Scaremongering? Parents force school district to reverse ban on Halloween parade
Trick became treat for parents in a small Connecticut town Monday. Their outrage pressured Milford Public Schools to overturn a ban on Halloween celebrations during official school hours that had just been announced Monday morning.
"This is just not right," read a parent's petition that had 350 signatures in initial national news reports. By the time it reached 2,200 supporters, Milford school officials were ready to back off their previous announcement.
"The principals and I are about educating our children. With this in mind, knowing that the issue of Halloween is detracting from what we are truly about, and our time with our children around teaching and learning is most important, we have decided to reverse our decision," a letter from Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Feser to the media stated.
It was inclusion, not education, that was highlighted in the letter that broke the news of the Halloween ban. "This decision arose out of numerous incidents of children being excluded from activities due to religion, cultural beliefs, etc. School-day activities must be inclusive," Live Oaks School principal Rose Marzinotto wrote to parents.
Since 2009, 20-minute Halloween parades were held during the daytime at every K-2 school in the district, not for grades 3-5. But those two groups combined this year, prompting a new discussion, according to the "reverse" letter written by Dr. Feser. All eight principals agreed to forego their parades, opting for "Trunk or Treat" events to be held after school hours. Children can then wear costumes and collect candy out of the trunks of cars, courtesy of the Parent Teacher Association groups.
Now that the parades are back, the word on costume bans is still out. Feser's letter said principals would have more information on costume rules and other details.
The problem seems to have been solved locally, but the social media aftermath is still playing out. One Twitter user is blaming "MOSLEMS!" and sharing the Milford mayor's contact information to "let him know we won't bow to Islam!"
Similar messages can be found on Facebook:
Children may always love dressing up and receiving candy, but Milford's Halloween controversy shows some adults can't find enough to get outraged about, parades or not.