Australian dad furious after teacher assigns 'disgusting' Father's Day gift activity to primary school students

Screengrabs from 9 News story including Trent Howard, Connolly Primary School, and the dice
"I have a weird sense of humour - that's not part of any sense of humour to anybody." Photo credit: 9 News

Warning: This story references suicide and may disturb some readers.  

A primary school in Perth has come under fire after its young students were instructed to create "distressing" activity dice as Father's Day gifts earlier this month.   

As reported by Nine, students at Connolly Primary School in Perth's northern suburbs were given dice templates to colour in and personalise for their dads or father figures for Father's Day, which is observed on the first Sunday of September.

The templates for the dice were printed with six different suggestions to help dads improve their mood, such as a sherbie - "take when you have lost all your 'fizz'"; a mintie - "take when you have experienced one of those 'moments'"; or a banana - "for the days when you have 'gone 'round the bend'."

However, one of the six sides offered a bullet - to "take when all else fails."

Screengrab of the dice - 'sherbie' side
Five sides of the dice had pretty innocuous suggestions - but the sixth side was "disgusting", according to a parent. Photo credit: 9 News

Speaking to Nine, father-of-two Trent Howard - who was brought home one of the dice by his six-year-old daughter - lambasted the school for "promoting suicide."

"To create this, and distribute this - disgusting," Howard told the outlet.

"I have a weird sense of humour - that's not part of any sense of humour to anybody."  

"They wanted to be funny, that was my interpretation of what the teacher had said to me. She was wanting to be funny - it wasn't funny," his wife Renae added.   

Screengrab of the dice - bullet side
"We need change, everywhere. In this society, we have suicide in our families. It needs to stop." Photo credit: 9 News

Family psychologist Bailey Bosch told Nine the suggestion was "inappropriate" to include in a primary school arts-and-crafts activity, noting that adults need to be mindful of the language they use around young and impressionable children.   

"It's really not appropriate for kids to be given that kind of topic in a joking manner without any support around it," she said. "Children can take things very literally, it can play on their minds, they might not have the language to articulate what's distressing them.  

"Let's also remember there are adults around who could be completely triggered by words such as 'bullets', 'death', etc."  

In a statement, the local Department of Education acknowledged that the teacher "showed a serious lack in judgement" and the activity was "clearly not thought through". The school has since issued an apology to parents.  

"We need change, everywhere. In this society, we have suicide in our families. It needs to stop," Trent Howard added.  

Where to find help and support:   

  • Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633  
  • Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)  
  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737  
  • What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)  
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354  
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat  
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666  
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757  
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) 
  • Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584.