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Should Halloween Celebrations Be Limited to Outside of School to Honor Non-Participating Students?

Should Halloween Celebrations be Limited to Outside of School to Honor Non-Participating Students?

A school district in Connecticut has made national news after its administration warned parents that Halloween—including the costumes and candy which come with the holiday—would be banned from all elementary schools in the area this month.

Letters circulated from Rosemarie Marzinotto, principal of Milford, Connecticut, Live Oaks School which warned parents that no Halloween-themed activities would be allowed in the district's elementary schools this season; all activities, she said, would be limited to being fall-themed only.

"This decision arose out of numerous incidents of children being excluded from activities due to religion, cultural beliefs, etc. School-day activities must be inclusive. Halloween costumes are not permitted for students or staff during the day at school," she said, according to news station FOXCT.

One of the major points of contention for parents who were immediately outraged by the district's announcement was the decision to end the district's annual Halloween parade in lieu of sponsoring a Halloween celebration after-school hours to avoid leaving out children who did not want to participate in costumes for cultural or monetary reasons.

Many parents called the decision un-American and accused the district of ending meaningful tradition. Shortly after the announcement, a petition was circulated to call for reversal of the district's decision.

The petition was started on Change.org by Milford's Rebecca Lilley and was titled "Bring back our AMERICAN traditions to our schools!" At the time of this article, the petition has received 2,990 signatures. 

Yesterday, after the widespread outrage, Elizabeth E. Feser, the district's superintendent sent out a letter reversing the decision, calling the outrage an "unmerciful attack."

"We struggle to understand why we should be ashamed about the Halloween celebration that each school/PTA is sponsoring, wherein children are encouraged to wear costumes, will be given candy, will spend an hour or more in fun and games. Our feeling is that the planned school/PTA event in each school is far more reflective of the values of the American culture in that 'family' and 'children' are being celebrated through a Halloween gathering."

Still, Feser reversed the decision and upheld the tradition of the parades in school despite not agreeing with the criticism her administration faced.

Education World would like to know in this case of parents vs. administration: Would you support Halloween being celebrated after-school hours to support children from different cultures, religions, and financial backgrounds who might be prevented from participating in activities during school? Users with access: take our poll.

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

10/13/2015

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