A sign at a Toronto public school in the Beaches neighbourhood has caused some outrage among parents after they saw the school’s Mother’s Day-themed message board. The message that caused the outrage read “Life does not come with a manual. It comes with a mom.”
Several parents found the message from Kew Beach school to be exclusionary to people with non-traditional family structures and relationships. One mother who posted about the message on social media said “I don’t know if this is a terribly misguided attempt at wishing folks a happy Mother’s Day or just generally the worst sign possible.”
This one mother wasn’t alone as other parents on social media gave similar opinions saying that the message was “inappropriate” and “mega-exclusionary.”
Some parents gave more detailed explanations of their grievances with the sign. Those parents said that the message left out “kids in foster care, kids with two dads, kids who have no contact with their moms and kids who have abusive moms.”
Not just exclusionary. There are children out there who tragically lost a mother. So the message could be triggering for them, especially if the loss is recent.
— Forget 2050, Net F****d by 2022! (@a_darkcorner) May 9, 2023
This online discourse lead to several calls and emails to the school, leading to the message being taken down the same day it was put up. The new sign now has an uplifting acronym about May.
However, some parents said that they saw no issue with the sign and that the message was not exclusionary.
One of those parents said that the “sign does not say anything else more than what it states, it does not say you cannot be a woman, you cannot go to work, you cannot share taking care of kids with your partner.”
When questioned by media outlets about the sign a TDSB spokesperson said that “Grade 6 students at Kew Beach came up with the first quote collectively as they prepare for Mother’s Day this weekend, to share how much they care for and depend on their moms.”