Thames Valley District school board trustee candidate wants to bring Halloween back to London-area schools
(QMI Agency file photo)
It’s a ghoulish reality one school board trustee candidate wants to remedy.
No matter how innocent — ghost, goblin, cat, or pumpkin — costumes are banned at many area schools on Halloween. Instead, kids take part in “orange and black day” and wear those two colours to mark the day.
“Some parents feel like it’s political correctness run amok,” said Shawn Lewis, who is running for trustee on the Thames Valley District school board. “We need to make sure our policies are consistent, reasonable and best represent the communities we serve.”
Celebrations like Halloween are at the discretion of the principal.
Asked about Halloween costumes, the board issued an e-mail statement: “Halloween is not banned in Thames Valley schools and there is no TVDSB policy regulating Halloween. Student safety is a key priority and principals work closely with school councils and their school community to determine how they may wish to celebrate Halloween,” senior administrators wrote. “Parents are discouraged from sending . . . children to school in Halloween costumes with masks and items such as toy guns or swords that could present as safety concerns.”
Often, principals hold orange-and-black day because they don’t want to deal with the minefield of possible complaints, Lewis said.
If elected, Lewis wants to draft a board-wide policy so principals don’t have to make the ultimate decision and have guidelines.
The issue strikes a nerve — of the more than 1,000 voters on an lfpress.com poll, 96% thought kids should be allowed to wear costumes to school.
At London District Catholic school board, there’s no policy for or against Halloween, a spokesperson said: “Most schools also have black-and-orange days.”
There are many reasons principals ban costumes, Lewis has heard, including cost, younger children being scared, inappropriate outfits and costumes that include toy weapons.
Lewis is running for trustee in wards 1, 11, 12, and 14, which takes in the city’s southeast.
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WHAT THEY SAID
Comments from our Facebook page:
“We always dressed up as kids. I was super disappointed to hear my boys wouldn’t be allowed to . . . we were asked not to send any candy . . . due to it being an ‘unhealthy food choice.’ ”
“Our elementary school always allowed the kids to dress up appropriately every year . . . depends on the school.”
“This is ridiculous. . . . (Those) who don’t celebrate Halloween don’t need to participate, but don’t wreck it for those who do.”
“Why can’t kids just be kids? There is too much bubble wrapping going on!!”
Should schools allow students to wear costumes on Halloween?