The planned end of the annual Halloween parade at Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School in Bristol Township has dozens of vocal parents up in arms.
Questions and concerns were raised by parents with children enrolled in the school last week after it was announced the traditional Halloween costume parade would be abandoned in favor of a “Fall Harvest Festival.”
“A Fall Harvest Festival is something our teachers have wanted to do for years,” according to a letter sent to parents from the school’s new principal, Terrie Giardine. She added that the teachers have discussed the topic “at length.”
The annual event featured the Harry S. Truman High School Marching Band, a student costume parade and other fun happenings for the kids.
Parents said they are most disappointed because they say they had no input in the decision to cancel the tradition, which has been taking place for more than 40 years.
“The Halloween parade is a wonderful event for everyone,” parent Stephanie Schwartz told Patch. “None of the parents want to see it get canceled.”
Several parents claimed to even have taken off work in the past to attend.
Emerson PTO Vice President Shannon Goldey came before the school board of directors last week and said that Giardine was unwilling to work toward a compromise to salvage the event.
Goldey looked at Board President Earl Bruck and asked, “Who is this hurting?”
“Our children,” she answered after a pause.
“If we’re going to take away Halloween, we are going to have to stop celebrating other holidays,” one parent loudy said from their seat. Several clapped in support of the statement.
"Who's going to tell my daughter she can't wear her costume on Halloween," one parent stated during the meeting.
“The proposed change, in my opinion, has plenty of education merit,” Superintendent Samuel Lee told parents. He cited that George Washington Elementary School held a similar fall festival with great success.
The board advised parents to schedule another meeting with Giardine to see if a compromise can be made.
Ahead of the board meeting, parents took their outrage to Facebook.
Bruck told the parents at the meeting they should be “ashamed” for their angry posts about the decision on social media sites.
A visibly upset Bruck said he spotted comments that had a threatening tone and others claimed the decision was based on Giardine’s religious views. A point which Bruck denied.
A parent who monitors the Parents of Bristol Township Schools PA Facebook group said she was not aware of the threatening post Bruck was refeering to.
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