A school district in Michigan has not only canceled Halloween ahead of October 31, but also gone ahead and canceled Valentine’s Day, which is still four months away.
East Lansing Public Schools announced the decision to cancel the two holidays this week, according to the Lansing State Journal, claiming the decision was made in the name of equity and inclusion.
Assistant Superintendent Glenn Mitcham wrote in a letter with other public school principals that every year, children could be found crying on Halloween “because they don’t have the same kind of costumes that other kids have or they didn’t bring the same amazing valentines that other kids do.”
“We’re striving hard at East Lansing Public Schools to be a district that is equitable and inclusive for all families,” he added.
Mitcham insisted that the holidays weren’t truly canceled, instead suggesting they could be incorporated into the curriculum. As the State Journal reported, Mitcham suggested using a pumpkin to teach students about circumference, for example.
“The schools will also look to hold alternative celebrations throughout the year celebrating students meeting academic or behavioral goals,” the outlet added.
The schools seem oblivious to the fact that some students might be upset that they don’t get to celebrate academic or behavioral success like other students — the same way students might be upset for other reasons on Halloween or Valentine’s Day.
But instead of using this as a teachable moment to toughen kids up, the school is taking something away from the vast majority who enjoy participating.
Mitcham also said the two holidays would still be celebrated at MacDonald Middle School and East Lansing High School, but with students possibly dressing up without scheduled parties. The principal said celebrating the holidays in the elementary schools was more harmful to students.
“Each year, along with the fun of Halloween parties and parades, we also have students whose families do not celebrate or feel comfortable with their children participating in Halloween festivities,” principals wrote in their letter. “We have young children who become overwhelmed and sometimes frightened of the costumes and others who come to school with no costume at all.”
The principals said that the Halloween celebrations can keep kids from concentrating on their studies. As for Valentine’s day, the principals wrote that some students don’t bring valentines, which leads to “drama and teasing.” They also said some parents don’t feel comfortable with boys and girls exchanging valentines or celebrating a holiday focused on “love.”
“While this may be a disappointment and/or an adjustment for some of our students/families at first, we promise to continue to offer alternative days throughout the school year that are full of fun and learning, for everyone,” the principals wrote.
The decision by Michigan schools follows a similar decision in Seattle, Washington, where a school canceled Halloween because it allegedly “marginalizes people of color,” The Daily Wire reported:
Following five years of deliberation about the future of the school’s annual pumpkin parade, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School has decided to nix the holiday tradition this year on the advice of the school’s Racial Equity Team.
The Pumpkin Parade had traditionally featured a procession of elementary students dressed in Halloween costumes.
“Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday,” a spokesperson told Jason Rantz, a Seattle-based conservative radio host. “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,” the spokesperson added.
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