Seattle Elementary School Says It’s Canceling Halloween Celebrations Due to Cultural and Religious Exclusions

An elementary school in the Seattle area is reportedly canceling Halloween celebrations over concerns that it is an “exclusionary” holiday.

According to Jason Rants show on radio station KTTH, Principal John Simard of Brookside Elementary in Lake Forest, Washington, informed parents in an email that the school will no longer be allowing any Halloween celebrations.

Simard reportedly said in the email: “Many see Halloween as a fun candy-filled holiday. They enjoy the community-building benefits that a shared experience can bring. This may be true for you and your family; I can certainly say it is for mine.”

However,” he wrote, “this is not the case for all. Halloween celebrations are exclusionary for students who come from certain cultural or religious backgrounds.

“As a public school, should we be hosting events during the instructional day that exclude students? No, we should not. We want this to be a place for all of our students and families.”

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According to Rantz, Simard did not elaborate on what cultures ore religions, if any, exclude Halloween celebrations.

Rantz also stated that the school allows “Crazy Hat Day,” in which students can wear whatever hat they want, no matter how silly.

One parent who asked for anonymity, said on Rantz’s show that he and his family were upset by the school’s double standards when it came to hosting events for one holiday but not another.

“Birthdays are celebrated, there are cultural heritage months, Black Lives Matter curriculum and flags, pride celebration, along with all of the other religious holidays that are acknowledged,” the man told Rantz. “Why is Halloween canceled? The school also has other days where dressing up silly, or in colors or in pajamas, is encouraged. I see zero difference in letting kids dress up in costumes.”

The father questioned why the school would cancel Halloween celebrations, and said the holiday “is celebrated in many countries throughout many cultures across the world.”

“Why are the traditions of the majority being canceled by a few people protecting those that choose not to celebrate? Who is it hurting?” the man said. “And if they are hurting from kids dressing up in costumes, they have bigger issues to deal with personally.

“Who cares if you don’t celebrate something? Let the ones that celebrate have a good time! No one is forcing them to participate. It’s also OK to adopt new cultural celebrations and the traditions of the country you live in, America.”

The father said the school’s decision about Halloween is “unfortunate” and “a truly sad example of what our society has turned into.”

He continued, “The need to cancel everything someone doesn’t like has become the breaking point of the fabric of our country. Cancel culture is just another form of censorship. Censorship is control.

“I can’t even fathom the fact that I have to write a reporter so my kid and his friends can dress up in their costumes for Halloween. It’s truly upsetting.”

Other schools have canceled Halloween celebrations over similar concerns.

In 2021, Melrose Public Schools in Massachusetts announced intentions to “deemphasize Halloween and shift our focus toward community building through fall celebrations.”

According to WFXT-TV, the Melrose superintendent said the school’s priorities were “equity and the inclusion of all students” as well as “fostering a sense of belonging and partnership with all students, families and staff.”

In 2019, the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 near Chicago also did away with Halloween celebrations since “it is not a holiday that is celebrated by everyone.” The district said at the time that there is a “range of inequities that are embedded in Halloween celebrations” and that it may have an “unintended negative impact” on some people.

District officials, who repeatedly noted their commitment to “equity,” said they were “discontinuing current and past practices that are not in alignment with our goals.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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