MILFORD, Conn. – A Connecticut school district is banning Halloween in an effort to be inclusive.
Victoria Johannsen, a mother of a third-grader at Live Oaks School in Milford Public Schools, says she received a letter stating the school’s decision to no longer recognize Halloween “arose out of numerous incidents of children being excluded from activities due to religion, cultural beliefs, etc.,” the Connecticut Post reports.
The school is discontinuing a popular costume parade, banning students and staff from wearing costumes on the day and is rebranding Oct. 31st to be “fall themed.”
And if that’s not bad enough, Michelle Obama’s school lunch rules are impacting the lack of fun: “food is not an option” for classroom activities, according to the school’s letter.
“I don’t think we’re excluding anybody,” Johannsen insists. “I think they’re excluding themselves.”
She and over 350 other parents have signed a petition calling on the school district to restore the fun and allow children to walk in the parade.
“These are our American customs and traditions and we should not have to give them up because others find them offensive!” the petition at Change.org reads. “I’m so tired (of) my kids missing out on some of the things we all got to do as children and are some of the greatest childhood memories I have due to others saying they find it offensive.”
Jim Richetelli, chief operations officer for Milford schools, tells the paper he has “no direct knowledge” about Live Oaks’ ban on Halloween, but claims such moves are out of a concern for diversity.
“Milford Public Schools do have many children from diverse beliefs, cultures and religions,” he says. “The goal is for all children to feel comfortable and definitely not alienated when they come to school.”
Milford’s move isn’t unprecedented.
Last year, News 8 reported Newington, Connecticut elementary schools were canceling traditional Halloween celebrations “due to concerns that they exclude children whose families don’t celebrate the holiday.”
Some parents accused the schools – Anna Reynolds Elementary and Ruth Chaffee Elementary – of bowing to political correctness from a small minority of families at the expense of their own children’s fun.
According to a letter sent to parents, the schools will replace Halloween with “fall- or harvest-themed” celebrations.
Those celebrations may include pumpkins, ghosts, witches, and “Happy Halloween” signs in teacher’s classrooms.
Teachers are permitted to “teach” about the holiday, but the school cannot “celebrate” the holiday.
That would imply an endorsement, according to the news station.