Teachers often have to make difficult decisions about how to reward or discipline their students. One such decision is whether or not to invite all students to a class barbecue. Some teachers believe that it is important to include all students, regardless of their behavior.

A user asked, Am I wrong for not inviting all students to a barbecue?


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The Original Poster (OP) is a 30-year-old teacher. She has a class with 24 students and teaches 1st grade.

What Did She Do?

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She told her students they could have a barbecue at a park (with hotdogs, hamburgers, and snacks) for whoever filled their “good noodle” sticker charts. The principal has approved this, and she teaches at a private school.

What Does OP Say

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OP says, “We have daily sticker charts to track their behavior in school. They had to have perfect behavior all of April to participate.”

There Was One Student With Behavioral Issues

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She has one student who has some behavioral issues. They did not earn all of their good noodle stickers this month. Since this student – OP decides to call Bobby – didn’t earn the barbecue, OP had let his mother know just in case he mentioned it.

What Would He Do

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Bobby would join another class for the day and do work inside while his classmates were at the barbecue.

What Did The Parent Do?

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Bobby’s mother has been sending emails complaining to OP and the principal all week about how her child should be able to participate, which is unfair.

She thinks they should make an exception since he has behavioral issues and feels we could be targeting him. OP thinks she is being fair because he did not earn all his good noodle stickers.

OP wants to know if she is a jerk.

What We Understand From Comments

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Some of your comments specify that this kid has an IEP.

A user says, “100% a jerk. A kid that young who already has an IEP is never going to be able to meet that level of behavioral expectation, regardless of whatever accommodations the IEP calls for.

Perfection for a month! You set this kid up to fail. Hopefully, not on purpose, but that’s still the outcome. Learn from this in the future.”

They’re 1st Graders

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“You are a jerk. As a former educator, I wouldn’t say I like these kinds of public exclusionary rewards, ESPECIALLY for young kids. These are 1st graders. From what you’ve posted, this was the only student excluded. No way will this encourage better behavior from this young child in the future.

Kids, especially young ones, often act out, reacting to emotional stimuli they don’t have the appropriate tools to process. 99% of the time, a kid in 1st grade who is acting out has trouble somewhere – stress/problems at home, getting bullied, who knows. For the same reason, it’s unfair to punish young kids for tardiness or attendance issues; it’s unfair to expect a kid this young to “behave” all the time when you have no idea what might be happening in their lives that isn’t in their control.

Publicly excluding one child is going to make behavior issues worse. You’re turning them into a pariah to their peers – kids can be mean and honestly don’t need much to single someone out as “other.”

I know you want to use some kind of reward system for the kids who are behaving the way you want, but you’re talking about 6 year olds! Something as big as a BBQ at the park should have been an all-or-nothing class goal. Singling out the one kid who is having trouble (which, again, you as the teacher will almost NEVER know the true source of) is bullying.

If these were high schoolers that would be one thing – teenagers are more mature and can be expected to have more control over their behavior – but we’re talking about kids who are only SIX years old.

You need to rethink your reward system, keeping in mind age-appropriate expectations for these children.”

This Is A Bad System

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“This is what really gets me. It’s such an unrealistic expectation. The child has issues, and they only messed up once in a whole month.

That seems worth celebrating, not punishment. If you are setting up a system and it’s possible for all but one child to succeed, it’s a lousy system, especially at this age. There needs to be some safeguard.”

I Wouldn’t Have My Child Go To School That Day

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“Expecting first graders to be good all month is already hard enough as is, but excluding some of the kids while the rest have fun? This wouldn’t be okay with me if I were a parent.

I wouldn’t have my child go to school on that day. You’re a jerk.”

This Isn’t Age Appropriate

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“You’re wrong. Perfect behavior for an entire month is not an age-appropriate expectation for 1st graders.

At that age, shorter-term rewards are more effective.”

We All Have Bad Days

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“You’re wrong. singling out a child you know has behavioral issues and possibly can’t control certain things, and you’re punishing them for it?

I’m glad our teachers recognize effort, we all have bad days, and this is one of your massive ones! Glad you don’t teach my kids!”

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Teacher Invites All The 1st Graders to a Barbecue Except One. Says, “He Didn’t Earn ALL Good Noodle Stickers”. Thinks It’s FAIR. Is It?

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A user asked, Am I wrong for not inviting all students to a barbecue? You decide.

This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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