A letter to the school board superintendent on the issue of Halloween:
Last year X Public School decided that the students would
not celebrate Halloween. No
longer would October 31st consist of costumes and parties, instead
children would be invited to wear orange and black. The same thing is
occurring this year, and again I am deeply unhappy and disappointed.
Last year I took my concerns directly to the board but as they clearly
have not been considered seriously I am writing directly to you.
am displeased about this for several reasons and I would like to share
those with you, because I think they are valid concerns, and I believe
they need consideration.
While there were many whispers
and much tittering about why X did away with a traditional
Halloween, the ultimate reason this holiday is not being recognized at
the school is for the benefit of those students who do not observe the
celebration. While I appreciate the sensitivity of this issue, I would
like to point out that to most people, Halloween is completely secular.
Thanksgiving is secular, and yet there has been no interruption to the
traditional Thanksgiving meal provided for all of the students.
Vegetarians, celiac, the allergic, and omnivores all join for a
traditional turkey feast inside a neighbouring church.
Birthdays are announced over the schools PA system. ‘God’ is mentioned
in the national anthem. Valentine’s Day hearts and Easter eggs are not
ignored. All with no harm done.
So why is Halloween being treated
Is it out of respect for those few families
do not observe Halloween based upon their religious beliefs? If so, I
should like to point out that in being mindful of the feelings of these
few, my own religious convictions have been offended. You see, I happen
to be pagan. Halloween is one of (if not THE) most important
observations of the wheel of the year. As a pagan, I find it distressing
that the school has stripped Halloween of every bit of meaning and
pared it down to the mere recognition of two colours. This is the
equivalent of taking every Christmas or winter holiday image and symbol
and paring it down to nothing but a square of red and white. If X Public School is striving to please every religious fragment
in their community, then I must insist that they consider my objections
to the bastardization of this holiday on religious grounds as well.
It is getting silly now, isn’t it?
an attempt to spare the feelings of a few, every single one of the
children at that school is losing out. For over 300 years, Halloween has
been celebrated in North American as a secular
holiday. Nevertheless, they have discarded the value of tradition and
become censorious to the point of absurdity. The school has picked at
the bones of tradition until there is no meat left, and only when bare
considered them acceptable.
While I may hope the costumes
and parties will be reinstated at X Public School, I certainly
will not hold my breath. As children we proudly showed off our homemade
costumes, giggled, carved pumpkins and told spooky stories and silly
jokes. Our children are offered scraps of what should be. They are given
the next best thing to nothing. Even an offer from the local arts council
to work with the children, creating costumes and engaging them in other
activities was met with the response ‘Waste an entire day on art?’ Yes,
Halloween and art will surely be the demise of us all.
what bothers me above all else on this issue is the way in which this
has been handled. The complete lack of transparency has been abhorrent. I
do not lie to my child and do not appreciate being put into a position
where I have to explain to my son that the administration of his school
has lied to him. He is supposed to trust and respect the people in his
school community. Now, not only have they whittled down Halloween into a
watery nothing, but they have lied as to why it has been done. If this
issue is so important to the school that they are holding fast, despite
complaints about the same being done last year, they should have the
fortitude to be plain and honest as to why they are standing their
Einstein once said, “Whoever is careless with the
truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
Applied to the current situation, this is far more frightening than any
ghoul or goblin.