Passionate Teacher’s Class Pet Initiative Ends in Death and Accusations of Harm to Children

A dedicated teacher took to Reddit for opinions after she gave her students crabs. It may not be quite what you think, but it still made some parents extra crabby. Here is the full story.

Unveiling the Class Pets

OP is a 28-year-old teacher who works in a school district where many of the children come from low-income families.

Because her students might not always have the chance to own pets or even be around animals, OP always tries to have some animals in her classroom as part of her lessons.

During the most recent school year, OP prepared her class for a unit on biology by having them write essays about various animals. She used hermit crabs as an example.

And then, when it was time to start on the month-long lesson, OP unveiled a habitat that contained 3 hermit crabs.

The Kids Were Excited to Take Care of Them

The kids were super stoked, and OP knew this was going to be a great learning experience.

During the next month, OP had the kids take turns caring for the crabs, and they all studied how the creatures lived in the wild. They even named the crabs along the way.

Before the unit ever started, OP also worked with her administration to get permission for something special. 

OP contacted all of her students’ parents before the hermit crab unit ever began and told them that she planned to send one of the crabs home with each of 3 kids. There were no objections.

Adoption Option

Then, as the unit was winding down, OP gave her students a chance to apply to adopt one of the crabs. Of her 22 pupils, 8 applied.

Then OP contacted those 8 sets of parents, and only 4 of them gave permission for their child to bring a crab home.

So, from those final 4, OP made a judgment call and picked the 3 kids she felt most comfortable sending the crabs home with.

Then, about a week after the unit was over and the crabs went to their new homes, one of the girls who had taken a crab approached OP. Her crab had died the night before.

Distressed Child Was Grieving for Dead Crab

OP was sad to hear this news and she could see the girl was upset, so she sent her to the guidance counselor. The school had a program for helping deal with grief, and that was the starting point.

OP didn’t stop there, though. Instead she reached out to the girl’s mother to see if she could help in any other way.

And that’s when the situation got really tense for OP.

The girl’s mother said OP was wrong for giving her daughter a pet. She said the girl had been crying nonstop, and it was all OP’s fault.

She Was Accused of Knowingly Causing Harm

Then the mom complained to the administration, and OP got called on the carpet by her principal, who said the whole thing was a bad idea.

The principal accused OP of knowingly harming an animal and causing grief and pain for her student.

Now, OP is beside herself and doesn’t know what to think. She was trying to do something nice and educational, and she went through all the proper channels, but now everyone has turned against her.

Don’t Send Class Pets Home

Redditors are somewhat mixed on this one.

Many of them express disbelief in the nerve the girl’s mother had for complaining about OP when she agreed to the whole thing.

But others say it’s rarely a good idea to give a live animal to anyone and offer suggestions about how OP can avoid similar situations in the future.

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Motortion Films. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

Source: Reddit