A public elementary school in the Seattle area has reportedly canceled a Halloween-themed parade after school district officials said it “marginalizes” students of color, especially those from the black community.
Benjamin Franklin Day (B.F. Day) Elementary School, which serves the neighborhood in a northeastern suburb of Seattle, decided to discontinue the “Pumpkin Parade” holiday tradition this year on the advice of the school’s racial equity team, according to Seattle-based conservative radio host Jason Rantz.
In an Oct. 8 newsletter to parents obtained by Rantz, the school explained the rationale behind the decision to cancel the Pumpkin Parade, which traditionally involves a procession of children in Halloween costumes.
“Halloween events create a situation where some students must be excluded for their beliefs, financial status, or life experience,” the letter read. “Costume parties often become an uncomfortable event for many children, and they distract students and staff from learning.
“Large events create changes in schedules with loud noise levels and crowds. Some students experience over stimulation, while others must deal with complex feelings of exclusion. It’s uncomfortable and upsetting for kids.”
Instead of the Halloween festivities, students at B.F. Day Elementary may participate in fall events that are considered more inclusive, such as “thematic units of study about the fall” or review “autumnal artwork” while “sharing all the cozy feelings of the season.”
In a statement provided to Rantz, a spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools said the district supports the decision to cancel the parade, which “historically marginalizes students of color” who don’t celebrate the holiday.
“In alliance with SPS’s unwavering commitment to students of color, specifically African American males, the staff is committed to supplanting the Pumpkin Parade with more inclusive and educational opportunities during the school day,” the spokesperson stated.
Some parents are upset with the cancellation of the parade. David Malkin, whose 7-year-old son is enrolled at B.F. Day, questioned whether the move actually helps anyone.
“I don’t see any way in which this actually addresses any inequities to the extent that there are any inequities,” Malkin told Rantz on his show. “You know, this just seems like grandstanding on behalf of the principal and the staff who are predominantly white.”
Malkin, who is Asian, also said the decision lacked input from him or other parents.
“I’m sure they don’t want to hear from anyone of any race or ethnicity that doesn’t really want to go along with them in lockstep,” he said.