Tara Coverdale packed up her 4-year-old son and 8-month-old daughter one day last month and took them to a community center in Sydney, Australia, looking to get her kids some play time with other children.
But soon after they arrived at the Alexandria Park Community Centre, a staff member approached Coverdale with bad news.
“I’m sorry you can’t come here," the staffer said, according to Coverdale's recollection to the Daily Telegraph. "It’s a multicultural playgroup.”
Coverdale is white.
She recalled to the paper what the staffer said next: “Can I ask what your cultural background is?”
“I’m Australian,” Coverdale replied, the Daily Telegraph said.
“I’m sorry, you can’t come here," she recalled the staffer answering back, the paper said. "It’s for multicultural families and people who speak languages other than English at home.”
Mom wasn't giving up so easily, though.
“I said, ‘I’m not leaving.' My kids were playing. My older son was having such a good time with his buddy, and I thought, ‘Why should I leave?’” Coverdale told the Daily Telegraph.
Soon, the facility's manager, Jo Fletcher, was having a chat with the perplexed mom.
“Can I just ask what your cultural background is?" Coverdale recalled Fletcher asking her, the paper reported.
Coverdale got more specific, telling the manager she's a fourth-generation Australian, the Daily Telegraph said.
“I’m sorry you can’t come here," Coverdale recalled Fletcher telling her, the paper reported. "It’s a multicultural playgroup.”
Fletcher went on to say the playgroup was only for “multicultural” mothers who “might be lonely and might want to build a network of people who speak the same language,” Coverdale recalled to the Daily Telegraph.
When she asked what playgroup she and her kids could join, Coverdale said Fletcher replied, "We don’t have one here for you" and that she'd have to find one elsewhere, the paper said.
“How does that help Australia help people to integrate, speak English, and build a life?" Coverdale asked, the Daily Telegraph reported. "I pay a lot of tax. I pay my rates. To think I’m actually not welcome is unfair.”
She told the paper that she watched other moms walk in with their kids and "they were made to feel very welcome. Because they didn’t look ‘Australian’ they didn’t even get asked about their background.”
With that, Coverdale and her kids had to leave, the Daily Telegraph said.
But last week, Education Minister Rob Stokes caught wind of the issue and told Fletcher to let all families attend the playgroup, the paper said.
"This is not acceptable," Stokes said, the Daily Telegraph reported. "Everyone, regardless of their background, should feel included in these wonderful community activities.”
(H/T: The Daily Wire)