Timmins, Ont. girl petitions to sign up for boys-only robotics class

A nine-year-old girl who started an online petition to take part in a boys-only robotics class at a Timmins, Ont., library will now be able to take part.

Robotics for boys only advertisement

The Timmins Public Library advertisement for this “special program” was challenged by a local girl who wanted to take part in the session.

The Timmins Public Library is now offering the robotics session to all children between the ages of 9-12.


It was welcome news to Cash Cayen’s mother, who said “we need to change the way our society thinks.”

The Exile of Time

“The CEO of the library sent me a text message directing me to their Facebook page to see their official media release,” Caroline Martel said.

Rendezvous with Destiny

“The media release [said] they ‘wish to apologize to the public and Science Timmins for the misunderstanding related to the Robotics event which was designed to encourage improved literacy through reading.’ Although I disagree with the claim that this was a ‘misunderstanding,’ Cash and I are happy with their decision to open the session up to all children regardless of their gender.”

Close to 30,000 people signed the petition, and many shared stories about discrimination.


“Gendered approaches to education are extremely problematic,” Martel said in a post on change.org. .

via Timmins, Ont. girl petitions to sign up for boys-only robotics class – Sudbury – CBC News. Listen to Interview: Caroline Martel and library board chair Michael Doody spoke with CBC Sudbury’s Up North radio program on Thursday about the situation that has raised the ire of many.


7 thoughts on “Timmins, Ont. girl petitions to sign up for boys-only robotics class

  1. The real story now is that she does not want to join the program. Now it’s uni-sex. Join. Why kick up a fuss then not join. Was it just for the attention. I’d have no problem with my boy participating with girls. Most parents wouldn’t. But to kick up such a big fuss then say, oh well she didn’t really want to join anyway is just asinine…

    • Strange result. It is interesting that there has been no follow-up by the news media on the story. What caught my attention was that it was intended as a way to encourage literacy for boys.

      Without knowing more details about the child, not sure what happened here. Did she feel uncomfortable once all the attention was put on her and her request to join ? Was there other pressures/discouragements directed towards her or parents ? Mass Media ( news services & social media ) often misses the whole story while constructing a narrative to present to the public.

      Aside from technology & Media Literacy, there is this whole gender specific programming approach teaching. It is a very complex instructional situation and the one size fits all does not produce consistent results. Some thrive in mixed learning environments, while others are more comfortable in a gender specific learning group. There will be those who will handle either with no problems, just as there will be those who have challenges regardless of such modifications.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Much appreciated. 🙂

    • Yes, those setting up various educational programmes, no matter how well intentioned, still have cultural layers of beliefs and ideologies influencing them. Generational differences can produce subtle differences in attitudes towards gender, ethnicity, race and sexual orientation. I an not help but think that there were educational opportunities lost in this whole incident.

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