Manitoba

Flin Flon parents warned over Kick a Ginger day

Warnings have been sent out to parents in a Flin Flon elementary school, cautioning of potential problems for red-headed children on Nov. 20 - Kick a Ginger Day.

What began as a joke on an animated TV show has riled school officials and parents in Flin Flon, Man.

It's called Kick a Ginger Day and it started on the television show South Park. The program describes red-haired children as "born with a disease" and "nasty," and the supposed Nov. 20 "event" has sparked a rash of groups, in support and against, on the social networking site Facebook.        

Warnings have been sent out to parents in a Flin Flon elementary school, cautioning of potential problems for red-headed children on Thursday.  

Parent Laurie Bellisle said her six-year-old daughter, who has red hair, is afraid.

"My daughter's in Grade 1," said Bellisle. "We didn't have this problem last year, they never said anything about it. But I think through Facebook it's become more popular. And she was scared.  So I'm letting her stay home today."

And it's not just in Flin Flon. School officials in other jurisdictions have warned that Kick a Ginger could create problems in the schoolyard. Officials with a Newfoundland and Labrador school board have warned students they will be disciplined if they take a joke from the popular cartoon series South Park too far.

Bellisle said while it's an awful way for a child to learn about discrimination, the school has been very proactive in its response. She said she received a letter Wednesday from the school warning there could be problems.

The letter also listed some advice for parents: "We're asking that you support us in dealing with this issue by speaking with your son or daughter about the implications of what they are doing if they participate in this act of discrimination.  Also if you have a child who has red hair we would like you to encourage reporting any bullying because of the hair."