Valentine’s Day is no longer allowed at Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul, Minnesota. The reason for the removal of Valentine’s Day stems from the fact that the principal feels that since it is not celebrated by people from other countries, then it should be removed in order to make the students who are in the school from other countries not feel left out. Along with Valentine’s Day, other holidays that have been removed from the Minnesota school are Thanksgiving and Christmas. Principal Scott Masini sent a letter to parents about the removal of Valentine’s Day.
“My personal feeling is we need to find a way to honor and engage in holidays that are inclusive of our student population. I have come to the difficult decision to discontinue the celebration of the dominant holidays until we can come to a better understanding of how the dominant view will suppress someone else’s view. One of the concerns that I have is whether or not this practice is encroaching on the educational opportunities of others and threatening the culture of tolerance and respect for all.”
Not many parents share the view of Masini. One popular argument against the removal of Valentine’s Day is the fact that it is celebrated in the United States and people who come to this country need to assimilate to America, not America assimilating to them.
Taking Halloween and Valentines Day out of a St. Paul elementary school is nuts. And we wonder why Trump is so popular…
— Darin Broton (@DBroton) January 29, 2016
Here’s what America (Or at least St. Paul, MN) is offended by today…apparently “Valentines Day” is offensive… https://t.co/6XBU9wV9ip
— Hot Country B104.7 (@B1047) February 2, 2016
According to their website, 76 percent of the students at Bruce Vento Elementary are students of color. The St. Paul and Minneapolis Minnesota have become a place where people from Somalia are immigrating into and Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are not celebrated in that culture. Other schools in Minnesota have not followed suit. Instead, teachers are given individual discretion in regards to which holidays are celebrated in their classrooms.
Across the nation, schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have removed holidays due to not being able to include all of their students. Thomas Scarice, a superintendent in Connecticut, does not share the same vision as the other schools that are banning holidays.
“Children are predisposed to have fun, and once we take those opportunities away, learning suffers. While being sensitive to backgrounds of all different folks, I think school should be a place that children want to run into every morning rather than run out of out of every day at 3 p.m.”
Schools that have removed holidays like Valentine’s Day have opted to instead have seasonal parties that would correlate to where the banned holidays would have fallen on the school calendar. Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan is one of the schools that is opting for seasonal parties in lieu of holidays that would offend non-American students. This school district also eliminated birthday parties where the student celebrating would bring in snacks to share with their classmates. William Beeman, chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota feels that the schools are not doing the right thing. Beeman explains why celebrations are important to the human species.
“It’s very difficult to eliminate all celebrations from human society, and finding a reason for celebration is a terribly important human function because it creates social solidarity. And we don’t want our schools to be a grim place, where there’s never any fun, never any community building.”
Do you think Valentine’s Day should be banned from schools? Are schools going too far in removing the holidays that we celebrate in America in order to make sure people from other countries don’t feel bad?
[Image via Joe Raedle /Getty Images]