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A pre-school in Maryland has lost at least one customer after a student’s father working on the school’s newsletter was told he must change a “Happy Mother’s Day” greeting in the publication to “Happy Parent’s Day.”
David Becker of Kensington, Md., had a 3-year-old son at the Kensington Forest Glen Children’s Center, which is overseen by the umbrella organization Montgomery Child Care Association.
“My wife and I have always been very involved with the school and with the teachers,” Becker told WND.
The trouble began when Becker, while typing the newsletter, changed a hand-written greeting from “Happy Parent’s Day!” to “Happy Mother’s Day!” After submitting the final draft, a teacher contacted Becker and said the greeting would have to be changed back to “Happy Parent’s Day!”
Becker says originally it was one of the teachers who talked to him about the issue. When he asked why, he says he was referred to an administrator.
Becker said he was told: “We cannot say ‘Mother’s Day’ because we might exclude someone.”
“I was confused,” Becker told WorldNetDaily. “Everybody has a mother. Not everyone has a mother who is alive, but everyone has a mother.”
Becker then asked the administrator: “Who would we be offending on Mother’s Day?”
The response: “What about families with two fathers?”
Becker then asked about Father’s Day. He says he was told: “You can’t say ‘Father’s Day’ either.”
Retorted Becker: “You are insulting all the parents – the mothers, the fathers, the two-mother families, the two-father families – you’re insulting all of them.”
The administrator responded, according to Becker: “That’s our policy.”
Becker says the Mother’s Day incident was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and says he won’t be sending his son back in the fall.
“I tell the school they can white-out my disrespectful words and my child’s registration for the fall semester,” Becker wrote in a Washington Post feature called “Life is Short, Autobiography as Haiku.”
Though many of the teachers at the school are immigrants from other countries, Becker said, they are fully acclimated to such traditions as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and have no problem with them.
Chris Giovinazzo is executive director of the nonprofit Montgomery Child Care Association, which oversees eight children’s centers in all.
“It’s not a policy that we don’t allow the children or staff to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day,” she told WND.
Rather, Giovinazzo explained, it’s up to each individual teacher to decide based on the make-up of each class.
Said Giovinazzo: “We ask that the teachers be sensitive to what the composition is in their class and individualize that.”
The administrator says she talked to the mother of the Becker boy about the issue:
“I thought things were clear. … We don’t have a blanket policy on this.”
Giovinazzo stressed that the newsletter Becker worked on was for his son’s individual class, not the entire pre-school.
“I asked the director of the pre-school to talk with the teachers to make sure everybody was clear that there was no broad-based policy that you can never celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day,” she said, noting there must have been “a particular family” in the class that prompted the teacher to make the Parent’s Day substitution.