Apparently the Grinch has moved on to Halloween as his most-hated holiday. Or at least that must have been how kids at West Seattle’s Lafayette Elementary School felt when administrators made the decision to ban Halloween costumes this year because the tradition would "take away from valuable learning time." Valuable learning time?! Seriously, that's what they said?! The reason is so stereotypically strict schoolmarm-ish, I can't even imagine a real live teacher or principal saying those words with a straight face -- not in this day and age, anyway. Maybe in 1830s England, when kids were routinely whipped and forced to eat gruel. (Assuming Charles Dickens painted an accurate picture of that time and place.)
Anyway, I'm not the only one who finds the school's explanation a bit ... odd. Parents are perplexed, too -- not to mention peeved. (We all know how much fun devastated and disappointed kids can be.) And moms and dads aren't buying that valuable learning time crap, either.
Instead, some parents suspect the usual festivities were cancelled in an overzealous attempt to avoid any potential accusations of being "politically incorrect." But Teresa Wippel, spokesperson for the school, insists the motivation for the ban was purely academic:
"That discussion did come up ... that we have to be sensitive to the fact that there are kids from different cultures, different religions [who are offended by Halloween], but that wasn't the reason for making that decision."
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Sure, whatever you say. Like a couple of hours of "valuable learning time" are really gonna make or break a kid's future. Never mind the social and cultural lessons little ones learn from the shared experience of stomping around a schoolyard in an unwieldy costume with a whole bunch of other kids while a crowd of parents snaps pics and waves. It's practically a study in anthropology!
Honestly, if this happened at my kids' school, I think I'd get as many parents and kids together as I could to stage a costumed sit-in on school grounds. Taking away a tradition like Halloween is pointless. And if they do, the only thing kids are going to learn during that "valuable time" is how to actively resent authority.
Which is an important life skill nowadays, but still.
What would you do if your kid's school banned Halloween costumes?
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