School district cancels classroom Halloween celebrations

School district says no more Halloween celebrations during school hours

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX/Gray News) - Burlington School District officials canceled Halloween celebrations in the classroom in addition to a parade at Edmunds Elementary School.

It's been a topic for years - if and how schools should celebrate Halloween in the district.

This year, It started with an email from a parent and ended with school staff voting to cancel the Halloween parade.

They say the decision was made from both a safety perspective as well as concerns that the celebrations couldn't be inclusive.

"For example, many people are made uncomfortable by the notion that you change your identity, you turn into someone else and those somebody else's could represent cultural appropriations," said the district's Miriam Ehtesham-Cating.

In addition to the possibility of cultural appropriation, they cite families who are financially insecure and the fact that costumes can represent death and gore.

“It’s not that we are teaching Halloween is a bad thing,” Ehtesham-Cating said. “It’s that we are reflecting in our practices that we believe every celebration held in schools should be fully inclusive - there’s a huge difference.”

She says the goal of schools is to reflect on current practices with a contemporary lens and that sometimes that means changing how they celebrate holidays.

The letter also says the school envisions these types of celebrations being reserved for after-school parties, like a PTO-sponsored fall dance. The district says Halloween can still be celebrated, just not during school hours.

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