A young boy was mocked by his teacher for waving to his mum at the school gate, the disappointed parent has said.
Comedian Joanna Neary recalled the encounter which unfolded at the entrance of her nine-year-old’s school.
She said her son has been left wanting to stop waving at his mum in the morning after his teacher made fun of him.
“Yesterday a male teacher openly mocked my son for turning back at the school gate to wave goodbye to me,” the That Mitchell and Webb Look actor wrote on Twitter.
“Today my son said he wants to stop waving from now on. This is how it starts.”
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After writing about the experience on Wednesday morning the post quickly went viral, clocking up 90,000 likes in a day.
The 49-year-old, from Coventry, went on to express concerns that such an act could lead to long term changes in her son’s behaviour.
She wrote: “I’d love to be pointed in the direction of a group who tackle this stuff so I can be active too.
“For anyone saying this tweet is a critique of men or male teachers, you are completely wrong.
“I feel sorry for any teacher who feels the need to mock a nine-year-old for showing love and affection.
“What does it say about their childhood? Be gentle with our boys. #howitstarts.”
Ms Neary later said that she hoped her son would “rediscover his happy waving self”.
Many people commented on her post suggesting the teacher’s intervention had been an example of toxic masculinity.
“Toxic masculinity has been around for centuries,” the Children’s Society writes.
“It puts pressure on men to think they need to have a strong physique, hide their emotions, and act in an aggressively dominant way.
“It’s seen in advertising, pop culture, and now toxic imagery is more accessible to young people through social media.
“Anyone can post anything and anyone can comment. Young men are constantly confronted by toxic male culture and images of what it is to ‘be a man’.”
The charity argues that “toxic masculinity is not just harmful to boys”, but can lead to conformity with behaviours such as “dominance and aggression”.
It adds: “It is harmful to our society as a whole. This desire for superiority challenges women’s basic human rights and can be linked to the prevalence of harassment and sexual assaults.”