Students at an elementary school in Canada recently came home with an unexpected and divisive letter in their school bags.
The school decided the students would no longer make Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards at school – a move they believe will help boost diversity and acceptance.
“In an effort to celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and also to nurture our students who are part of non-traditional families, we have decided to encourage those celebrations to take place at home,” the letter reads.
“Due to this, children will not be making gifts at school to give on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.”
“We feel each family knows the best way to celebrate with their own family,” the letter concludes.
The letter was shared on Facebook by Roy Glebe, one of the parents from Albert McMahon Elementary. “Disappointment” he said, was an “understatement”.
“This will be the first year that we don’t get gifts crafted with love from our kids, and since we only have one little one now it makes it all that much worse. I don’t understand why we, as Canadians, need to give up our traditions that have been passed through generations,” he wrote.
“Welcome all races and ethnicities, but forcing us to give up things that are important to us as Canadians is crap. And it doesn’t even have anything to do with religion? You can’t celebrate your Mum and Dad?”
Many of Glebe’s Facebook friends agreed with him, but some pointed out the move was more about protecting children from single parent families and non-traditional families.
"Yes Mother's Day and Father's Day is a way for children to celebrate their parents. Yes, not everyone has this tradition but cancelling the creative process altogether for those who don't celebrate this tradition is definitely a slap in the face for those who do," someone commented.
"Crazy! But I think it has more to do with single parents and kids not having a mum/dad maybe?" added another.
Others were more understanding of the school's new policy.
"As an adult living with the loss of a parent I can't imagine being in a room full of people making Father's Day cards," one person commented. "I don't think I could handle that at 30, let alone 10. I would probably vomit and leave that room in tears."
Listen: Why parents will always bribe their kids, on This Glorious Mess. Post continues...
"This is nothing to do with being Canadian in my opinion," another added.
"There are so many versions of families these days. Divorced, one parent totally absent, or parents who hurt and abuse. Also parents who are same-sex. Why do we want so many kids to have to wade through their emotions in front of classmates in order to make 'mum' or 'dad' feel good?"
Angus Wilson, the police superintendent of the school's district, told CBC News the letter was sent with good intentions but there had been a miscommunication between parents and staff.
"The intention, as I understand it, has to do with a trauma that has been experienced at the school fairly recently," said Wilson.
"It has nothing to do with the value of Mother's Day or civic holidays."
Wilson is planning to work with the school to help create a more appropriate dialogue between staff and parents.
What do you think of the school's plan to ban Mother's Day and Father's Day cards?