An elementary school in Seattle canceled its Halloween parade this year because it “marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday.”
The decision to cancel the Pumpkin Parade, where students have the opportunity to dress up in costumes, came from the Racial Equity Team at Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary School after five years of discussion, Fox News reports.
“There are numerous community and neighborhood events where students and families who wish to can celebrate Halloween,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday. Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place.”
“In alliance with SPS’s unwavering commitment to students of color, specifically African American males, the staff is committed to supplanting the Pumpkin Parade with more inclusive and educational opportunities during the school day,” the statement continued.
The school’s principal, Stanley Jaskot, confirmed the cancellation.
“Halloween is a very complex issue for schools. Yes, I agree this event marginalized our students of color. Several of our students historically opted for an alternate activity in the library while the pumpkin parade took place. This was an isolating situation and not consistent with our values of being an inclusive and safe place for all our students – especially students of color and those with a sensitivity to all the noise and excitement of the parade,” Jaskot said.
Instead of dressing up in costumes, this year students will partake in fall events like “thematic units of study about the fall” and reviewing “autumnal artwork,” a newsletter to parents said.