A Connecticut elementary school has cancelled Halloween festivities this year, and a lot of parents and students are absolutely livid. According to many, tradition and fun are being curtailed for very little gain, and some parents are calling Connecticut's Lillie B. Haynes Elementary School's decision to cancel Halloween a "knee-jerk" reaction. So what caused Halloween to be cancelled at the Connecticut school? There are a few reasons that the school cited regarding its decision to cancel Halloween, but one of the most controversial is a stated "respect for religious beliefs."
Especially due to the fact that the annual Halloween parade and tradition of students dressing up in Halloween costumes at the end of October is one that stretches back decades at the Connecticut school and other schools in the region.As WNYT 13 reports, the Connecticut school has cancelled Halloween not only for religious reasons, but due to the potential of a "safety threat" posed by adults who attend the annual Halloween celebration at the Connecticut school in Halloween costumes of their own. While the nature of the threat was never defined by the Connecticut school, many believe that school administration is likely alluding to the recent creepy clown sightings that have taken America by storm.
(Is that right though? Doesn't Halloween being cancelled mean that the clown-attired terrorists win?)
In addition to cancelling official Halloween festivities (including class Halloween parties and the annual Halloween costume parade), the Connecticut school has officially banned dressing up on school grounds, too. That means kids who come to class on Halloween in their witch hat could be in for some serious trouble.Not surprisingly, quite a few parents are unhappy with the letters they received from the Connecticut school regarding Halloween being cancelled. Here's an excerpt of what the school told them in the controversial Halloween letter.
"This decision was based on many factors including safety and exclusion of students. With increasing societal safety concerns, the number of adults who attend this event, some in costumes, poses a potential safety threat...past students have been excluded from participating due to religion, cultural beliefs..." and "...we believe school day activities must be inclusive for all students..."As Patheos reports, the news that the Connecticut school cancelled Halloween rubbed a lot of parents the wrong way, particularly because the annual Halloween celebration was reportedly cancelled to honor some students' religious beliefs. Indeed, schools don't conduct a survey of their students' religious affiliations, and its entirely possible that honoring the religious and cultural beliefs of some by cancelling Halloween could mean that other students, students that have come to expect a Halloween celebration every year, could see their religious beliefs trampled on. In a nutshell, not all religions demonize Halloween. In some (predominantly pagan) faiths, Halloween (or Samhain) is a very important and even integral religious holiday.
Remember the public outcry when many schools opted to replace their Christmas celebrations with "winter parties"?
That's pretty much what this Connecticut school opted for when it cancelled Halloween for religious (and other) reasons. In fact, while the Halloween parties and Halloween costume parades are officially nixed, the Connecticut school has replaced the festivities with "fall celebrations."
At least one parent thinks that the Connecticut school overreacted when it cancelled Halloween for its students, a decision that was reportedly reached with input from school faculty, teachers, and staff.
"I think it's a little over reaction, knee-jerk sort of sense."Other parents seem to understand the Connecticut school's dilemma and even support the decision to largely disappoint students by erring on the side of caution and cancel traditional Halloween plans.
"I would say that it's not a bad decision, it's right because somebody could dress up and hurt the kids and hurt the parents as well."Other parents think it's a good idea to cancel activities at the Connecticut school that might leave any children feeling bad or excluded from the festivities.
"It was a fun parade to have but if there is even one child who feels excluded and not comfortable coming to school, I think it can be celebrated outside of school."Some parents whose children attend the Connecticut school think just the opposite, and they feel that the school is being somewhat exclusionary and discriminatory by culling Halloween festivities from the curriculum, even to the point of dishonoring some students' traditions to stay politically correct.
"I think it's a shame that they're canceling it. I think it shows a sign of not wanting to be diversified and learning about other cultures, about people's traditions and things like that."Not surprisingly, most students who attend the Connecticut school that cancelled Halloween aren't on board with the new plan.
"I'm kind of sad because I really like marching around and I had a really cool costume this year."This isn't the first time a Connecticut school has cancelled Halloween activities for its student. The last time something went down (last year), parents didn't take the Halloween cancellation sitting down.Indeed, in 2015, a Milford, Connecticut, school cancelled Halloween. Parents, however, put their collective feet down. In that instance, the ban was overturned.
So far, the Connecticut school that cancelled Halloween this year hasn't commented on its decision beyond the letter that was sent out to parents. No word on whether parents plan on fighting the bizarre Halloween ban.
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