October 30, 2005

Halloween; It's What's For Dinner

Via the Boston Globe:

NEWTON -- When students at Underwood Elementary School walk to their classrooms on Monday, there will be no witches, SpongeBob SquarePants, or Johnny Damons there to greet them.

No skeleton paintings or Frankenstein tattoos, either.

The school's principal said yesterday he acceded to the complaints of a handful of parents who said that because the school's traditional Halloween celebrations offended their religious beliefs, they would not send their children to school if the revelry continued this year.

What in the world is happening to people? Few holidays can get a kid excited the way Halloween can. I mean, a few years ago my nephew had a Halloween party on his birthday -- May 1st -- because loves it so much and didn't feel like waiting another six months for it.

So, all those arts and crafts we did in school -- the huge murals on the door to each classroom; the cardboard skeletons; the dressing up, etc -- is banned from these kids' school. How can something so fun and harmlessly "scary" offend these few parents' religeous beliefs?! It's just ghosts and witches and goblins and pumkins and princesses and batmen and Jedi knights. Are we going to ban books like Harry Potter and MacBeth from the school library next? What is WRONG with people?! ANSWER ME!!!

''Not everyone is going to agree with the decision, and I really understand that," said principal David Castelline, , who last year grew a beard and dressed up as Johnny Damon. ''But I felt the goal was really important to make it a respectful and open and welcoming place for all members of our community."

By spitting on the ages-old tradition of making some of the school-time leading up to Halloween actually fun for the kids.
Castelline, who met yesterday with the Parent Teacher Organization to explain his decision, said three teachers told him they had children in their classes who were not going to come to school if the Halloween celebration was held.

Because their parents are party-poopin' Michael Newdow wannabes, no doubt. How raw does thin skin have to be to force your kid to play hookey over one of his or her favorite days of the year? Are these kids denied by their parents the thrill and fun of trick-or-treating?
Y'know what? I bet they're not.
The celebration, which has been going on for at least 14 years, involves teachers dressing up and lining the hallways and children making Halloween-related arts and crafts.
''When I hear that kids won't come to school because of what we're doing on Halloween, I have a problem with that," Castelline said.

And what do you do about it? Call a truant officer? Have the cops pay a visit to those parents to explain the seriousness of breaking the law over a perceived personal religious offense? No. You fold like an origami Renault R35 until you're all corners and screw the entire student body out of one of the few festive times of the school year all because three (3) students have obnoxious asshats for parents! Appalling!
Of nearly a dozen parents interviewed outside the school yesterday, none supported the decision to cancel the celebration. Several parents said they are considering staging a protest by donning costumes on Monday and standing in front of the school.

''If they can cancel Halloween, what about Columbus Day and Valentines Day? We get Jewish holidays and Christmas off, so what's next?" asked Andrea Newman, whose two sons attend the school. ''All it takes is one person to be offended, and our school will ban it."

Damm straight, Andrea. Show up dressed as Isis, Goddess of fertility. If they try to remove you from your child's school property, fertilize the lawn on your way out.

Nah, don't do that...

Castelline said the school instead planned to hold a ''celebration of fall" next Friday. Later in the year, he said, the school plans a costume celebration in which teachers and perhaps students will be encouraged to dress as their favorite literary characters.

Like the aforementioned Harry Potter? What do want, a class-action suit on yer hands?
No one in Massachusetts is tracking Halloween school celebrations, said a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, so it is difficult to track how many schools forgo the holiday.

Well, then, clearly there are no rules against Halloween celebrations in Massa', Choose It. At least, not until some local Nazi decides to be offended by something as stubbornly ever-present as religious themes. Up for banning April Fools Day, anyone? (Don't laugh. It's coming...)
Joel Packer, spokesman for the National Education Association, said the controversy is part of a contentious nationwide trend in which schools are trying to shorten or cancel holiday celebrations, either for religious reasons or to put more time into classroom work. Halloween is one of the few holidays that can fall when children are in school, he said, which puts school districts more on the spot.

Er... I thought this controversy was about an elementary school principle caving in to pressure to ban the free expression of happy funtime Halloween day acknowledgement. Dollars to doughnuts that this "contentious nationwide trend" was begun by a group of Russian immigrants in 1992...
A recent survey issued by a shopping mall management company found that 23 percent of Americans planned to take part in a school Halloween party this year.

Wilhelmina Ripple --author of several holiday books, including ''Halloween School Parties: What Do I Do?" --said school districts nationwide are changing the name of parties to make the celebrations more palatable for those who want to avoid having school-endorsed ghouls and goblins.

Then Dog forbid that a school "endorse" schoolyard bullying by acknowledging it's presence...
Parents interviewed yesterday said they didn't mind not being able to celebrate the holiday,.."

...all of whom are uneffected by this. It's the kids who'll not be allowed to celebrate....
"...but they complained that it was political correctness run amok, particularly at a school where one-fifth of the student body is nonwhite and the website is in both English and Chinese.

Wha' hap'n.....?
''The beauty of having diversity is to celebrate different cultures and holidays," said Renee Levin.

''It's not good," said her 7-year-old son, Jake, who is planning to dress up as a Ninja and go trick-or-treating after school. ''Last year we got a Halloween party and it was really fun."

Careful there, Jakey. If you show up at school dressed like a Ninja yer libel to offend two or three people's philosophy of diplomacy and conflict resolution. If you wanna cut something use this sickle. And then rebuild, here, using this hammer.

And stop tryin' to have so much fun, Kiddo. Yer in Amerika, now.

Posted by Tuning Spork at October 30, 2005 06:29 PM | TrackBack
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