Seattle elementary school canceled its annual Halloween parade this year, saying it would “marginalize students of color who don’t celebrate the holiday.”
The school district said the decision to cancel the pumpkin parade for students to wear Halloween costumes came after a five-year debate from the racial equity team at Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary School.
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“There are many community and neighborhood events where students and families can celebrate Halloween,” a Seattle Public School spokeswoman said The statement is provided From KTTH Radio talk show host Jason Rantz. “Historically, the pumpkin parade has been pushing students of color who are not celebrating the holiday.
The statement continued, “With the SPS’s strong commitment to students of color, particularly African American men, staff are committed to providing the pumpkin parade with more inclusive and educational opportunities during the school day, with nothing to do with the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.”
School Principal Stanley Jascot confirmed that the march was canceled.
“Halloween is a very complex problem for schools. Yes, I agree that this event has marginalized our students. Many of our students have historically opted for an alternative activity in the library when the pumpkin parade. All are sensitive to noise and excitement, ”Jascot told LBL.
The school informed parents of the cancellation in an Oct. 8 newsletter and asked them not to let their children wear costumes this year. The newsletter explained that costume parties can be uncomfortable for many children who cannot afford one, and that loud noise levels and crowds can cause resentment for children, Rantz reported.
Instead, this year’s students will participate in inclusive fall events, such as examining “thematic studies units for fall” and “autumn artwork,” according to a newsletter obtained by Rantz.
David Malkin, whose 7-year-old son attends BF Day, warned the decision was “an exercise in wealthy white vanity.”
“To the extent that there is no inequality, I don’t see any way to solve any inequality,” Malkin said Told Rantz Monday in their program. “You know, it seems magnificent on behalf of staff who are predominantly and predominantly white.”
Malkin, who is Asian, said parents were not involved in the decision.
“I’m sure they don’t want to hear from anyone of any race or ethnicity. It really doesn’t want to go on a lockstep with them,” he said.