A Seattle elementary school has canceled Halloween because the district said "students of color, specifically African American males" don't celebrate it, conservative radio host Jason Rantz of KTTH-AM reported.
What are the details?
Rantz said Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary historically has celebrated Halloween with activities such as a "Pumpkin Parade," during which students can wear costumes.
But he said school officials indicated in a Friday newsletter to parents that Halloween is over and done.
"As a school with foundational beliefs around equity for our students and families, we are moving away from our traditional 'Pumpkin Parade' event and requesting that students do not come to school in costumes," the newsletter reads, according to Rantz.
More from the newsletter, KTTH said:
Halloween events create a situation where some students must be excluded for their beliefs, financial status, or life experience. Costume parties often become an uncomfortable event for many children, and they distract students and staff from learning. Large events create changes in schedules with loud noise levels and crowds. Some students experience over stimulation, while others must deal with complex feelings of exclusion. It's uncomfortable and upsetting for kids.
What will students do instead?
Rantz — citing the newsletter — reported that students instead can participate in inclusive fall events such as "thematic units of study about the fall" or review "autumnal artwork" while "sharing all the cozy feelings of the season."
A Seattle Public Schools spokesperson told Rantz that B.F. Day's Racial Equity Team made the call with staff input after five years of discussion.
The spokesperson added to KTTH that other Seattle schools also have canceled Halloween recently — and that black students, particularly males, don't celebrate it.
"Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday," the spokesperson told Rantz. "Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place. 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."
Asian parent rips 'affluent white vanity that is wokeism'
David Malkin — who is Asian — has a 7-year-old son enrolled at B.F. Day, and he told Rantz that the Halloween cancellation is an "exercise in affluent white vanity that is wokeism."
"I don't see any way in which this actually addresses any inequities to the extent that there are any inequities," Malkin said during Rantz's KTTH show. "You know, this just seems like grandstanding on behalf of the principal and the staff who are predominantly white."
Malkin also said he sees this as a white progressive project devoid of input from him and other parents, the station said.
"I'm sure they don't want to hear from anyone of any race or ethnicity that doesn't really want to go along with them in lockstep," he added to Rantz.
Malkin told KTTH he hasn't yet informed his son about the school's decision to cancel Halloween — his son's favorite holiday — and that his son likely won't understand why.
"I hate to see these kinds of things slowly ... whittled away and destroyed or ... done away with because someone has some ... theory in their head that somehow this is exclusionary when, again, it's quite the opposite," Malkin added to Rantz.