Mother claims her son received a ‘zero’ grade because he didn’t have class supplies

A mother has sparked a debate after revealing that her son received a “zero” from his teacher because he didn’t bring in “classroom supplies”.

The parent, Shanitta Busby, shared a recent video to TikTok about her 13 year old, in which she explained that he recently started at a new school. She noted that, prior to the middle schooler’s first day, she bought him “new school supplies,” since the list of supplies needed was “a little different” than ones she’d seen before, and she “wanted him to be prepared”.

Busby said that while her child’s first week at school went well, he came home the second week and told her: “My teacher said we need to have classroom supplies.” She responded to her son by saying it was strange that his teacher wanted him to have certain “classroom supplies”.

“I’m like: ‘That’s weird, because 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,’” she recalled. “And so I left it at that.”

However, according to Busby, the teacher later told her son that she’d “give [him] a zero if [he] didn’t turn in the classroom supplies”. While the parent questioned why her son was being graded for having the items, she said that she still went on to get the “classroom supplies,” which included things like tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitiser, pencils, Expo markers and red pens.

Although she gave her son these supplies to turn in to his teacher, she said that the following week, her son “still had a zero”. She explained that when she emailed the teacher about the grade, she also claimed that parents shouldn’t be responsible for “supplying” the items needed in the teacher’s classrooms.

“I email the teacher and I’m like: ‘Hey, I’m kind of concerned because my student has an 83 in the class, and everything else in the class is 100s and 98s. And he still have a zero for something called classroom supplies,’” she recalled. “I was like: ‘We bought the supplies anyways, but I don’t feel like it’s the parent’s responsibility to supply your classroom.’”

She also told the teacher that she didn’t “think it was appropriate to assign a grade to students based on whether or not they’ve supplied” their teacher’s classroom. According to Busby, the teacher responded to the email by saying: “I appreciate an involved parent, and I’ll update his grade today.” However, the teacher didn’t address the parent’s concerns about the grade itself existing.

“She said nothing about the fact that we shouldn’t have to supply your classroom with supplies,” she explained. “So I emailed the principal, I might be extra, but I just wanna see what’s going on. Why do I have to buy supplies for the classroom?

In the comment, she clarified that she and her husband bought the supplies that were needed for his homeroom, as he’s in middle school. She then specified that the grade he got for “classroom supplies” was for only his math class.

Busby later shared a follow-up video with a screenshot of her son’s grade in the class, noting that there were two different grades for his “supplies”. While he got 90 for his “homework/classwork,” in the “supplies section”, he initially had a zero under the “participation” for “supplies”. However, his zero was then updated to a 100, giving him a 98 in the class.

She then emphasised why she contacted the principal about her son’s “supplies” grade, adding: “Why are you assigning a grade for additional school supplies for the classroom? That’s what was wrong to me.”

In the comments of the two videos, which have received more than 1.5m views combined, many people came to the parent’s defence, noting that some parents can’t afford all classroom supplies, so children’s grades shouldn’t be penalised for that.

“Classroom supplies are not graded. She is not to force parents to get it,” one wrote, while another added: “That is so unfair!! Especially for the kids whose parents CAN’T afford groceries let alone classroom supplies!!!”

“Somebody has to buy supplies and it’s not fair to the teacher. BUT they pool the supplies because everyone can’t afford them. To grade that is ridiculous,” a third commented.

On the other hand, some parents acknowledged that they would get certain school supplies for their children, and defended teachers from having to buy them.

“I will buy anything my kids’ teachers need. I usually send $200 through a cash app per 1/4. Teachers shouldn’t have to buy either,” one wrote, while another added: “The grade I don’t agree with! As a former teacher, I spent a lot of my personal money on supplies. New teachers don’t even get a stapler.”

“Teachers don’t make anywhere near enough to supply everything for classrooms, like tissues if your kid has a runny nose. Or wipes to clean messes,” a third wrote.

Speaking to Insider, Busby said she’s still waiting to hear back from the principal on how the situation is being handled. She also shared her belief that the school districts should be giving supplies needed in classrooms, rather than having parents or teachers pay for it.

The Independent has contacted Busby for comment.

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