No Halloween at school in Lansdale

The principal at Inglewood Elementary School in Lansdale said he had banned the Halloween parade and other Halloween celebrations. He cited the rules against endorsement of religion.
The principal at Inglewood Elementary School in Lansdale said he had banned the Halloween parade and other Halloween celebrations. He cited the rules against endorsement of religion. (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 11, 2013

Halloween has been called off at one Montgomery County school.

Why, though, is up for debate.

In a letter to parents Tuesday, Inglewood Elementary School principal Orlando Taylor said he canceled parades and parties to comply with district policy. Quoting district regulations, he wrote that holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving are viewed by some to have "religious overtones." And the Constitution, he wrote, bars the endorsement of religion in schools.

But after some parents at the Lansdale school complained, North Penn School District officials said Taylor had missed the point. In a statement Wednesday, the district said that while it does not promote religion, it does aim to "advance students' knowledge and appreciation of the roles that religious and cultural heritage have played in" the development of society.

That means classroom parties are OK.

Officials wrote that the district does limit schoolwide events such as parades to before or after the school day to "preserve the greatest amount of instructional time possible for students."

Neither Taylor nor North Penn spokeswoman Christine Liberaski returned requests for comment.

They are not the first school officials to see internal confusion over holidays gain outside attention.

One school in Port Colbourne, Ontario, is replacing Halloween this year with a "spirit day," inviting students to dress in orange and black. Some parents, according to local news reports, plan to protest Oct. 31 by holding a costume parade with their children outside.

Last year in Skokie, Ill., district officials canned the holiday, citing religious and economic concerns, saying some students could not afford costumes and others objected for cultural reasons.

While school-day celebrations have been called off at Inglewood, district officials noted that a fall festival is scheduled for Oct. 18. Costumes are welcome.


tnadolny@phillynews.com

610-313-8205

@TriciaNadolny

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