Roy Glebe took to Facebook recently to express disappointment over the cancelation of Mother's and Father's Day celebrations at his child’s school. Glebe posted the letter of explanation from administrators at Albert McMahon Elementary School in Mission, B.C., in Canada. In it, they say lay out their arguments for taking a pass this year on making crafts and gifts at school.
“In an effort to celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and also nurture our students who are part of a non-traditional family, we have decided to encourage those celebrations at home,” the letter reads. “We feel that every family knows how to best celebrate with their own families.”
Glebe, along with other families at his child’s school, did not agree with the decision to forgo the Mother’s and Father’s Day celebrations.
“Had to post this,” he wrote. “I think disapointed is 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 dont understand why we, as Canadians, need to give up our traditions that have been passed through generations. I welcome all races and ethnicities, but forcing us to give up things that are important to us as Canadians is crap. And it doesnt even have anything to do with religion? You cant celebrate your Mom and Dad?”
Glebe’s post quickly went viral. Websites and media outlets shared the post and the parents’ disappointment. As people expressed outrage, the school’s superintendent, Angus Wilson, spoke to a local newspaper to explain what prompted the decision. Wilson said that instead of being a “political” move, the school had canceled the Mother’s Day celebrations due to a situation involving a student who had recently suffered a trauma involving their parents.
The revelation that the decision was prompted by a loss softened the initial outrage. Glebe, too, changed his thinking in light of the explanation. He his two older brothers have both died and left behind children.
“I am not saying I agree or disagree,” Glebe noted. “ I put it up for discussion as i was not happy with the way they handled it...There is no ‘winners’ in this situation. I will admit i was a little taken back by the decision but at the same time, I feel for all sides.”
Mothers took to Facebook to express their sympathy with the school’s good intentions.
“That's tough,” one mother commented. “I think I ultimately agree. Sure it's nice to get the horribly made gift from my little munchkins. But I don't want that at the expense of another child's happiness that day. All I can think about is a little boy in class who's mother died from cancer and all around him his classmates are making painted rocks to bring home to their moms who are still living and breathing. That kinda breaks my heart. So I'll live without that gift so that other little boy doesn't hurt so much.”
'What are we teaching our kids when we cancel a event that shows thanks to mothers or fathers (or grandparents) because someone might get their feelings hurt.'
This being the internet, others vehemently disagreed, saying that shielding children from the fact that the world is not all sunshine and roses doesn't do anyone any favors.
“The world is not going to shape itself to you when you grow up,” one woman wrote. “What are we teaching our kids when we cancel a event that shows thanks to mothers or fathers (or grandparents) because someone might get their feelings hurt. It will be Mother's Day and Father's Day everywhere else still.”
And still others pointed out that the school environment perhaps is not the place for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebrations in the first place, which could have helped this whole conversation be avoided.
“School is supposed to be for LEARNING,” one exasperated mother noted on Facebook. “Your children can make cute crafts, etc., at HOME to celebrate those holidays. It isn't necessary to do them at school. Eta ... for those who can't be bothered to read the whole sub-thread. OTHER crafts can be done in art class. It isn’t necessary to learn art by making holiday gifts.”