The Elementary Principal Team of East Lansing Public Schools notified families recently that elementary schools in the district will no longer celebrate Halloween or Valentine’s Day.
“The celebration of Halloween and Valentine’s Day are two traditions that have given us pause for some time, especially as we grow in our understanding of equity and inclusion and look closely at the unintended consequences of celebrating these days in school,” the administration team stated in a letter to families.
“We also have families who do not celebrate or feel comfortable with their children participating in Halloween festivities,” they wrote.
Some parents decline to send their children to school that day or pick their children up early before the parties and parades.
The letter also stated that some children become overwhelmed and frightened by the costumes, while others find it difficult to concentrate in class on Halloween given the distractions.
“Valentine’s Day is another day in which school parties and the exchange of valentine cards leads to unintended consequences,” the letter continued.
The elementary school principals said that some students participate in exchanging cards while others don’t. Some families feel uncomfortable with a holiday celebrating “love” or boys and girls exchanging valentines, said the administrative team.
“While this may be a disappointment and/or adjustment for some of our students/families at first, we promise to continue to offer alternative days throughout the school year that are full of fun and learning, for everyone,” the team wrote in the letter.
When asked for comment, ELPS Director of Equity and Social Justice Klaudia Burton told ELi, “[W]e fully support the decision made by the building leaders and also their staff members, in recognizing our district goals in trying to strive for an equitable and inclusive environment for all students and families.”
“While school buildings may not celebrate these holidays in a manner that has been familiar and deemed tradition in the district, our educators are committed to providing many opportunities for students to learn and have fun throughout the year that will be meaningful moving forward,” said Burton.
Although not mentioned in the letter, both Halloween and Valentine’s Day have their origins in ancient religions and later became Christian holidays.
City Pulse first reported on this announcement.