An elementary school at Seattle Public School canceled its Halloween parade this month, saying the event has historically marginalized students of color who don’t celebrate the holiday.
SPS officials said they have not received any complaints from families about the costume parade at BF Day Elementary School in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. It is unclear which specific students were involved, why they did not want to participate, or the details of the issues that led to the cancellation of the parade.
School district officials and principal Stanley Jascott declined to answer questions about the cancellation. The district said in an emailed statement that some students had “requested to be isolated on campus during the incident.”
The statement cited the district’s “unwavering commitment to students of color” and announced that it was “committed to replacing the Pumpkin Parade with more inclusive and educational opportunities during the school day.”
The statement said the cancellation is not tied to the coronavirus pandemic. for at least five years, There has been discussion about the parade, and the school’s Race and Equity team raised the issue again last month.
SPS officials said in the statement that along with staff input, the Race and Equity team recommended the cancellation of the parade. The Seattle Education Association said it was not involved in the decision.
“Halloween celebrations are becoming less common in schools in SPS and surrounding districts,” the statement said. “There are many community and neighborhood events where students and families can celebrate Halloween.”
Lisa Rivera-Smith, a member of the Seattle school board that represents the area the school is in, said she was not aware of the issues the parade causes for students of color. Although she hasn’t received any messages or calls from constituents about it, Rivera-Smith said she can see how some students may not have the resources or can’t afford to buy a Halloween costume and how ” can be divisive.”
“It’s one thing to be responsive and it’s another to be reactionary,” Rivera-Smith said. “It seems the school is being responsive. I appreciate it [Race and Equity Team] Taking it forward and taking steps to do what they liked best.”
According to data for the 2020-21 school year, BF Day Elementary School has a majority white student population of approximately 63%. About 8% of students are Hispanic or Latino, about 6% are Black or African American, and about 7% are Asian. Data shows that approximately 16% of students are of two or more races.
The primary school parent teacher student union could not immediately be reached for comment.