A Teacher's Take: Is It Inappropriate to Hand Out Birthday Party Invites in Class?

The educator's viral TikTok spotlighted the serious hurt that can sometimes be done to students who (publicly) don't make the list.

On the surface, birthday parties are a fun excuse to invite your kids' friends over, eat cake, and play games. Unfortunately, something about birthday parties isn't worth celebrating: Kids will inevitably feel left out if they don't get invited.

To avoid hurt feelings, schools have adopted policies that students can only pass out invitations in class if everyone is invited. Not all parents are thrilled about this rule, and they're pinning the blame on teachers. Now, one educator is clapping back. Here's the tea.

One parent posted a video on TikTok, upset that her daughter's teacher called her after the child only bought six invitations to school to pass out to a select group of friends. The teacher said that there are 27 kids in the class, to which the mom apparently said, "Ma'am, this is a birthday party, not a soup kitchen."

Another teacher named Sydney, who goes by @sydneyyythekydneyyy on TikTok, left a comment, "I'm a teacher, and I've watched kids be devastated they were left out. Just don't pass them out in class…simple."

Sydney received some heat from other users for her comment, so she made her own video to shed light on what it's like for students who get left off invite lists.

First, she wanted to reiterate her point: You don't have to invite everyone. "But then just don't pass out the invitations in class," she said.

Sydney went on to call the responses she got on her initial comment "privileged" and "vile."

One comment was, "That's not the parents' problem." Her response? "A lot of these people are just projecting onto the kids," she said. "They're acting like these kids think the world is sunshine and roses, and everything revolves around them."

An image of a child behind a birthday cake.
Getty Images.

And then, she dropped some major truth.

"Newsflash: My kids know life isn't fair," she continued. "You know how I know that? I have students who live in cars. I have students who have dead parents. I have students who don't know where their next meal is coming from."

The point may help put things into perspective for parents who don't understand why it's a big deal when they hand out invitations for their kid's birthday party in class. But Sydney wasn't done.

"A lot of times, it's the students with the hard home lives who have trouble socializing and making friends aren't invited to the birthday," Sydney said. "I'm not going to let you be the reminder that they didn't win the popularity contest this year. Do that…on your own time and leave it out of the classroom."

Kids don't easily forget the times or their feelings when they were left off the party guest list. Proof of this is going viral in a TikTok trend that is breaking hearts and opening old wounds. TikTok users are sharing the damage done by being excluded from birthday parties and are reminding parents that it's more than just an invitation.

The responses on Sydney's video were considerably more Team Teacher.

"It's not a soup kitchen, and my classroom isn't the soup kitchen. Figure it out," the top comment read, an obvious play off of the teacher's former to the original video.

"It would be considered bad taste to discuss your party in front of people who aren't invited as an adult. Why would it be OK for children?" another wanted to know.

"If you only want to invite a few kids, you find out their parents' names and numbers and invite them off-campus. It's rude not to invite the class," wrote another.

Fair point. And in the age of social media, it's never been easier for parents to connect outside of school to make party plans.

The birthday party invite controversy keeps popping up on across the internet. Earlier this year, a parent actually did invite a small group of her son's friends on her own time. But the teacher got wind of it and wanted to punish the child by taking away his recess privileges for the day.

One expert agreed that teacher went too far and that it's best to send out invites privately if the whole class isn't going to make the cut.

So, come on, everyone. Either invite everyone, or round up your kids' friends outside of school. We all have enough to deal with. Save the drama for the mad dash to see which kid can pick up the most candy when the piñata breaks.

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