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School cancels Halloween parade, then reverses its decision
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One school in Connecticut decided to forgo the normal New England fall customs this year by banning Halloween costumes and parades, according to NBC Connecticut. - photo by Herb Scribner
One school in Connecticut decided to forgo the normal New England fall customs this year by banning Halloween costumes and parades, according to NBC Connecticut.

The district first canceled the parades after parents expressed concerns that Halloween celebrations went against their religious and cultural beliefs, The Washington Post reported.

Halloween parades will not take place in any Milford elementary schools, Rosemarie Marzinotto, principal of Milfords Live Oaks School, wrote in a letter, according to Fox CT. 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. Halloween costumes are not permitted for students or staff during the day at school.

The schools decided to take this a step farther. Teachers were instructed to have fall themed candy in classrooms nothing related to Halloween, according to the Post.

As one might expect, this inspired an outcry from parents and local community members. In fact, some created a petition on Change.org to bring back the parades, which garnered more than 3,600 signatures before the district overturned its decision, according to the Post.

This is just not right, Rebecca Lilley wrote on the petition. Growing up in America there are certain traditions and celebrations we have become accustomed to celebrating at home and during school! Saying the pledge of allegiance, Halloween parades, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations, New Year's, Valentines Day parties and dances and Easter. These are our American customs and traditions and we should not have to give them up because others find them offensive!

After seeing complains from parents, the Milford School District announced it would allow the fall festivities to return to its hallways, NBC Connecticut reported.

"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," Milford Superintendent Elizabeth E. Feser said in a statement, according to NBC Connecticut.

Before the parade was reinstated, Feser and the school district thought about hosting a family event after school for parents and community members, but many locals disapproved of that idea, too, according to the Post.

This isnt the first time Halloween has been banned from schools. In 2013, a Pennsylvania school canceled its parades because school officials felt that Halloweens religious beginnings it originated from a holiday called Samhain (pronounced ash-win or sow-in) that honored the dead were unfit for public school children, Matthew Brown wrote for the Deseret News.

"Some holidays observed in the community that are considered by many to be secular (examples: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day) are viewed by others as having religious overtones, Orlando Taylor, the principal at Inglewood Elementary School in Pennsylvania, wrote in a letter, according to Brown. The district must always be mindful of the sensitivity of all the members of the community with regard to holidays and celebrations of a religious, cultural or secular nature. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that school districts may not endorse, prefer, favor, promote or advance any religious beliefs."

In fact, some religious conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, have looked to lessen the amount of Halloween-themed items and events during the fall season because of its connections to the Samhain holiday.

The Daily Beasts Ben Collins likened this to the war on Christmas a phrase coined by Fox News that references how Americans have taken religion and Christianity away from the holiday season by calling it the "War on Halloween."

If this is a war, its affecting more than just children who want to dress up in Halloween costumes, Collins wrote, but all kinds of families.

For example, Jaimie McCavill feels as though she and her two children have been ignored by school officials because of the war on Halloween, Collins wrote.

McCavill, who has been battling cancer, has asked the school district to allow the schools buses, which can only pick up students who live at least two miles away from the school, to pick up her boys, who live 1.7 miles away, Collins wrote.

She has emailed school officials over the last year, but hasnt heard back especially now with the Halloween war.

The Connecticut mother of two attended a recent school board meeting to air her frustrations.

I dont get a response, but now you write two pages about a parade? she asked, according to Collins.

But nothing was done to help her. The next person at the meeting talked about the Halloween scandal.

This is why some, like Nick Gillespie of Time magazine, feel the war on Halloween is causing more problems than its worth. In fact, the war on Halloween is teaching children to hide from events that only inspire fun, and that the only way to get what you want is through arguments and fighting, he wrote.

Gillespie wrote that the war on Halloween needs to end, and parents and school officials should look to spread peace.

What sort of lesson are we teaching our kids when we ban even a tiny, sugar-coated break in their daily grind (or, even worse, substitute a generic, Wicker Man-style Fall Festival for Halloween)?" Gillespie wrote. Mostly that we are a society that is so scared of its own shadow that we cant even enjoy ourselves anymore. We live in fear of what might be called the killjoys veto, where any complaint is enough to destroy even the least objectionable fun.
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