Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Halloween Under Siege

That's what you would say, right Bill O'Reilly? Hello?

My son's school is having a Halloween parade and party. I'd be pretty pissed if his school decided they would simply not do it. It's a great, fun, secular American tradition.
...the staff at Red Hawk Ridge Elementary School in Centennial recently sent home a reminder notice to parents:
No Halloween.
No costumes.
No classroom party.
No parade.

It's part of a recent trend among schools to do away with the Halloween tradition. They cite various reasons for doing so
In the past, concerns have tended to center on religion, with complaints coming from multiple fronts: There are those alarmed by Halloween's perceived relationship with the occult. There is the church-state crowd that doesn't like its eighth-century Christian roots and says it should not be allowed in public schools. And Wiccans complain children are portraying witches in an unflattering way.
"I think for the most part the real reason schools are doing away with Halloween during the day has to do with the disruption and the loss of instructional time," agrees Mike Crawford, principal at Palmer Elementary in Denver.

Sorry excuse. Anything can be an opportunity for instruction. The sorriest excuse of all is this, though
In addition, as schools struggle to be sensitive to diversity, there is concern that children whose homelands or cultures do not recognize Halloween will feel left out or uncomfortable.

Yes, American traditions with parties and candy make kids uncomfortable, and are a terrible way of helping immigrant children become Americanized.

Thank goodness there are still some level heads like Chuck Raisch, principal of Steck Elementary
He believes holiday celebrations can be teaching tools. For example, a parent who recently has arrived from China may not understand the American concept of trick-or-treating. But if you explain it as a chance for children to be creative, maybe even dress in their country's traditional costumes, he suspects few would object.

(Yes, I like the Christmas celebrations, too. Let's celebrate every holiday we can, because we and our children have had too much stress these days).

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