Seven elementary schools in Michigan are doing away with Halloween and Valentine’s Day celebrations, and the reasons have nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The East Lansing Public School district sent a letter to parents at the elementary schools informing them the holidays no longer will be observed due to equity and inclusion concerns.
Several reasons were listed as to why Halloween will not be celebrated, including how some families do not feel comfortable with their children participating in the festivities.
“We have young children who become overwhelmed and sometimes frightened of the costumes and others who come to school with no costume at all,” the school district said in the letter obtained by WLNS. “Each year, we also have families who either keep their children home or pick them up early from school on Halloween day.”
Instead of celebrating the holidays in normal customs, the school will find non-traditional ways. For instance, a class could measure a pumpkin as they learn about circumferences, assistant superintendent Glenn Mitcham told the Lansing State Journal.
As for Valentine’s Day, the holiday can bring “unintended consequences,” the school district said in its letter. The exchange of valentines can often lead to drama or teasing, the district said.
“While some students bring valentines to exchange, others do not,” the letter stated. “Some families and students do not feel comfortable with the idea of boys and girls exchanging valentines or participating in a celebration that focuses on ‘love.’”
The district noted there would be disappointment with the change but said it would offer “alternative days” during the school year to provide fun for students.
Jessy Gregg, the mayor of East Lansing, said the city is not canceling any holidays. But she suggested some seasonal events that feature religious traditions could be made more welcoming.