face masks school

A school in Calgary distributed masks to students based on gender and people are furious

"Pink is for girls, and blue is for boys," said absolutely nobody ever — except for a school in Calgary, where at least one class received face masks based on gender.

A teacher at the Calgary elementary school — which Freshdaily is choosing not to name — allegedly distributed masks on Wednesday to students based on gender.

Pink masks with hearts were given to female students, while dark grey and blue masks were given to male students.

Catherine Lebel, an Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Calgary, brought the incident to attention after her daughter came home from school with the masks.

Lebel says that the pink masks in the photograph belong to her eight-year-old daughter, while the darker coloured masks belong to her son, who is in a different class.

Her daughter and the other female students in the class were handed the pink masks without question.

"We aren't outraged, just annoyed," she told Freshdaily. "I realize there are more pressing problems in the world right now — but I think it is unnecessary to gender the masks like this."

Lebel is adamant that she doesn't blame the school or teachers, who are doing their best in a "very tough time."

"I think it reflects more on poor planning and a lack of insight from the provincial government, which could have avoided this problem in the first place," she said.

Face masks are mandatory for students in Grades 4 to 12 at schools in Alberta, but there's no rule saying that they need to be divvied up by gender — a fact that many Canadians were quick to point out on social media.

"Why don't we just give the girls a pink [bow] too?" one person wrote. "Ridiculous stereotyping."

"She has every right to be irritated and annoyed," another person wrote. "Nice gesture, but sexist."

"The lipsticked mouths on here make me sick!" yet another person chimed in. "These are for girls? What about putting on chemical elements or prime numbers? Make them all green with trees or grass or the ocean?"

At the end of the day, what's most important is that students actually want to wear the masks — so it makes sense to let them choose which ones they like best.

Hopefully, all students will be given more choice in future.

Lead photo by

Catherine Lebel

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