PTA meetings are, in my experience, like stepping into the Thunderdome. I mean, they're basically an emotionally-charged interaction facilitated by all sorts of different parents with different parenting philosophies. And after over a decade holding these meetings as a teacher, I've found them to be a hot-bed for arguments, judgment, tension, and mommy-shaming. Which is why I wasn't surprised when the following eight moms revealed their worst PTA horror stories. Guys, this isn't child's play.
When I was training as an incoming teacher, it was suggested that I always make sure I had one eye on the nearest exit during PTA meetings and other events involving usually overprotective, controlling, defensive parents. In fact, I was told some parents had been known to turn violent during parent/teacher meetings. And as if that wasn't enough to worry about, there was also the very real tension between different parents, and that tension sometimes manifested into physical altercations, too. Don't believe me? You guys, one time two moms got into a fight and started hurling cupcakes at each other. No, I am not joking. Yes, that did happen.
Now, of course the aforementioned examples are a bit extreme, and there are plenty PTA meetings held across the country that are low-key, easy, violence-free, and wonderful opportunities for parents to get to know one another. PTA meetings can really be an amazing opportunity for parents and school staff to mingle and build a very real sense of community. But they can also take up a lot of your time, which is probably already in short supply. And, yes, sometimes tempers get heated and things can get out of hand and feelings can get hurt. In fact, the following moms' stories are proof positive that things can, in fact, take a turn for the worse:
"One of the moms at the PTA didn't seem to understand that I work 50 hours a week. She kept signing me up for duties that I couldn't possibly see through. I felt like she was purposely trying to make me look bad."
"We have an 'Organic Mafia' at my sons school. They openly shame you if you bring any snacks that don't meet their high standards. Last time my contribution was sent home, unopened, because it didn't meet the grade!"
"At our end of year PTA party, two moms started having an argument. It got out of hand and there was some hair-pulling, then the dads went at it. In the end all four of them ended up in the principal's office!"
"I was actually one of the worst stories from PTA. I had surgery on my knee and was on some strong painkillers, but I was feeling good so I went to a meeting about the new literacy program. I was offered a glass of wine and didn't think anything of it, but I had a reaction when the wine mixed with the medications I was on. I was slurring and swaying around. I knocked over a vase of flowers and made a fool of myself. I was so embarrassed."
"When we moved to town I went to sign-up [for the PTA], thinking I was being civic-minded by volunteering my time. Turns out you can't just volunteer here, you have to be 'selected.' They requested references and searched through my social media accounts and it felt like applying for a job."
"My school held an anti-bullying seminar. One mom kept loudly saying how bad bullying was and how it ruined a child's self esteem. She was interrupting the teacher and naming kids she thought were the problem, when all along her child is the reason the program was put in place. He's been terrorizing half the school!"
"At our summer BBQ this parent volunteer kept complaining about having to help out. She would avoid jobs, stand and watch everyone else clean up, and just go around the corner to smoke. In the end one of the organizers said, 'Why did you even volunteer to help?' She answered that she didn't: she was court mandated to assist in her child's school activities. Wow!"
"Last year my daughter's friends were going through a tough divorce, but they were being so immature about the whole thing. They would sit on opposite ends of the auditorium during meetings and events and just sniped at each other. It go so bad the principal banned them from attending."
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