Halloween canceled by Lansdale elementary school principal
Orlando Taylor might as well have handed out pennies on Halloween night.
The principal of Inglewood Elementary School in Montgomery County sent a letter to parents Tuesday that announced the cancelation of school-sponsored Halloween activities – parties, parades, costume dress-downs – because the holiday’s supposed religious overtones might offend some students.
“Some holidays, like Halloween, that some see as secular, are viewed by others as having religious overtones,” Taylor wrote in the letter obtained by Metro. “The district must always be mindful of the sensitivity of all the members of the community with regard to holidays and celebrations of a religious, cultural or secular nature.”
But then Wednesday, the North Penn School District, which governs the Lansdale-based school, posted a statement on its website claiming the principal went too far.
“The. … letter addressing Halloween is not an accurate representation of the school district’s administrative regulation,” the statement said.
However, the district-wide religious and cultural holiday policy, set in motion last Spring, still restricts holiday or cultural celebrations.
So this year students will not receive a half-day in the district’s K-6 schools; kids won’t parade around the block in their costumes; no post-parade party with games and book readings.
Changes to the policy allow Halloween parades to be held before or after school on the holiday. And the schools have designated other days for fall or Halloween-related activities.
Jenn Brigidi, who has a 10-year-old daughter and the 8-year-old boy at North Wales, said this is a result of a threatened lawsuit.
“The school board caved to one party that threatened litigation, and rather than standing up or asking the public for which they work for – what is your opinion, how do you think we should proceed – they merely caved into the view that are telling the majority what to do,” Brigidi said.
“And for whatever reason it upset somebody,” she continued. “From what I understand there were kids who had to go to the principal’s office and that’s where they had to sit while the parade was occurring because their parent’s decided to speak up and said their kids need to be baby sat while the parade is going on.”
School district spokeswoman Madeline Bergman said “There hasn’t been any litigation.”
“There can be religious undertones to holidays,” Brigidi said. “I think that religions have taken the time to find a way to bond to holidays.”
But Halloween, she said, is a “community tradition.”
“Regardless,” Jenn said, “They took the holiday away from the kids.”
Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan
Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly
Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia