School Cancels Halloween Because of 'Religious Overtones'

Orlando Taylor, principal of the Inglewood Elementary School in Towamencin Township, Pa., has canceled class Halloween parties by claiming the holiday has "religious overtones."

Taylor sent a letter to parents this week with the bizarre reasoning behind the decision not to hold Halloween parades or celebrations at the school this year.

According to WPVI, the letter read in part:

Some holidays observed in the community that are considered by many to be secular (ex. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day) are viewed by others as having religious overtones.

The district must always be mindful of the sensitivity of all the members of the community with regard to holidays and celebrations of a religious, cultural or secular nature. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that school districts may not endorse, prefer, favor, promote or advance any religious beliefs...

Taylor failed to mention any sect of people who actually view Halloween "as having religious overtones."

He also wrote that the school district policy is "to not sponsor or support the celebration of Halloween parades, Halloween parities, or dressing in Halloween costumes."

However, the North Penn School District quickly distanced itself from Taylor's letter and released its own statement contradicting the principal, noted Philadelphia Magazine:

The Inglewood Elementary School letter addressing Halloween is not an accurate representation of the school district’s administrative regulation… Schools are permitted to have Halloween parties in their classrooms during the school day and school-wide activities such as parades are permitted before and after the school day.

In fact Inglewood Elementary school will hold such a Fall Festival, with Halloween costume and activities, on the evening of October 18th. Halloween and fall related activities being held at NPSD’s 18 schools include a Halloween dance, fall festivals, harvest festivals, trick or treating and more.

But the damage was already done as many parents voices outrage over Taylor's letter.

"I think it's a disgrace. I can't even explain how infuriated I am with this. Now we're taking out Halloween. Even with the Pledge of Allegiance, that was up for debate because we mentioned God in it. When are people just going to stop and let schools be schools?" said parent David Braun.

Sources: WPVI and Philadelphia Magazine


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