A Seattle elementary school canceled its annual Halloween parade this year over concerns that it would “marginalize students of color who do not celebrate the holiday.”
Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary School said its “Racial Equity Team” determined that the annual Halloween parade is not inclusive enough since many minority students do not celebrate the holiday.
“Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday,” a Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman said in a statement, according to reporter Jason Rantz.
“Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place,” Rantz continued. “There are numerous community and neighborhood events where students and families who wish to can celebrate Halloween.”
As part of the decision to cancel the parade, school officials also informed parents that students would not be allowed to wear Halloween costumes to school to avoid making minority students “uncomfortable.”
The school noted that its decision to cancel the parade only has to do with “protecting” students of color, and that the pandemic had nothing to do with it.
“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 school added.
Benjamin Franklin Day’s principal, Stanley Jaskot, claimed Halloween is a “complicated” holiday for schools all over the country.
“Yes, I agree this event marginalized our students of color,” he said.
“Several of our students historically opted for an alternate activity in the library while the pumpkin parade took place,” he added. “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.”