Halloween festivities will be banned at one school, while rest of the district celebrates.
Galewood Early Elementary School recently changed its policies, banning all Halloween festivities. Principal Steve Chartier outlined the “changes to the way Halloween is being recognized this school year” in an email sent to parents, which is receiving some backlash. Citing “a need to protect educational time,” on October 31, which is a half-day, Chartier wrote that “Classroom-based Halloween-themed instructional centers will be implemented via staff discretion, but no classroom parties will be held, no costumes will be allowed and no Halloween parade will take place…Students and staff should dress in orange and black (‘Halloween “colors’).” He added, the “new policy at Galewood includes specifics that were mutually determined via the Galewood teaching staff.”
“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” parent Mike Hayes said. “I was super upset because my son had such a good time [at the Halloween party] last year. They’re taking away all the fun stuff that allows kids to be kids.”
Morgan Pouch, whose son Lyric, 5, attends kindergarten at the elementary school, said the policy doesn’t extend to the district’s other elementary schools and that parties are still scheduled to take place elsewhere. This Halloween she said she plans to keep Lyric home and take him to one of the others, Parkview Elementary, to watch his brother in that school’s costume parade.
“It’s very unfair,” Pouch said. “He dressed up like a vampire last year, and really enjoyed dressing up in class. He was looking forward to it again this year and cried when I told him he couldn’t. Kids remember Halloween at school. I think it’s important to them.”
“[It] just said some council decided to take it away, it wasn’t even the PTA. We weren’t even notified or had a vote to get it taken away,” parent Destiny Salazar said. “I know my kids are really upset and hurt, and I know a lot of other parents are upset.”
Eric Frederick, whose child attends Galewood, emailed the district’s Board of Education and Stewart. “I wanted to see it reconsidered,” Frederick said. He added, Frederick the policy was “unfairly implemented” and said, “I understand decisions like that aren’t made lightly. What doesn’t make sense is that it’s not a district-wide policy. The other schools are going forward with Halloween celebrations.”
Charlotte Public Schools Superintendent Mandy Stewart explained that the concerns parents have voiced have “prompted school officials to re-examine how Halloween will be celebrated at the school.” She sent an email stating, “Galewood’s Halloween policy helped us identify the need for consistency in practices across our elementary schools. Our building principals and teacher leadership teams will have ongoing conversations to make sure that similar events are more closely aligned in the future. To that end, the teams are working out modified details specific to Halloween that will better align Galewood’s activities with those of the other elementary buildings. Once our teams have worked out the details, Mr. Chartier will update parents. As you can imagine, organizing activities that involve so many young students and parents has to be done well. We may not always get it right, and that is why it is so critical to keep these channels of communication open with parents.”