Children banned from handing out party invitations in the classroom
Parents of children at a Newtownabbey school have expressed dismay at the head's ban on kids distributing party invitations in the classroom.
St Mary's on the Hill Primary School in Glengormley issued letters to pupils asking parents to hand out invitations for parties outside of school time.
In the letter acting principal, Miss Dougan, said this was to prevent "upset and disappointment" to those that don't get an invite.
"We hope you understand this situation and we appreciate your consideration in this matter," the letter ended.
One parent said he was dismayed at the instruction.
He has two children at the school and said handing out invitations in school was the easiest and safest way for organising parties.
The Glengormley man said: "It's just surreal - at first I thought it was a prank.
"But it is real and to me, it's a nonsense."
The parent, who asked not to be named, said many of those who had a child at the school were equally miffed at the decision.
He went on: "When you are two parents, working full-time, it is hard to try and organise stuff outside of school.
"Most of the kids don't have mobile phones or use social networks, so how do you invite your child's friend to a party?
"You are left to go hunting for addresses or stalk people on Facebook.
"Yes it may be to stop those not getting an invite from getting upset, but you can't wrap the children up in cotton wool until they get out in the real world - they'll not know what hit them.
"Part of the school's job is to prepare the kids for life outside school. Even in primary school.
"Plus with the cost of parties these days you just can't invite the whole class.
"My child has had a party and we just said who do you want to invite and left it at that.
"I can't think of any child that has been upset and last night on the school's Facebook group there were around 20 parents all saying the same.
"They were just gobsmacked at the total ban."
The parent suggested the school could consider allowing teachers to "discreetly" hand out invitations to pupils in their homework to prevent upset.
"Next we'll have sports days without winners," said the parent.
"Where does it go from here?"
The parent said St Mary's has been an excellent school for his children.
"We chose the school because it is the best academically and results wise it is a really good school.
"But this is a concern for us."
In a statement, acting principal, Nicola Dougan said: "This decision was taken with the children's best interests at heart and we had hoped that parents would view it in that context.
"We hope that people would understand that whilst in principle school provides a convenient forum within in which to distribute invitations, in practise it can be the cause of children feeling upset and feeling left out when not invited to parties.
"We only ever have the children's welfare at the centre of all of our decisions."
Belfast Telegraph Digital