Manitoba school scraps plan to move away from Mother’s Day, Father’s Day celebrations

A Manitoba elementary school has scrapped a plan to move away from Mother’s Day and Father’s Day traditions after receiving ‘feedback’ on the change from its community.

According to a statement from River East Transcona School Division Superintendent and CEO Sandra Herbst, the principal of Dr. F.W.L. Hamilton School in East St. Paul sent a memo last week to the school community explaining they planned to move away from specific traditions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to ‘acknowledge the importance of all those who support their students.’

The division says the decision was a school-based one, and was not directed by the Board of Trustees or senior administration.

However, the spokesperson said a second memo was sent days later, indicating the school would continue to acknowledge Mother’s Day and Father’s Day based on feedback they had received.

“As our early years schools recognize Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in the coming weeks, schools celebrate and are sensitive to the diverse families who live in their communities,” the email from Herbst said.

The move to do away with the celebrations garnered pushback online, with some saying the school’s bid to be more inclusive would have actually excluded most families from cherished traditions.

CTV News Winnipeg reached out to parents with children at the school, but they declined to comment on the matter.

A similar controversy has emerged across the country. Teachers at La Chanterelle school in Quebec City, Ont. decided to replace Mother’s Day events with a celebration of parents.

Quebec Conservative Leader Eric Duhaime shared on Twitter the email sent to parents announcing the change. He asked Quebec’s education minister if he would allow “the woke to abolish Mother’s Day.”

The school service centre that oversees La Chanterelle eventually issued an apology, saying the initiative was motivated by the teachers’ benevolent intentions, but their communication was clumsy and could have been misunderstood.


Wayne Sandler is community outreach and education coordinator with Palliative Manitoba, an organization aimed at easing the suffering of the dying, the bereaved and caregivers through services and education. Among its resources – youth bereavement support to kids.

Sandler says occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be difficult for kids experiencing loss, be it through death, divorce or difficult or estranged relationships.

“When we have days that are specifically designed to commemorate those people in our lives and we don’t have them, we can often feel very left out. We can feel alienated.”

Sandler believes celebrations like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day need to be more inclusive of all family structures.

The key to evolving these occasions, he says, is finding more inclusive wording that still acknowledges moms and dads, but also other kinds of caregivers.

“I think the broadening of the language – that’s the beginning of that process of helping kids feel included.”

– With files from the Canadian Press

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