A six-year-old girl from Perth, Australia, has arrived home with a gift for her father that she made at school.
A printed dice with colored sides seems innocent enough, but when the father looked closer, he was stunned at what he saw.
Daughter’s Innocent Gift
The dice was constructed of paper with pictures on the outside, referring to the confectionery within.
Some of the sides are innocent enough; Frog, one side says, with a colored picture of a frog. For the times when you need to jump to it. Inside the box is a jelly frog.
Another side has a picture of a yellow banana, reading for the days when you have gone round the bend.’ Again, a sweet banana treat is inside.
The Father Was Shocked
The shock came when Trent Howard turned the dice once more to reveal a picture of a bullet, colored in with bright orange and pink by his six-year-old daughter.
Take when all else fails, the text reads, labeling the bullet clearly so that there is no miscommunication. Inside was a chocolate liquorice bullet. But the joke missed the mark.
Dad Was Furious
“To create this, and distribute this, disgusting,” Howard said on national TV later that week.
“If you’ve had enough, shoot yourself, what else [could that be interpreted to] say.”
While some online have dismissed the incident as a simple joke gone wrong, Howard went on to say, “I have a weird sense of humor, [but] that’s not part of any sense of humor to anybody.”
The Gift Could Be Damaging To Parents And Students
In a time where mental health concerns are rampant around Australia, the gift seems worse than just poor choice. Psychologist Bailey Bosch told Channel 9 that the gift could be damaging to not just parents but also the students.
“Children can take things very literally,” she said. “It can play on their minds. They might not have the language to articulate what’s distressing them.”
She also went on to say, “There are adults around that could be completely triggered by some words such as bullets or death.”
Male Suicide In Australia
“This is disturbing on so many counts!” one user wrote, “what and why would you give anyone, much less a child, this item to give to a parent? The school, along with the teacher, should be held accountable. If this particular father doesn’t sue the school system for this sickening item, then someone should.”
Alarming Data On Children’s Mental Disorder
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2013-2014, almost 14% of all children experienced a mental disorder, with numbers only increasing over the years.
The People Made Their Statements
With mental health progressively becoming more of a crisis on a global scale, the joke has horrified hundreds of viewers over the internet.
“Yes,” says one commenter, “let’s traumatize children and mock the disgustingly high male suicide rate at the same time. What awful people.”
“The teacher should be fired,” another demanded. “Beyond horrible,” said one more.
“The teacher thought it was funny,” said one commenter. “That speaks volumes.”
The School Asked For Pardon
The WA Department of Education said the school apologized to the parents, claiming the incident to be a “serious lack of judgment.”
“While I understand the activity related to confectionery,” Melesha Sands, Deputy Director General, Schools for the WA Department of Education, told NCA NewsWire, “it was clearly not thought through and should never have happened.”
While she went on to clarify that the principal had apologized to the parents, she also said the issue had been discussed with the school.
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This article was produced by TPR Teaching.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.