- Mitchell Elementary School in Needham, Massachusetts, is canceling its traditional Halloween festivities, which include classroom parties and a costume parade.
Why the cancellation?
- Not all families celebrate Halloween on Oct. 31 for different reasons, the school said, and on that day some keep their kids home from school.
- Therefore, administrators and teachers decided to stop holding the festivities in order to avoid excluding kids.
- Principal Gregory Bayse wrote in a letter to parents that one teacher spoke of “awkwardness planning a class celebration knowing that not all of her students would be able to participate,” WCVB-TV reported.
- Bayse added to the station that the faculty was “near-unanimous in believing” the Halloween celebrations should be stopped.
What did parents say?
- “It’s fun! I can’t see why people want to preclude kids from having fun, and enjoy something that’s more cultural,” parent Jon Cohan told WBZ-TV. “There’s no real religious significance to anything about Halloween. It’s just a thing where kids get candy.”
- “I don’t feel it’s really related to overall learning,” parent Matthew Roy added to WBZ regarding Halloween festivities. “It’s important for kids to have fun, but it is a choice, per family. We definitely like to celebrate with our kids.”
- "I love Halloween, and I always loved it as a kid in school," grandmother Patsy Leibensperger told WCVB. "So it makes me a little bit sad."
- Grandmother Eva Demjen was blunt with her assessment to WCVB, saying kids who don't participate in Halloween "don't have to be with the kids who are celebrating."
What is the school celebrating instead?
- On Nov. 9, it will mark William Mitchell Day — a celebration of autumn and the school's namesake, WCVB reported.
This writer's perspective
The school doesn't spell out what specific objections some families have to Halloween. But assuming some have difficulty with the day due to religious beliefs, it's commendable that the school is recognizing that issue.
But William Mitchell Day as a substitute — along with a celebration of autumn — doesn't seem to quite cut it when kids can be rockin' their newly acquired Captain America or Wonder Woman costumes to strut around in all day.
At least sneak the tykes a lollipop or two while they marvel at the autumnal foliage.
This story has been updated.