SEATTLE (CBS SEATTLE) — A Seattle school has banned students from celebrating a new holiday this year: Halloween.
Lafayette Elementary School has decided to not allow students to dress up in costume for Halloween this year. And there is still some discrepancy between parents and the administration as to why the ban has been implemented this fall.
The decision was first reported by the district (Seattle Public Schools) as being a preventative measure in the event that Halloween costumes could offend and upset students who come from other cultures. Dozens of parents complained to the school over the measure demanding a detailed explanation.
Lafayette’s principal, Shauna Heath, e-mailed media outlets, including The West Seattle Blog, arguing the decision was made because of the limited instructional time that falls on Halloween this year. Seattle Public Schools observe a half-day of instruction on Wednesday, October 31.
“This decision was made by the entire staff after two deep and detailed discussions. The initial conversation was initiated by staff members who suggested that since Halloween falls this year on a half day of school, we not allow costumes. It takes students a while to change into their costumes, and students are distracted taking away from the already limited instructional time.
“The Lafayette Staff met again on Monday, revisiting and recommitting to their decision of no costumes so that we can focus on academics during the limited time we have available. The staff has committed to continuing the conversation throughout the year before deciding on what we will do in the future about Halloween celebrations.”
“I was just really sad and I had to fight back tears,” fourth-grader Leilani Nitkey told KCPQ-TV.
CBS affiliate KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reports the school announced it will be hosting a “Harvest Party” in lieu of a costume party.
One parent told The Seattle Time that earlier in the week a school vice principal told him the costumes were banned because observing Halloween might be offensive to some students, but the school said that wasn’t the case.
Some parents say that although Halloween has its roots as a religious observance, it’s now a secular holiday that shouldn’t be considered offensive.
“It seems like another one of those things where kids are no longer allowed to be kids,” parent Hart Rusen told KCPQ.
However, the root of the ban is still up for debate in the township.