An Illinois school district is taking fire from parents and media because the district is canceling Halloween celebrations. They cite their reasons as being related to inequalities between children who can’t afford to buy a costume and potential religious and cultural belief conflicts. Parents are up in arms because the school district has mad this decision with no parental input.
You might be surprised to know that I am not in favor of canceling Halloween celebrations even though I have plenty of opinions on Halloween. I am not going to get into my opinions on whether to do Halloween or not. You can listen a podcast episode on that subject or read my opinions and debate that topic in other blog posts about Halloween.
I am not surprised by this school district canceling Halloween celebrations because I expect this from a public school system. However I do not like it one bit. This decision strikes at the heart of a much larger issue. The courts have repeatedly upheld the position that parents forfeit their rights to make decisions regarding education when they drop their kids off at the front door of the school. While Meyer-Pierce has stood the test of time since the 1920’s in support of parent rights, there has been a familiar tone coming out of court decisions in recent decades that state that parent’s rights “do not extend beyond the threshold of the school door” (PDF). This line of thinking can be summed up by basically saying that once you add your child to a larger community the appointent leaders of that community have the right to make and enforce rules that contribute to the community at large and are not required by law to take into account every single parent’s opinion. It’s not practical to please all parents so they are forced to do their best and you are stuck decisions based on whatever values and priorities the administration members happen to possess.
The school systems are going to do what they deem best for the group. Like it or not many schools will continue to remove activities that point out inequalities and unfairness in the name of the greater good. Look at an article from a couple of years ago published in Sports Illustrated touting the defunding of football because only one sex can play the game. This is all a slow fade aimed at feeding the beast of political correctness that haunts our culture. Don’t be surprised to see Christmas parties struck from the list of approved activities in the near future. My opposition to banning Halloween parties is not because I fear Christmas parties will be next. I am actually surprised Christmas parties didn’t go first. What I am opposed to is a select few government bureaucrats making decisions that should be individual and personal. If you don’t want to “do Halloween” because your family has religious beliefs against it then keep your kids home from school on October 31st.
Do you agree with this school district’s decision?