"Not Our Responsibility" — Teacher Gave Kid a Zero for Not Buying "Supplies" for the Whole Class
Parents know the drill when a new school season is in full swing. Children are required to have school supplies — from black-and-white notebooks to No. 2 sharpened pencils — for their days to run smoothly. In fact, some teachers make it a point to give parents a list of school supplies needed, depending on the type of class.
Parents are often asked to buy classroom supplies by teachers.
Most parents comply with the school supplies list to set their children up for success. However, things can get pretty muddy once teachers ask parents to purchase classroom supplies — think hand sanitizer, cleansing wipes, etc. After all, most kids have their own supplies and don't need to take from the classroom supplies.
So, one parent on TikTok shared that a teacher gave her child a zero for not buying classroom supplies — and social media users were a bit perplexed. Here’s the scoop.
A teacher gives a student a zero for not purchasing classroom supplies.
It’s the audacity of it all. In a September 2023 TikTok video, creator Snooze (@shanittanicole) shared her predicament with her son's teacher after he was given a zero for not having classroom supplies.
“Am I doing too much?” the video caption reads.
Shanitta purchased everything on her child's school supply list.
As the video starts, Shanitta explains that her son started a new school and before the semester, they purchased school supplies based off of a provided list. As expected, the first week of school went well for the youngster. However, things began to get weird.
During the second week, Shanitta said that her son returned home and said that the teacher told him he needed “classroom supplies.”
However, her son was told that he would be given a zero if he didn't bring in “classroom supplies.”
“And I’m like, That’s weird. We got you everything on the list that you would need for the class and you’re not going to be using any classroom supplies,” Shanitta said.
During the third week, the son came home and said that the teacher was going to give him a zero as a grade if he didn’t turn in the classroom supplies. Naturally, Shanitta questioned the teacher for giving her son a zero and wondered why bringing in classroom supplies required a grade.
Shanitta ended up buying the supplies, but her son was still given a zero.
Instead of arguing, Shanitta said that she purchased the classroom supplies that include: tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, pencils, Expo markers, and red pens. Interestingly, the following week, Shanitta’s son still had a zero grade which prompted her to email the teacher.
Shanitta questioned the teacher about the grade.
Shanitta questioned the teacher about the grade, saying it was “inappropriate” and told her that she doesn’t think “it's the parent’s responsibility to supply her classroom.”
The teacher responded by saying, “I appreciate the involved parents and I’ll upgrade his grade today.” However, Shanitta was bothered since the teacher didn’t answer her statement that parents shouldn't have to be responsible for classroom supplies. She said that she went on to email the principal.
TikTok users agree with Shanitta and say that the teacher was wrong for assigning a grade.
Unfortunately, it’s well-known that some schools are understaffed and teachers lack supplies and tools needed to teach regularly. So, it’s common for teachers to request for parents to contribute classroom supplies. However, it’s quite unheard of for students to be penalized by a grade for not providing said classroom supplies. So once Shanitta shared her story, TikTok users were ready to defend her.
Commenters said that the grading system would most impact families who can't afford extra supplies.
“That is so unfair!! Especially for the kids whose parents CAN'T afford groceries let alone classroom supplies,” one person shared.
Many argued that while asking for supplies is fine, it shouldn't be tied to a grade.
“You are not wrong! It is 100 percent OK for her to ask for supplies, but mandate it for grades? Absolutely not,” another person said.
"She is not to force parents to get it," one commenter argued.
"Classroom supplies are not graded," one user added. "She is not to force parents to get it."
Teachers also weighed in.
One teacher wrote: "It's not appropriate for us as teachers to buy things for everybody else's kids but we do."
In a response to that comment, Shanitta said that children from families who can't afford to contribute classroom supplies would be penalized the most.
While others didn't like the policy, they did say that asking for classroom supplies is necessary.
One user explained: "Yeah I don’t agree with it being a grade, but if parents don’t help teachers usually end up paying out of pocket. And it’s not fair to them either."
Shanitta countered: "I get that. It’s not fair to either. The responsibility should be on the schools and district."
People seemed to agree that the situation wasn't fair on parents or teachers.
"Somebody has to buy supplies and it’s not fair to the teacher," one user wrote. "BUT they pool the supplies because everyone can’t afford. To grade that is ridiculous."
Shanitta added: "My issue is the grade. What about families who can’t afford it?"
Others thought Shanitta was in the wrong.
"You wrong," one user added. "The supplies will be used in the classroom where he is learning. Cleaning the desk the kids will use the pens to write on the whiteboard."
Shanitta replied: "The issue is the grade, not the supplies."
What do you think?
Teachers, we understand what you’re up against, but there's a right way to go about it. What do you think about the situation?