NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission. All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.
No Fathers’ Day Cards Allowed in Scotland
Glasgow, Scotland--The Sunday Times of London reports that large numbers of school children in Scotland were prohibited from making Father's Day cards a couple weeks ago in this article.School officials claim they didn't want to embarrass students who come from single mother and lesbian households. Is this simply another episode of "political correctness run amok?" Is it yet another example of public education systems trumpeting self-esteem above all else? According to the Times, Mother's Day cards were not generally restricted, even though not all children have mothers. But Father's Day cards were banned for thousands of kids in cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow. We think the explanation is simple: fathers are held in such low regard that no issue is too small to merit throwing fathers under the bus. Is this how low the bar has sunk for cutting dads out of the picture? The reasons given for the Scottish prohibition are pretty flimsy when you stop to think about them. To state the obvious, most children with single mothers most certainly do have fathers. (To say otherwise reminds me of the time the Boston Globe ran an editorial lamenting the fact that if single mothers who are soldiers were killed in Iraq, their children would be "orphans.') And the feelings of children with lesbian parents could have been protected by inviting them to send a card to a grandfather, or perhaps an uncle, coach, or male teacher. Speaking of teachers, perhaps part of the problem is that there are so few male teachers. In 2003, Scotland's General Teaching Council warned of a "gender crisis" as the number and percentage of male teachers had "dropped to an all-time low." Read about it here. The Council warned back then, "the problem will only increase unless there is a recruitment campaign aimed specifically at men." Since then, male primary school teachers increased by 142, improving their numbers by a mere 1% - from 7% to 8% of the teacher work force. See here. As the Teaching Council's chief stated here in 2003, "there's still a widely held perception that teaching was a 'woman's job'." When we see how low fathers are esteemed in the schools of Scotland, is it any wonder there are so few male teachers?