Education /

Seattle School Cancels Halloween Celebration Claiming it Marginalizes Black Boys

A Seattle elementary school has cancelled their Halloween celebration, claiming that black boys, specifically, do not celebrate the holiday.

Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary has held a “Pumpkin Parade” annually, where students can dress up if they choose and enjoy some candy.

In a school newsletter announcing the cancellation, obtained by local station KTTH, they cited “foundational beliefs around equity for our students and families” for ruining Halloween. Instead, they will focus on “thematic units of study about the fall” and review “autumnal artwork.”

“As a school with foundational beliefs around equity for our students and families, we are moving away from our traditional ‘Pumpkin Parade’ event and requesting that students do not come to school in costumes,” the newsletter reads.

“Halloween events create a situation where some students must be excluded for their beliefs, financial status, or life experience,” the newsletter continued. “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.”

A Seattle Public Schools spokesperson was more specific in their statement to the station.

“At B.F. Day Elementary, there have been discussions about the school’s Pumpkin Parade every year for at least the past five years. The school Racial Equity Team brought the topic up again in September and the members (with staff input) made the recommendation listed in the newsletter post,” the spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

The spokesperson claimed, more specifically, that “African American males” are the ones marginalized during the holiday.

“Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday,” the spokesperson claimed. “Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place. 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.”

Timcast has reached out to the school to inquire about how Halloween marginalizes male students, but not female students. We will update this story if a response is provided.

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