A Pennsylvania school district is canceling its annual Halloween parades at its elementary schools over safety and inclusivity concerns.
The Montgomery County school district has been holding these parades for more than 50 years – without incident.
However, school administrators sent out letters to families at all six of its elementary schools last week saying the parades will not happen this year.
“Security was a big concern,” said school spokesperson Amy Buckman. “Just the thought of having an entire school population of young children in a field surrounded by adults that we couldn’t possibly screen was worrisome.”
Those “adults” — by the way — are called parents.
The other issue was inclusivity.
“Our district prides itself on providing a sense of belonging to every student. And we have numerous students who for religious or cultural reasons do not celebrate Halloween,” Buckman said.
Some parents are upset over the decision.
“They’re great. They’re fun and it’s the anticipation… Everybody talks about the costumes that they’re going to wear,” Linda Joseph, a parent in the school district, told television station WPVI.
“I feel like it’s just crossing the line and where does it end? So, next people are going to be offended by pumpkins? So we’re going to take away pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns or pumpkin carving?” asked Joseph.
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“When my children were in elementary school, the Halloween parades were always one of the highlights of their year. We never considered them dangerous and divisive,” another mom wrote on social media.
“We’re nervous that this is kind of like a gateway to what’s next,” Christina Nicolosi, a mother of four, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “What’s the next thing that we’re going to be taking away from the kids? Is Valentine’s Day on the chopping block next?”