A Connecticut school district that banned Halloween at its schools because too many kids felt “excluded” has brought it back after a public outcry, the Washington Post is reporting.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, school children in Milford, Connecticut, were sent home last week with letters indicating that Halloween parades, Halloween costumes, and Halloween decorations would be banned in all of the district’s schools. Classrooms could decorate, but they had to be fall-themed, and couldn’t in any way reference Halloween. The reason given for banning Halloween was that too many children in the school couldn’t participate in the holiday because of their religious or cultural beliefs, and they felt “excluded.”
“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.”
It is not clear, as of this post, exactly who in Milford — a town of about 51,000, some 70 miles northeast of New York City — complained about Halloween at the town’s schools, or why. As the Inquisitr noted, some Muslims, as well as some Christians, eschew Halloween, and for similar reasons. Teachers in both religions note the holiday’s supposed pagan origins, as well as the association of dressing in costumes with idolatry. There’s also the matter that Halloween can be a nightmare for kids with dietary restrictions (and their parents).
The public outcry over the school district’s decision to ban Halloween was swift and severe. Victoria Johannsen, a parent of a third-grader at one of Milford’s elementary schools — a girl who loves Halloween — was appalled.
“I think it’s crazy. I don’t understand why other avenues weren’t pursued.”
Johannsen’s take on the Halloween ban was mild compared to the rather spirited responses elsewhere on the web. Milford resident Rebecca Lilley started a petition on Change.org, calling on the Milford schools to rescind the Halloween ban.
There, the Milford Halloween ban took on something of a life of its own. Petitioners — over 3,500 of them, as of this post — took to the comments to offer their thoughts on the matter, often using colorful (read: obscene) language, lots of ALL CAPS, and the occasional reference to foreigners imposing their beliefs on Americans.
“I’m OFFENDED at being forced to deny my culture! Other cultures get offended and you cater to them. I’m tired of it.
“I’m sick and tired of the majority bending to the will of the minority. If our traditions offend you… STAY THE F**K HOME.
“i am sick and tired of foreigners coming into our country with their religious beliefs and telling the american people the way life should be”
After the public outcry, Milford Superintendent Elizabeth Feser sent home another letter, calling the news coverage of the Halloween ban a “distraction,” and rescinded the ban. Halloween parades and costumes are now back on in Milford schools.
Still, Feser, in her letter, seems a little perturbed by the reaction to her earlier decision.
“There are those who unmercifully attacked the decision, falsely accusing the Milford Public Schools for banning Halloween. We have been accused of being un-American, of denying children participation in an American tradition, and that we should be ashamed.”
Feser also insisted that Milford schools never actually banned Halloween, they simply moved the traditional costume parade from an event to be held during school hours to an after-school event. That way, working parents could see their kids’ classmates in their costumes, and those who couldn’t attend wouldn’t feel left out.
“There are those who feel a 20 minute parade is more important.”
Do you believe the Milford schools were right to cancel Halloween? Were they right to bring it back? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock / DenisNata]