A group of elementary schools in Michigan are cancelling some of their Halloween and Valentine’s Day classroom celebrations over concerns raised by parents regarding inequity and disparity.
A joint letter by East Lansing Public Schools elementary principals sent to parents explained the rationale for ending the celebrations beloved by most children.
Assistant Superintendent Glenn Mitcham said that it is common to see children crying “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.”
The schools will end celebrations in classrooms of either holiday.
“We’re striving hard at East Lansing Public Schools to be a district that is equitable and inclusive for all families,” the letter said.
Mitcham went on to say that they are not cancelling either holiday, but will end classroom celebrations where children can measure each other up.
The letter also said that there are other problems with Halloween in elementary schools.
“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,” the principals wrote.
“We have young children who become overwhelmed and sometimes frightened of the costumes and others who come to school with no costume at all,” they added.
Mitcham went on to say that they might use alternative teaching methods in order to include the holidays, like measuring a pumpkin’s radius in math class.
“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 concluded.
An elementary school in Seattle, Washington, found a similar reason to cancel Halloween for their students: because minorities and especially African-American males don’t participate in it enough.
The East Lansing school district had made national headlines earlier this year when a teacher used a lesson that asked students to think about the positives of slavery. The school apologized and the teacher was reinstated after an internal investigation.
Here’s more about Lansing school scandals:
East Lansing teacher placed on leave over slavery assignment returns to classroom