Parents of students in the Northborough School District in Massachusetts have successfully pressured the district to resume its celebration for Halloween after the district initially cancelled celebrations in support of “equity and inclusion.”
The initial cancellation had stipulated that students would not be allowed to wear costumes at school and that the traditional Halloween parade would not occur.
In a letter issued to the district’s community, as reported by the Independent Journal Review, Superintendent Gregory Martineau stated that the school would hold a “fall-themed spirit day” in place of the usual Halloween celebration. Martineau rationalized the decision by arguing that “moving the parade outside of the school day provides families the opportunity to participate in a manner that is most comfortable for them.” Martineau added that “12% of elementary school students did not participate in last year’s parade for a variety of reasons, including being scared of costumes, being anxious about marching in a parade or Halloween not aligning with the family’s beliefs.”
Almost immediately, parents within the district protested the decision, as well as Martineau’s reasoning for cancelling the parade. According to WCVB, many parents complained that “canceling school traditions because a small group of people don't feel comfortable ruins it for the majority.”
Chris McClellan, a parent in the district, added that “you can join in or not join in. If you don't like it, you don't do it.” The parental complaints seem to have gotten through, as Martineau abruptly reversed course and reinstated the Halloween festivities, with the addendum that “there will be alternatives for students who don’t want to participate.”
Evidently, nothing spooks school administrators into changing their minds like parental outrage over the cancellation of a beloved holiday.