- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2015

The Milford School District in southern Connecticut won’t be holding its usual Halloween festivities this month, and parents of students enrolled there and other local residents aren’t too enthused.

More than 1,300 people have signed an online petition urging Milford schools to celebrate Halloween this year after a letter sent home to parents last week revealed that costume contests and other seasonal events aren’t in the cards this time around.

The principal of Live Oaks School in Milford informed parents on Friday that the district has decided to scale back on plans as the result of apparent cultural and religious differences.

Halloween parades will not take place in any Milford elementary schools. This decision arose out of numerous incidents of children being excluded from activities due to religion, cultural beliefs, etc. School day activities must be inclusive,” the note begins.

Halloween costume are not permitted for students or staff during the day at school, the principal’s message continues. “Any type of classroom activity will be decided by the teacher and must to be Fall themed, not Halloween, and food is not an option.”

Parents of Milford students responded right away and have collected hundreds of signatures each day since launching a petition on Change.org asking for the district to “Bring back our AMERICAN traditions to our schools!”

“I was shocked to find out our annual Halloween parade has been discontinued throughout our district. This is just not right. Growing up in America there are certain traditions and celebrations we have become accustomed to celebrating at home and during school,” wrote Rebecca Lilley, the creator of the petition.

“I’m so tired on my kids missing out on some of the things we all got to do as children and are some of the greatest childhood memories I have due to others saying they find it offensive. I say embrace our culture and we will try to embrace yours or keep your child home. Our children should not miss out on our traditional activities due to people crying they’re offended,” she wrote.

Victoria Johannsen, the mother of a third-grader, told the Connecticut Post that she thought the school district’s decision was “crazy.”

“I don’t understand why other avenues weren’t pursued,” she said.

But Jim Richetelli, the chief operations officer for Milford Public Schools, told the paper that “The goal is for all children to feel comfortable and definitely not alienated when they come to school.”

“Milford Public Schools do have many children from diverse beliefs, cultures and religions,” Mr. Richetelli said.

The Milford Board of Education has a meeting scheduled for Monday evening and has allocated space for public comments.

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