Parents upset over boys massaging girls at kindergarten

By Binh Minh   October 20, 2023 | 03:52 pm PT
Parents upset over boys massaging girls at kindergarten
Boys massage girls' heads at the Binh Minh kindergarten in Hanoi to celebrate Vietnamese Women's Day, Oct. 19, 2023. Photo courtesy of the Binh Minh Kindergarten
Parents of children at Binh Minh Kindergarten in Hanoi's Hoang Mai District were upset after learning that boys had to massage and wash girls' feet on Vietnamese Women's Day.

A parent posted to an online group with over 66,000 members on Friday, saying that the girls in their child's class "undressed and had towels wrapped around them, like in a spa, for the boys to massage their heads."

The parent said the acts were inappropriate, both for the boys and girls, adding that they did not know how to provide feedback to the classroom's teacher.

"I think that the act is unnecessary and inappropriate for girls. The act of washing girls' feet is unacceptable," the parent wrote.

Several parents also did not agree with the "weird" and "unnecessary" activity, saying there was a problem with their education. Some questioned the logic of the act of massaging, as kids were supposed to be taught "not to touch each other's bodies."

Nguyen Thi Lan Phuong, vice principal of the kindergarten, confirmed on Friday that the massaging activity did happen on Thursday as part of a series of events to celebrate Vietnamese Women's Day (Oct. 20).

The school said the girls still wore dresses or pants while having towels wrapped around them. Phuong said kids in different age groups were given different activities to perform, for example, older kids made postcards or invited their mothers to class to massage their hands. The activities were done with the aim of helping children express their emotions.

Before organizing the activities this year, Phuong said teachers had already discussed the plans with parents about them beforehand. Some parents also cooperated and lent materials to the school for the activities. Phuong said different parents had different opinions, so some parents may not have felt comfortable about it.

"The school will learn from the experience and inform teachers not to let similar incidents occur," Phuong said.

The Binh Minh kindergarten was built in 2003, with 23 teachers. This year, 144 students enrolled in the school.

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