Oct 14 2015

School Tries to Ban Halloween to Be PC

ban Halloween, kids costumes

Last week, a Connecticut school district announced a decision to ban Halloween and any related festivities on the grounds that the holiday excludes too many students for cultural and religious reasons. The decision was communicated to parents and families by a letter from the principle, setting strict guidelines for clothing, classroom decorations, and seasonal behavior. The letter stated that, due to “numerous incidents” of students being unable to attend the festivities, the district’s popular elementary school parades would be canceled. In addition, it would be forbidden for both students and staff to wear costumes, bring in Halloween treats, and classrooms were to be decked in strictly “fall themes.”

Though it wasn’t explicitly stated, the letters seemed to suggest that those who felt excluded had complained. Parents combating the decision wondered why other avenues hadn’t been pursued if families felt excluded enough to complain to district officials.

School officials say that the decision to “ban Halloween” was part of an effort to foster diversity. Jim Richetelli, chief operations officer for the Milford Public Schools, denied any “direct knowledge” of the decision but told local reporters that “The goal is for all children to feel comfortable and definitely not alienated when they come to school.” However, some parents have pointed out that seasonal activities, unrelated to Halloween, are already planned for the fall in order to accommodate families that may not be celebrating.

In an effort to preserve childhood tradition, an angered mom started a petition via Change.org that has reached nearly 5000 signatures. After about 2500 signatures, a PTA meeting was called and school officials backpedaled on their decision, reinstating the traditional Halloween parades and festivities. The bad news is that the petition itself – and many of the signers – tends to point the finger at immigration rather than another overzealous bout of political correctness from social justice warriors. Supporters are also piggybacking on the petition’s exposure to lobby for increased school assistance and price regulations for “affordable” before and after school care.

A second letter was sent out Monday afternoon stating that the Halloween ban had so affected students and their families that the issue was “detracting” from educational time in the classroom. “The principals and I are about educating our children,” wrote School Superintendent Elizabeth Feser.

Milford is not the first school district to attempt to ban Halloween. Last year, another Connecticut school district canceled Halloween celebrations due to religious diversity issues and a fear of inappropriate, offensive costumes. New Jersey schools also tried banning festivities due to concerns over the holiday’s pagan roots and any religious implications that may have. Towns in Ohio and Pennsylvania have canceled Halloween activities due to safety concerns, religious and cultural differences, and peanut allergies.

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