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A ghoulish debate over Halloween

Parents, students want costume parade

Posted: October 21, 2008 8:27 p.m.
Updated: December 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
Parents at Rosedell Elementary School in Saugus are circulating a petition to allow their little pirates and princesses to wear their costumes to school Oct. 30 — or they just might keep the little ghouls home in protest.

The school has traditionally allowed students to wear costumes on Halloween. But since Oct. 31 is a pupil-free staff-development day at Rosedell, the Halloween Parade has been rescheduled for the PTA carnival on Saturday.

“The school needs to realize that this is something parents and kids are passionate about,” said Rosedell parent Tina Cabot.

“It’s a great bonding experience for the kids and their teachers. The teachers dress up and parade with the kids and the kids just love it,” Cabot said.

More than 150 parents representing about 300 students signed the petition asking the school to host the Halloween Parade the morning of Oct. 30. Meanwhile, students started their own petition making the same request.

“I know (the students) have a whole booklet that they’re passing around having kids sign, but I don’t know how many signatures they have,” Cabot said.

In the school’s Tuesday Telegram, a newsletter sent home with students Tuesday afternoon, parents were informed that instead of the traditional Halloween Parade, students would “instead have the opportunity to wear their costumes and parade their outfits at the carnival.”

“We’re trying to protect our instructional day,” Assistant Principal Marie Pierre said.

But PTA President Lesley Vennero, who signed the petition, said organizing a parade while students come and go during a five-hour carnival will be impossible.

“So instead of a parade, we’re having a costume contest and any child who wears a costume will get candy,” Vennero said.

In meetings with school administrators, Cabot, Vennero and other parents objected to the idea of having students wear costumes to the carnival for several reasons, including not wanting the kids to ruin their costumes.

“Children are going to ruin their costumes bouncing in bounce houses and running through obstacles courses,” Cabot said. “Plus it’s not the same bonding experience with the teachers or the same concept as the event has been in the past.”

Many parents are planning to keep their students home from school Oct. 30 in protest, despite the school’s carnival compromise.

“Parents and students have signed a petition and they want their voices heard,” Vennero said. “When you have that many people saying ‘We want to be heard,’ you have a responsibility to listen and come up with a mutually acceptable alternative.”

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