A Québec school has cancelled Mother’s Day in favour of a more ‘gender-inclusive’ celebration of parents, as voted on by its teachers. While supporters of the move claim it benefits students, it faced pushback miles away at the provincial legislature.
Teachers at La Chanterelle school in Québec City informed parents by email of the decision, citing some students live in foster homes and don’t have a mother or father.
The aftermath sparked controversy after Québec Conservative leader Eric Duhaime shared the email on Twitter. He asked Education Minister Bernard Drainville if he would allow “the woke to abolish Mother’s Day.”
Drainville said that while teachers can adapt to the realities of their students in some cases, he doesn’t want Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to disappear from schools.
“Honestly, I can’t believe I’m in front of you today to reiterate the importance of Mother’s Day and the importance of Father’s Day,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t agree with the idea of replacing Mother’s Day or Father’s Day with Parent’s Day.”
“This initiative was motivated by the teachers’ benevolent intentions towards the students in their class,” reads a statement by the school service centre for La Chanterelle school. “But their communication was clumsy and could have been misunderstood and misinterpreted, and we are sorry.”
Duhaime also condemned a school north of Montreal that voted to replace both days with a more ‘inclusive’ Parent’s Day. The Riviere-du-Nord school service centre emailed parents they intend to roll back that decision and restore Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for their students.
“All these teachers are trying to make schools more inclusive for kids from all types of families,” Mona Greenbaum, the executive director of the LGBT+ Family Coalition, told the National Post.
She claimed the gesture doesn’t erase mothers and fathers. “It’s not a political gesture. It’s a gesture of compassion and inclusion [for children who don’t come from traditional families].”
“For young kids, their identities are very much connected with their families,” continued the LGBT+ Family Coalition executive director. “It’s important their families aren’t invisibilized or erased.”
“Their families need to be valued, just like other families,” she said.
Greenbaum added that removing Mother’s and Father’s Day from the school calendar wouldn’t stop children from making cards for their mothers and fathers.