A high school principal in Calgary is apologizing after a pep rally prank saw male students tricked into unknowingly kissing their moms.
Filmed by several people in attendance, videos of the incident have been shared widely on social media.
In a letter to students and parents, Western Canada high school principal Martin Poirier said the Nov. 1 rally was held to support the school’s fall sports teams.
“The activity was intended to be good-natured; however it did not play out as intended,” the letter reads in part.
The video shows a group of male student athletes — some wearing jerseys — standing on the gym floor, with hundreds of students watching from the bleachers.
The boys are blindfolded, believing they will be kissed by female student athletes. But unbeknownst to them, their moms stepped in instead.
One mother gives a quick kiss on the lips, another appears to offer a hug, but another kiss continues for an extended amount of time as students jump around and scream.
“When my daughter told me about what happened at the pep rally, I felt physically ill,” said one parent who CBC has agreed not to name.
“I couldn’t believe the school would be involved in humiliating students in such an awful way. Did anyone actually think about the impact this would have on the boys? Of course there were a bunch of videos circulating immediately.”
In his letter, Poirier wrote, “I would like to apologize for the activity, in hindsight, the school regrets how this unfolded. We recognize that these activities are not appropriate and will not be repeated.”
Poirier said school officials have met with organizers of the pep rally to discuss concerns.
“We have also reached out to the family involved to provide support,” he wrote.
“These types of pranks will no longer be allowed to occur and we sincerely regret any embarrassment this has caused.”
A similar prank also played out at Ernest Manning high school this week, with photos posted to social media showing a student being kissed.
“We have reinforced the inappropriateness of this kind of activity with our schools,” read a statement from Calgary Board of Education.
“Regardless of the intent, these types of activities are not appropriate and are not to occur at any of our schools.”
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.