School District Nixes Halloween Over Diversity Concerns, Costumes Could ‘Violate the Dignity’ of Some Students

One New Jersey school district is acting on its Halloween fears. The South Orange-Maplewood School District notified parents that it was canceling Halloween celebrations in the school district in a letter sent to parents earlier this month, according to News 12 New Jersey. Superintendent Dr. Ronald G. Taylor cited the district’s commitment to “diversity” and “equity” in canning the holiday in the letter. The school official phrased a series of questions in discussing the motives for barring Halloween. “Is promoting school-sponsored Halloween activities creating indirect and unintentional financial hardships for students and families?” “Do school-sponsored Halloween activities violate the dignity of some of our students and families, either culturally or religiously?” “Does the promotion of school-sponsored Halloween activities create tensions with the equity and access values of SOMSD?” No Halloween events will be authorized on the date of the ancient holiday. “No costumes will be worn during school hours at our SOMSD schools,” Taylor said of district policy. A “Fall/Harvest Festival” will be celebrated in district schools instead, with Taylor permitting the celebration of the alternative holiday on Oct. 31. The move isn’t without its critics — even among them, one of the most liberal governors in the country. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy blasted the move in a Tuesday post. The president of the district’s elected school board went on to clarify that the decision to can Halloween was Taylor’s alone, according to The Village Green. “The Board was informed by the Superintendent that the decision to remove Halloween celebrations from all schools within the district was an administrative choice and, as such, did not necessitate formal approval by the South Orange — Maplewood School District Board of Education.” “The Administration deemed it fit, based on various reasons, which they have previously stated, to make this move without a formal voting process,” President Kaitlin Wittleder said of the move. Halloween celebrations in the community date back decades, with students of Maplewood Middle School traditionally participating in a post-school day event in Maplewood’s downtown village.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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