A Seattle elementary canceled their annual Pumpkin parade over equity concerns. The school felt that the parade “marginalizes students of color” who don’t celebrate the holiday.
The decision was made by the Racial Equity team at Benjamin Franklin Day school. The school says it discussed removing the parade for the past five years and went ahead with the decision in September of this year. The school’s spokesperson told KTTH that other schools in the area were also canceling their festivities.
Benjamin Franklin Day elementary school is located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and is known for hosting Halloween celebrations.
Parents were informed of the school’s decision in a newsletter sent out on October 8, telling them not to send their children to school wearing costumes. They reasoned that some kids could not afford costumes, and the noise levels may be disturbing to some students.
David Malkin, a parent of a 7-year-old, said that the parent’s input was not included in the decision. He noted that he was Asian and said about the equity team, “I’m sure they don’t want to hear from anyone of any race or ethnicity that doesn’t really want to go along with them in lockstep.”
A Seattle public school spokesperson said in a statement to KTTH, “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.”
The students being referred to are African-American males. The racial equity team believes a disproportionate number of students of color, especially black males, do not celebrate Halloween.
School principal Stanley Jaskot told Fox News, “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.”
According to The New York Post, in place of the parade, the school will provide inclusive fall events like “thematic units of study about the fall” and reviewing “autumnal artwork.”
Malkin told Jason Rantz of KKTH, “I don’t see any way in which this actually addresses any inequities to the extent that there are any inequities. You know, this just seems like grandstanding on behalf of the principal and the staff who are predominantly white.”
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