WHAT IS IT about edu-crats, school boards and lawyers when it comes to kids and the celebration of holidays? The policing of any kind of religious references in schools during the Christmas season - oops, I meant to say "holiday season"- gets worse every year.
Come December, so-called school leaders fall under a "holidaze." The administrators concoct winter-holidays celebrations and quotas are rebuilt on politically correct thought patterns.
They must feel that they need to sharpen their games by doing the same things in a prelim match against Halloween. Orlando Taylor, the principal of Inglewood Elementary School, in the North Penn School District, and other administrators in the district have issued letters and statements that greatly curtail Halloween in their schools.
This edu-crat seemed to be particularly concerned about the religious overtones of Halloween. Does this guy have the right holiday? Usually, the complaint about Halloween comes from those who think that Halloween has pagan overtones.
This contradiction doesn't really matter. These edu-crats are so afraid of lawyers and a few big mouths of easily offended parents that they want to make no judgments but want to squeeze the life out of some of our nicest traditions.
In the North Penn district, they seem to be particularly concerned about the traditional Halloween parade. Have you ever been at one of these with your kids? They are a lovely bonding tradition for kids and parents. A North Penn school board member called my show and told me that they still allowed the parade after school. Can you imagine the inconvenience around having to exile the parade to after school?
The school board member also told me that one of the reasons for the after-school exiling was the concern that some kids with peanut allergies might eat or come into contact with something peanut-based during the parade and related events. He told me that they had made a conscious decision to avoid being sued so that they could devote more money to instruction in the schools. With this type of thinking, I am sure that many North Penn parents would gladly foot the bill for their school leaders and school-board members to get some instruction in common sense.
Of course, no one wants to see any child have a major health issue, but the numbers of kids that have a peanut allergy are relatively small. The school could monitor them during a parade or party or, if their parents wish, remove them from a parade.
This type of complication is indicative of how edu-crats are messing up some of our great childhood traditions. Some school districts have dropped the school Halloween parades and parties because some kids can't afford a costume. My solution would be to have people donate for kids who can't afford a costume. I know that bake sales are probably banned, but are car washes?
What is happening here is very similar to the zero-tolerance position that edu-crats take on any number of issues that show them to be silly and petty. Things like suspending elementary kids for sexual harassment, or for shaping their hands or Play-Doh into guns, or writing essays saying that God is their hero.
These are administrators who don't use their powers of discretion (and common sense) on school policies. They take the easy way out and try to punt every decision. Sadly, they end up shanking the punts, and kids and the parents are the ones who get penalized.
Of course, even the punting becomes difficult to do. After Principal Taylor unleashed a firestorm because of his letter to parents alerting them to religious issues around Halloween parades and parties, Christine Liberaski, the North Penn School District manager of engagement (what the heck is that?), corrected him by saying, "North Penn School District's guidelines refer to classroom instruction, not parties, which can still be held, but will no longer be district-wide."
As I said, these complications happen when edu-crats start to micromanage simple, joyful events. How can you be a school leader when leadership is sorely lacking?
The key is to realize that these are not just isolated incidents. About a year ago, my listeners and I were outraged over a Rhode Island school district that banned father-daughter dances because of a complaint from a mom whose daughter was upset because her father had left the family. These dances are a sweet tradition and they should be preserved.
These cases are part of the battleground pitting our traditions like Halloween parades, Christmas concerts, the exchange of Valentine's Day cards, bake sales and a hundred other school-sponsored events against a few objecting parents or edu-crats.
Those who argue for more diversity insist that we greatly limit or ban all these traditions. After all, they say, it's the only way to be more inclusive. This anthem must be challenged at every turn.
So let's enjoy Halloween parades, kids trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving. Thanksgiving is not too far away, and Christmas will soon be on us. Let's not let the holiday police spoil them.