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 October 27, 2023

NJ school district cancels Halloween over diversity and inclusion concerns

A New Jersey school district has banned Halloween activities over concerns about diversity, equity and inclusion.

The South Orange and Maplewood school district sent a letter to parents earlier this month to inform parents that the activities would not be celebrated this year.

The letter

Superintendent Dr. Ronald G. Taylor said in the letter that the decision to cancel Halloween “may make some uncomfortable and elicit some challenges across our community.”

“However, in the end, I feel these recommendations align with SOMSD’s commitment to building equity, fostering inclusion, and building a sense of belonging throughout our schools,” the letter reads.

The response

"Gov. Phil Murphy was not one of those who were thrilled with the new policy," New York's NBC 4 reported.

He wrote on social media "Seriously? We can't let kids celebrate Halloween? Give me a break."

Parents speak out

"Leslie Springer, a mom of three South Orange-Maplewood students, said that she understands the concern, but she has mixed feelings about the policy because she has fond memories of school Halloween traditions," News 12 New Jersey reported.

"As a parent, I really enjoyed, at the elementary school level, the kids would do a parade, and we would get to see them in costumes. So, that was really fun,” she says.

The issue of diversity concerns leading to schools canceling Halloween has started to grow in recent years. Some schools have opted instead to offer a long list of which costumes are acceptable, banning toy weapons, witches (to keep from offending those who practice Wicca) or wearing costumes misappropriating other cultures.

The long tradition of costumes and candy celebrated by many students in schools is now increasingly at risk of being canceled because someone might get offended. The concern exists as schools also face gender issues related to students who choose another gender, including controversies over pronouns, sports and restrooms.

Schools afraid of lawsuits or controversy are now choosing to avoid any celebration, instead taking the safe option of doing nothing in response to the culture's emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion in 2023.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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