Should public schools celebrate Halloween?

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Jane Eberle (not verified)

I agree with Rhonda. When I

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I agree with Rhonda. When I was teaching elementary school, some of the students would remark that they preferred Halloween to Christmas because they viewed it as "their day" without all the family pressures of other holidays. They enjoyed being kids. If you are working hard on other days, why not a day of celebration; it doesn't have to be elaborate, but it can foster such a sense of ownership in the class. By suggesting alternatives to dressing up in costume, students who cannot afford costumes can take part as well. (We dressed as one large snake one year; everyone in the class was a California raisin another, one of the Lollipop kids - I was Dorothy - another.) Halloween has become such a commercial event, and kids often can't go door to door for safety reasons that it is nice to have a controlled event with simple plans that everyone can enjoy. Students who are allowed to be in on decision making and planning when appropriate are more likely to be eager participants in events in which they don't really have a say. Students whose parents do not wish them to participate can be accommodated in a variety of ways.
Anne Kiehle (not verified)

As a former principal of a

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As a former principal of a large elementary school, Halloween was a fun day enjoyed by all (teachers, students and parents). My concern today is based on some parents telling me it that Halloween is the only "religious" holiday they celebrate. They were Wiccans. In some circles it is considered a religious holiday like Christmas and Christians are not allowed to celebrate that in the schools. Public school personnel need to be aware and sensitive to the diversity in our ever changing culture.
Robin Raphael (not verified)

"...An alternative to the

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"...An alternative to the traditional celebration, such as a seasonal festival"??? Why do we need "alternative celebrations"? We can't possibly think that we are either creating or enhancing home- or faith-based observances, by bringing them into the schools to the degree that they often eclipse the curriculum for a day (or more!). How about celebrating the miracles of science, the magic of math, the lofty endeavors of the human spirit?
Chris Lehmann (not verified)

While I agree that Halloween

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While I agree that Halloween and such should not interfere with the instructional program, I think that moments like that are wonderful ways to build community and remind people that we can have fun as we learn. Why not, if the schedule permits, read some Edgar Allen Poe in an English class the last week of October? Why not encourage kids to wear (respectful, tasteful) costumes and show a more playful side? We're having "Spooky Week" here, and we're culminating with a Halloween dance. The marking period ends next week, the kids have been working hard... it's a great chance for them to have some fun as a community, and as teachers and administrators, it's a great chance for us to see them let their personalities out more than they might in a classroom environment.
Laurie Seigel (not verified)

Though knowledge of other's

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Though knowledge of other's traditions and beliefs is crucial to understanding and tolerance of each other, I do not believe that having a party for each celebration is needed. There are too many distractions in a school day and I think that the parades and parties are just one more.
Jordan (not verified)

Please give me a break! Why

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Please give me a break! Why can't some 6-10 year olds have something fun to look forward to at school. We already take all of the fun out of school for many students with Open Court Reading, Prescription Math, Accelerated Reading, etc. Let kids be kids! If no one has to stand and place their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance then they certainly do not have to participate in a holiday celebration. If parents choose to keep them home, ok. They will only get really crabby becuasue it will cost them day care $$, which most of the families see is the main value for school in the early years.
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