Sorry in advance for the lengthy post. I have a question about a situation, some small details will be changed below for privacy. Starting in March, I changed the way I graded a certain homework assignment. I sent home a note, an email, and talked with students about it. It was a minor change and it was carefully explained. There should have been no wiggle room on it. Either the assignment was done the way I asked, or it wasn't, and they lost points accordingly. The way I was going to give points was extremely clear. Each assignment should take about thirty minutes to complete and is turned in once a week. One student, I'll call her Maria, is the daughter of a highly involved PTA (parent-teacher association) parent. Maria turned in the first assignment, Week 1: 1/4 points. Week 2: 2/4 points I email out a polite reminder all parents, again: make sure you remind your student to follow the directions!Week 3: 1/4 Week 4: 2/4 As this point, I get an email from Maria's mother, who regularly checks grades online. WHY does Maria have these failing grades on these assignments? (To me, it seems that she should have noticed these points then before week 4, but...) I let the parent know of the requirements, tell her I'll check with her daughter, and remind her that although the homework is important, it's not a huge part of the grade. No, I do not allow makeup work for this assignment, sorry. I talk to the daughter, make sure there are no questions and all instructions are completely understood.Week 5: 1/4 Week 6: 2/4 I get another email from the parent: she keeps getting a failing grade! WHY?? I explain that I've clarified the requirements multiple times. It really is (truly) an easy requirement to meet. She is not doing it. I ask her again if she has any questions. I have her show me that she indeed knows what to do to know whether she'll get the points. We scheduled a conference. The parent did not show. Later, I verbally confirmed in front of the parent, with the student, that the student knew what to do. Maria is grounded! Parent announces. She's going to take care of it right away! In a moment of weakness and surrounded by parent apologies about her misunderstandings, I cave (I shouldn't have, I completely know). Mostly I figure, if she'll do the learning, I'll give her points one time only since obviously mom is on her back. I give her explicit instructions (again) on what needs to be done. Parent says, okay, okay, we understand, and thanks me for the second (seventh?) chance. Maria turns in the work on Monday (Today). It is only one of the 6 assignments. In the gradebook, I give points for that one assignment. I thought that was being very reasonable. There is no reason this parent should expect otherwise, right? Later today, I get another email saying, "Did you make an error in the gradebook? Maria got all caught up and only one assignment grade was changed, not all of them." Here's why I'm hung up a bit. This parent is extremely involved in the PTA. Clearly there is some confusion on the assignment, but I also don't want to get labeled as an overly harsh teacher in the world of our PTA parents. I'm concerned that this parent may go and complain to others in our school community... "Ms. O had an error in the gradebook and wouldn't fix it! My Maria has been working so hard and Ms. O won't give her credit for that work!" It's not like she's blackmailing me or anything, we just have a very gossipy parent group. I know I'm in the right here, but these points are so small and at this point I'm irritated I've had to talk with this parent so much about it. Having this child go back and do 3+ hours of late homework for a very small amount of points is not worth it, for me, the child, or the parent. There should not be confusion. I have explained what needs to be done more than I should possibly need to explain. How do you deal with parents like these? And what would you do in this specific instance? Next year, apparently, I will have an incredibly specific policy on this in my syllabus. I did not plan for it this year, as the assignment is related to something the school really started to focus on in the second half of the year.