An elementary school in Washington state canceled its annual Halloween parade for 2021 after its faculty determined that the event "marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday," according to a statement from the school.
The decision of the Racial Equity Team at Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary School was the product of five years of discussion, the school district said.
"There are numerous community and neighborhood events where students and families who wish to can celebrate Halloween," a Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman said in the statement. "Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday. Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place."
The decision had everything to do with protecting students of color and nothing to do with the pandemic, the statement read.
"In alliance with SPS's unwavering commitment to students of color, specifically African American males, the staff is committed to supplanting the Pumpkin Parade with more inclusive and educational opportunities during the school day," it said.
Halloween is a complicated issue for schools across the country, Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary School Principal Stanley Jaskot said.
"Yes, I agree this event marginalized our students of color. Several of our students historically opted for an alternate activity in the library while the pumpkin parade took place," Jaskot said. "This was an isolating situation and not consistent with our values of being an inclusive and safe place for all our students – especially students of color and those with a sensitivity to all the noise and excitement of the parade."
Parents were made aware of the decision on Oct. 8, and they were instructed not to allow their children to wear costumes to school, according to the report.
Costume parties may be uncomfortable for those students whose families are unable to afford a costume for them, and the noises that resonate from such events make some children upset, according to the newsletter sent to parents.
Instead of costume parties, students at the elementary school will partake in "inclusive" events, including "thematic units of study about the fall" and examining "autumnal artwork," the newsletter said.
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Original Author: Luke Gentile
Original Location: Elementary school cancels Halloween parade due to racial insensitivity