The South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey has recently decided to cancel its Halloween celebrations citing its commitment to promoting diversity. Here’s the full story.
Halloween Festivities Could Be Offensive
The district shared that its commitment to equity and inclusion was the primary reason behind this decision, saying that Halloween festivities could be offensive to individuals from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.
The cancellation includes all Halloween-related activities and costume-wearing during school hours.
Superintendent Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, in a letter sent to families, explained the reason behind the decision.
He shared the district’s commitment to not only using the words “diversity, equity, and inclusion” but also actively fostering an inclusive school environment.
Create a Consistent Approach
He indicated that the goal was to create a consistent approach across the district for observing and celebrating holidays and special events.
“Each year, questions arise from families, students, and staff about what SOMSD schools will be doing regarding Halloween,” he added.
In the letter, Dr. Taylor asked, “Is promoting school-sponsored Halloween activities inadvertently causing financial hardships for students and families?
Do these activities violate the cultural or religious dignity of some students and families? Could they create tensions with the equity and access values of SOMSD?”
Promote Equality Among Students
While acknowledging that this decision would not sit well with everyone, Dr. Taylor shared that the new policy would promote student equality.
The superintendent’s letter revealed that a survey was conducted among all ten principals of schools in the district to gauge their opinion on whether Halloween celebrations should be discontinued.
Discontinuation of Halloween Celebrations
The overwhelming response from the principals favored discontinuing Halloween celebrations within the school setting.
As an alternative, Dr. Taylor proposed organizing a “Fall Festival” to replace the Halloween festivities.
The aim is to provide students with an inclusive and equitable celebration that respects the diversity and cultural backgrounds of the school community.
The decision has been met with mixed reactions, with some individuals applauding the move as a step towards fostering greater equity in the school district.
Community’s Access and Equity Values
Dr. Kevin Gilbert, Assistant Superintendent of Access and Equity, said, “All of us realize that this breaks with what the district has usually done, and that can be a difficult thing to do sometimes.
Often, working to instill greater equity in our district begins with recognizing that we cannot do what we have always done. But with this decision, we are taking a step closer to upholding our community’s access and equity values.”
Is Halloween Is Now Racist or Something Absurd?
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Probably been force-fed that Halloween is now racist or something absurd.”
Dictatorship at Its Finest
Another user added, “All the Democrats know how to do are ban things people that don’t agree with them want. Dictatorship at its finest.”
No More Holidays
A third user commented, “Culturally and religiously? They didn’t mention “THANKSGIVING and XMAS” while they were at it. You know that will be coming.
There will be no more holidays in school for our kids to celebrate anymore.”
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