A group of parents in Nova Scotia are petitioning an elementary school to recognize both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Astral Drive Elementary School in Cole Harbour changed its policy after a same-sex couple complained about the celebration of separate holidays Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The school then gave up the two holidays in favor of something called “International Day of Families,” which it celebrated on May 15.
Some parents are unhappy with the new policy. More than 400 people have signed a petition demanding that Astral Drive reinstate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day activities. Global News reports this includes making crafts and cards to bring home, but CBC News reports the school has not aided students in the making of these cards since 2011.
Jill Wournell, who served as the president of the school’s parents-teacher organization, refused to run for the job again because she disagrees with the school’s new policy.
“With the issue that we're talking about today going on, I'm stepping back from that,” Wournel told CBC News. “I will not have any functions within the school other than if they needed someone to go on a class trip with my own children — that's about the only position I'm willing to take on at this point because I'm very upset about the removal of Mother's Day and Father's Day at Astral Drive.
"Taking away Mother's Day and Father's Day is not the way to do it. I'm for the inclusion of a family day, but not the exclusion of Mother's Day and Father's Day," she said.
Heather Bruce is a single mother whose 11-year-old son attends Astral Drive. She said she depends on the school to inform her son when Mother's Day is.
“My son, this year was the first year in six years I didn’t receive a card from him because there’s no-one else telling him that that it’s Mother’s Day,” Bruce said. “Those things are important to teach our kids. To honor, respect their parents and they get that from school, sometimes.”
“For me, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day isn’t about being the star of a day,” Wournell told Globel News, “it’s about your children not looking at themselves as the main person in the story.”
The petition was turned in to Astral Drive last Thursday. Spokesman for the school board, Doug Hadley, says the school understand that the policy change does not satisfy every parent. However, Hadley says the school board did not instigate the change, rather individual schools are responsible for decisions like this one.
"I think the plan is they're going to have a review of this for next year, in terms of how they might be able to mark those days, but also recognize that not everybody celebrates in a traditional family structure," said Hadley.
It is unclear whether students in Nova Scotia are actually in school as late is the third Sunday in June, but if so the hearts of everyone already enjoying summer vacation go out to them.