Only 13 days into October and the Halloween bashing has begun. In Milford, Conn., the school district decided to ban Halloween parades at Milford schools. Why? Because students who can’t or won’t participate might feel excluded. Yes, that is as stupid as it sounds.
Most of the parents in the district were not happy. Banning the Halloween parades at elementary schools would deprive the children of one of their favorite events of the year. Children enjoy dressing up in costumes. But principals sent letters home (.pdf) explaining the decision to ban the parades:
Halloween parades will not take place in any Milford elementary schools. This decision arose out of numerous incidents of children being excluded from activities due to religion, cultural beliefs, etc. Schoolday activities must be inclusive. Halloween costumes are not permitted for students or staff during the day at school.
Victoria Johannsen, mother of a third-grader at Live Oaks School, told the CT Post that the decision shocked her.
I think it’s crazy. I don’t understand why other avenues weren’t pursued to accommodate the families who felt excluded. I don’t think we’re excluding anybody. I think they’re excluding themselves.
Exactly. Johannsen is one of over 200 signers of a petition calling on the schools to lift their ban. And, guess what? It worked! As of Monday night, the Milford school district has reinstated the Halloween parades. Yay for proactive, involved parents!
The Milford Superintendent, Elizabeth E. Feser, found a way to save face, sending home another letter on Monday. Speaking for the district and all the elementary school principals therein, she wrote:
The Principals and I are about educating our children. With this in mind, knowing that the issue of Halloween is detracting from what we are truly about, and our time with our children around teaching and learning is most important, we have decided to reverse our decision.
Halloween, no matter what its roots are, has become a secular holiday for children. Unless one is Pagan or Wiccan, there is no religious aspect to it anymore. If religious families of other faiths don’t want to participate — or let their children do so — that is their choice. They are excluding themselves (as Ms. Johannsen noted) and that is their own problem. Don’t ruin Halloween for others.
Congratulations to the parents and, especially, to the schoolchildren of Milford Conn. This is what being involved in one’s community is all about. Have a Happy and safe Halloween!
Featured image via Pixabay