Two elementary schools near Boston have both canceled this year’s Halloween celebrations because the holiday isn’t inclusive of all children and their beliefs.
Late last month, Mitchell Elementary School in Needham canceled its long-standing tradition of holding a parade and class parties, but it appears those will never happen again. The principal said some kids are kept at home and he feels it’s not fair to only allow some children to enjoy the festivities. He sent this explanation home to parents:
I recognize that this decision will be disappointing to some who may feel like Mitchell is changing. I would agree that this represents a change, but I believe that in the long-term any change towards including all children is a positive change that will benefit our students and our community.
One Mitchell Elementary parent wasn’t too upset, telling a local news crew that dressing up and getting treats at school isn’t “really related to overall learning,” and said his family would just celebrate at home. But another dad didn’t see the sudden change as all that necessary: “It’s fun! I can’t see why people want to preclude kids from having fun, and enjoy something that’s more cultural. There’s no real religious significance to anything about Halloween. It’s just a thing where kids get candy.”
This is happening in the community of Walpole, as well. Students won’t get to dress up and attend the annual Halloween parade at Boyden Elementary School this year. The principal at this school pulled the plug on the fun with just two weeks to go before the holiday, citing an all too familiar refrain: “[T]he costume parade is out of our ordinary routine and can be difficult for many students. Also, the parade is not inclusive of all the students and it is our goal each and every day to ensure all student’s individual differences are respected.”
Parents and grandparents didn’t have a positive reaction to the news, with one woman saying this is all about “political correctness.” One man added to the complaint: ”Put a costume on. Parade down the street. Let them have their little time. Why do you have to turn it into something political?”
In place of what has been an ongoing tradition at Boyden, students are invited to an after-school Halloween party this week, but they will only be allowed to wear black and orange on Halloween, which has been rebranded a “spirit day.”
'Tis the season for the offended.