Seattle school cancels its annual Halloween parade, claiming students of color don’t celebrate
A Seattle elementary school has canceled its upcoming Halloween parade and will be banning students from dressing in costumes on October 31, claiming that the annual event ‘marginalizes’ students of color who administrators claim do not celebrate the holiday.
Officials at the Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary School have discussed axing the annual Pumpkin Parade for five years, but first notified parents about the unilateral decision to cancel it in an October 8 newsletter, according to The Jason Rantz Show on local news station KTTH Radio.
‘As a school with foundational beliefs around equity for our students and families, we are moving away from our traditional ‘Pumpkin Parade’ event and requesting that students do not come to school in costumes,’ reads the newsletter, seen by the radio host.
The school in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood annually invites students to dress in costume and march through the school with their peers as part of its Pumpkin Parade.
However, it decided to cancel the event this year because it could be upsetting for children who can’t afford a Halloween costume and that the loud noise levels and crowds are triggering to some kids, according to the newsletter.
Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary School has canceled its upcoming Halloween parade because it ‘marginalizes’ students of color, the district wrote in a newsletter to parents on October 8
B.F. Day Elementary School, in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, annually invites students to dress in costume and march through the school with their peers as part of its Pumpkin Parade
But administrators claimed that a number of students, specially African American boys, do not celebrate Halloween and feel excluded by the annual event. Above, a photo from the school district’s Instagram page shows students hosting an event supporting the Black Lives Matter movement
About 15 percent of the school is considered low-income, according to nonprofit GreatSchools. It’s not clear why the school didn’t opt for alternatives to cancelling the parade, such as hosting a community costume drive or a DIY costume-making activity.
The newsletter states that students will still recognize the fall season by participating in activities the school claims are ‘more inclusive,’ like a thematic study of the fall season and a lesson on autumnal artwork.
The newsletter concludes by thanking parents for their support, despite inviting no parental input in the decision. It explains that the decision was championed by the school’s Racial Equity Committee and invites parents to join it.
The school defended the decision, saying that a number of students of color opt out of the event each year and feel excluded because they don’t celebrate Halloween.
The school defended the decision, saying that a number of students of color opt out of the event each year and feel excluded because they don’t celebrate Halloween
The newsletter also claims that the event could be upsetting for children who can’t afford a Halloween costume and that the loud noise levels and crowds are triggering to some kids
‘Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday,” a school spokesperson told Rantz.
‘Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place. In alliance with SPS’s unwavering commitment to students of color, specifically African American males, the staff is committed to supplanting the Pumpkin Parade with more inclusive and educational opportunities during the school day.’
School principal Stanley Jaskot also supported the Racial Equity Committee and confirmed that the parade was cancelled.
‘Halloween is a very complex issue for schools,’ she told Fox News. ‘Yes, I agree this event marginalized our students of color. Several of our students historically opted for an alternate activity in the library while the pumpkin parade took place.’
She added, ‘This was an isolating situation and not consistent with our values of being an inclusive and safe place for all our students – especially students of color and those with a sensitivity to all the noise and excitement of the parade.’
Students will still recognize the fall season by participating in activities the school claims are ‘more inclusive,’ like a thematic study of the fall season and a lesson on autumnal artwork. Above, a photo from the school district’s Instagram page shows students at what appears to be an LGBTQ Pride event
But at least one parent of a student of color has taken issue with the school’s decision, telling Rantz that parents should have been able to voice their opinions on the matter.
‘I don’t see any way in which this actually addresses any inequities to the extent that there are any inequities. You know, this just seems like grandstanding on behalf of the principal and the staff who are predominantly white,’ David Malkin, who is Asian, told Rantz.
Malkin has a 7-year-old son enrolled at the school and said the boy’s favorite holiday is Halloween.
‘I’m sure they don’t want to hear from anyone of any race or ethnicity that doesn’t really want to go along with them in lockstep,’ he added.
Malkin hasn’t yet told his son about the parade’s cancellation and that he believes students won’t even understand why the school cancelled it.
‘I hate to see these kinds of things slowly be whittled away and destroyed or being done away with because someone has some, you know, theory in their head that somehow this is exclusionary when, again, it’s quite the opposite,’ he said.