JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Seattle school cancels Halloween over ‘equity,’ says Black kids don’t celebrate

Oct 12, 2021, 6:00 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2021, 12:34 pm
Halloween...
(Getty image + KTTH listener submission)
(Getty image + KTTH listener submission)

A Seattle elementary school canceled Halloween activities over concerns about student equity and inclusion. Specifically, Seattle Public Schools says Black males do not celebrate and, more generally, students of color feel marginalized by the holiday. One parent, however, thinks this is an “exercise in affluent white vanity that is wokeism.”

Benjamin Franklin Day Elementary (B.F. Day) in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood typically hosts Halloween festivities each year. They include a “Pumpkin Parade” where students wear costumes if they choose. But the school administration changed its focus to “foundational beliefs around equity for our students and families,” and, consequently, they’re canceling Halloween.

This year the only thing spooky and creepy is the school’s commitment to wokeness. What could be more equitable than having strangers give you free candy? Not to the school’s Racial Equity Team that decided with staff to gut Halloween.

B.F. Day cancels Halloween

The school delivered the ghoulish news in an Oct. 8 newsletter to parents.

“As a school with foundational beliefs around equity for our students and families, we are moving away from our traditional ‘Pumpkin Parade’ event and requesting that students do not come to school in costumes,” the newsletter reads.

Even though the news will disappoint students, the newsletter says, the decision is meant to show respect for all B.F. Day students.

Halloween events create a situation where some students must be excluded for their beliefs, financial status, or life experience. Costume parties often become an uncomfortable event for many children, and they distract students and staff from learning. Large events create changes in schedules with loud noise levels and crowds. Some students experience over stimulation, while others must deal with complex feelings of exclusion. It’s uncomfortable and upsetting for kids.

Nothing says equity quite like making every student miss out on the fun because some administrator invented a scenario where students feel excluded. And we wouldn’t want to distract students from learning — except, of course, on National Walkout Day when students were allowed to ditch learning to form a giant peace sign in a political protest on gun violence.

While their friends at other schools will dress up as the Mandalorian, Cruella, Jason Rantz, or Wonder Woman, B.F. Day students will still get to celebrate something.

Instead, students will partake in inclusive fall events like “thematic units of study about the fall.” I’m not making that up. It’s the lead event in the newsletter. They may also review “autumnal artwork” while “sharing all the cozy feelings of the season.”

The newsletter ends the news by thanking the parents for their support, though they played no role in the decision. The school didn’t even consult them. It then pitches parents to join a Racial Equity Committee, which pushed the decision to cut Halloween festivities.

Asian parent calls out ‘exercise in affluent white vanity that is wokeism’

David Malkin’s 7-year-old son is enrolled at B.F. Day. He sees this as yet another “exercise in affluent white vanity that is wokeism” that is pursued in his name.

“I don’t see any way in which this actually addresses any inequities to the extent that there are any inequities,” Malkin tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “You know, this just seems like grandstanding on behalf of the principal and the staff who are predominantly white.”

Malkin, who is Asian, sees this as another move by white progressives that don’t consider what he and others believe. He notes that parents weren’t involved in the decision.

“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,” he said.

He hasn’t yet told his son about the decision to ban Halloween. Malkin says Halloween is his son’s favorite holiday, and he likely won’t understand why the decision was made. Right now, he says he’s waiting to see how other parents react.

“I hate to see these kinds of things slowly be whittled away and destroyed or being done away with because someone has some, you know, theory in their head that somehow this is exclusionary when, again, it’s quite the opposite,” he said.

The district disagrees. They’re defending the move.

Racial Equity Team killed Halloween

According to a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson, the decision came from the school’s Racial Equity Team after years of discussion.

“At B.F. Day Elementary, there have been discussions about the school’s Pumpkin Parade every year for at least the past five years. The school Racial Equity Team brought the topic up again in September and the members (with staff input) made the recommendation listed in the newsletter post,” the spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

The spokesperson says other Seattle schools have also canceled Halloween festivities recently. She claims Black students, particularly males, do not celebrate the secular holiday. The decision was meant to protect them from feeling marginalized.

“Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday,” the spokesperson claimed. “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 district notes COVID played no role in this decision.

The excuses are utter nonsense

It’s unnecessary to cancel Halloween. None of the excuses the school offered make much sense, and it appears they did little even to try to salvage Halloween.

Approximately 15% of the school is considered low-income, according to the nonprofit GreatSchools. Couldn’t the school address the issue effectively? Assuming low-income students don’t celebrate Halloween as administrators seem to believe, couldn’t there be costume-making activities? Perhaps request costumes be donated or maybe use donations to buy some costumes for the kids in need? What about using face paint for students for Halloween designs?

I can’t get over this absurd notion that Black students, or students of color more generally, don’t celebrate Halloween. They can’t actually believe that. It sounds like an excuse a wealthy woke white lady would give after assuming Black families couldn’t afford the expensive, gender-neutral costume she forced her son to wear. Canceling Halloween and placing a BLM lawn sign on their perfectly manicured lawn is about all she’s done to advance the cause she pretends to be passionate about.

The celebrations only marginalize students of color who don’t celebrate Halloween? Are white students who don’t celebrate able to cope better, or do all white families enjoy the free candy and costumes?

You could spend days picking apart the excuses. But the bottom line is the school and district don’t think Black kids can afford costumes and that there might be some cultural aversion to Halloween. It’s a racist belief but one they hold in the name of equity. Meanwhile, all the school is doing is making every student equally miserable.

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (H.D. Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: Seattle school cancels Halloween over ‘equity,’ says Black kids don’t celebrate