SILVER SPRING(WUSA9) - There's some Halloween brouhaha at a Montgomery County Elementary school, where the principal made the decision to cancel Halloween activities.
This decision did not go over well with many kids or their parents, who decided to take matters into their own hands.
Each year, students at Cloverly Elementary School dress up, eat candy and have a spooky parade around the classroom. But this year, the principal, Dr. Melissa Brunson, scrapped it all.
School officials say it’s because many kids aren’t participating anymore. They say about 41 kids – or 10% of the school--decline to participate in the festivities.
“Dr. Brunson has been telling us that some of the reasons are for safety, and some kids at our school don’t celebrate Halloween and it’s disrespectful to them,” says fifth-grader Rhys Edwards.
“I believe it has to do with religion, there’s a separation of church and state in our country and I’m fine with that, everyone goes and celebrates what they want to celebrate. Peace be with you,” says Angela Edwards, Rhys’ mother. “But Halloween is a secular, American holiday. No religious attachment. So if somebody is opposed to it for their own reasons, then just don’t participate.”
Angela and several other parents decided to sign their kids out of school and throw a party at the park next door.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be celebrating Halloween, but some kind of costume parade,” says Tara Johnson, another parent. “It is important to have a good time.”
Any kid who was signed out for the party will be given an unexcused absence, something that didn’t really bother the parents.
But if being ‘inclusive’ was the school’s reason to cancel Halloween, the end result, seemed to be more ‘exclusive.’ That concept was not lost on many of the kids at the party.
“I feel bad for them, but it’s fun for us, so kind of both ways,” says fifth-grader Nate Burrell.
“I thought it was fun but the only thing is some kids are going to be left, and their mom and dad said no, 'you have to stay in school.' That’s sad because all of us are here and there are still, like five or six, kids that are in the classroom,” says Rhys.
Montgomery County Schools make it a policy to keep religion out of school, for example, Christmas break is just called 'Winter Break.'
The school’s principal declined to do an interview but said the typical Halloween party will be replaced with a 'Fall Festival' some time in November.