like this off instead of freaking out over nothing.

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