A Michigan school district announced this week it will be cancelling Halloween and Valentine’s Day activities over concerns about feelings and “discomfort.”
In a letter sent home to families, the East Lansing Public Schools’ Elementary Principal Team noted that some families “did not celebrate Halloween” and “children’s excitement over the spooky holiday [made] it difficult to learn,” WLNS reports.
As for Valentine’s Day, “some families and students are uncomfortable with students celebrating ‘love.’”
The letter said the noted holidays have “given us pause for some time, especially as we grow in our understanding of equity and inclusion.” It also said Halloween, in particular, makes it tough for teachers to teach.
Assistant Superintendent Glenn Mitcham said “It’s not uncommon to see students crying on Halloween ‘because they don’t have the same kind of costumes that other kids have or they didn’t bring the same amazing valentines that other kids do,'” the Lansing State Journal reports.
Still, Mitcham claimed “by no means” is the district cancelling the holidays as the “celebrations can be built into the curriculum.” For instance, he said, students can learn about circumference by measuring a pumpkin.
Mitcham also noted that “alternative celebrations” will be held throughout the year for “students meeting academic or behavioral goals.” (Note the wording; it’s a good bet these celebrations won’t include a group of students who got straight As as that wouldn’t be “inclusive.”)
East Lansing Mayor Jessy Gregg (left) rushed to assure constituents that the city still will be holding Halloween and Valentine’s Day events despite her remarks about holidays like Christmas and Easter being “unwelcoming.”
“I have mentioned to several staff members that I think our seasonal programs would be more welcoming if we didn’t include things like pictures with Santa or the Easter Bunny,” Gregg posted on Facebook. “Yes, Christmas and Easter have become mainstream commercial holidays but they are religious traditions and including them in City sponsored programs makes those events unwelcoming to large segments of our population. We can host a beautiful winter themed festival without including religion.”
Inclusion … via exclusion! And since when are Santa and the Easter Bunny religious?
IMAGES: bofotolux / Shutterstock.com; Facebook screencap