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Halloween party at school- not OK with me. - Page 6

post #101 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
The US doesn't have freedom FROM religion we have freedom OF religion. Even though some try to interpret separation of Church and State as freedom FROM religion it isn't.
And that is precisely why the state isn't in the position to sponsor ONE religion, because we are all entitled to freedom OF religion without state intervention or the state dictating which religious practices are allowed in public schools.
post #102 of 113

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Edited by Emmeline II - 11/16/10 at 1:28pm
post #103 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I don't think that Halloween, Valentines day, St. Patty's day etc. promote religion. Far from it.

It's a cupcake and a game. It's not religious. (If it were, it would totally be The Religion For Me because I'm all for cupcakes and games ).

It's just *cultural.* The way we celebrate these holidays is very specific to the US, but not tied to ANY religion.

If you don't want your child to go, I support you 100%. But these just aren't religious events.
Personally, I don't have any feelings about these holidays either, and I do think a larger element of it is cultural. But I do think that one's perspective can be religious specific, which is why I think it would be much better to find a different way of doing things. My DD's school, which is private, has already managed to accomplish this to an extent. I don't think school is the only place where you can learn about or celebrate holidays. We're surrounded by it everywhere.
post #104 of 113
Thread Starter 
I don't have a problem with people in my community celebrating Halloween, nor with Christian neighbors putting Nativity scenes on their front laws in December. People are free to observe their own religions, and I love learning about how other people live. I love sharing that knowledge with my children, with the clear understanding of "They do that, but we don't because we're Jewish and we have our own rich traditions."

DD2 is learning about World Religions (along with World History in general) in her 9th grade Social Studies class, and I would have no problem if my 3rd grader was also being taught about different cultures and religions. I don't think it's currently part of the 3rd grade curriculum, but I wouldn't object if it was done in an age-appropriate and culturally sensitive way. Learning about the Pagan and Christian origins of Halloween is vastly different from actually participating in a Halloween party.

The non-Jewish religous aspects of Halloween exist, even if the other participants aren't aware of them. And my son won't be in school for the party.
post #105 of 113
I'm not Christian, although a lot of my family is so I would say we're cultural Christians.

I really don't know how these things should be handled in schools globally. My son was introduced to Santa Claus by his hijab-wearing Muslim teacher, a couple of years ago, and we hadn't decided if we were going to follow that tradition. It was a bit of a surprise.

I decided that since I totally admire the kindergarten teacher whose husband built fairy doors into her classroom, I was going to have to let these things go. http://www.urban-fairies.com/locatio.../Lakewood.html if you are curious.

But I also get a bit tired of the constant holiday rotation and wonder how many pumpkin-themed handouts & crafts really need to be completed before the age of 10, particularly in a culture where most people don't even roast their own pumpkin seeds. In conflict with that though, I think no celebrations is pretty harsh. I personally wish they were more diverse and a bit more rare.

The one thing I do think is that we need to listen to each other. It's not for me to say that so-and-so shouldn't be bothered by something. That doesn't always mean changing it (although sometimes it does) but it always means treating that person's perspective with respect. I'm learning a lot in this thread.

I do think, Ruthla, that your school should be more aware and supportive that if they are going to be having celebrations, some families may need at the very least accommodation and preferably even change their practices. IMO the school should have let you know, not the PTA, and they should already have had a plan for kids who were not going to be participating. I hope they do a better job with Valentine's Day.
post #106 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I don't think that Halloween, Valentines day, St. Patty's day etc. promote religion. Far from it.

It's a cupcake and a game. It's not religious. (If it were, it would totally be The Religion For Me because I'm all for cupcakes and games ).

It's just *cultural.* The way we celebrate these holidays is very specific to the US, but not tied to ANY religion.

If you don't want your child to go, I support you 100%. But these just aren't religious events.
post #107 of 113
I think you are doing it right. Pull him out, with a brief explanation. It is done quite often and is understood. I had a kid in class who wasn't allowed to participate, but the parents didn't let him go home either. That seemed cruel to me--as a kid, it felt like I was being forced to exclude him. As a parent, even if I had to work and couldn't pull the kid personally, I would find someone from my church/synagog to pull him for me.

Amy
post #108 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
And that is precisely why the state isn't in the position to sponsor ONE religion, because we are all entitled to freedom OF religion without state intervention or the state dictating which religious practices are allowed in public schools.
The State IE the government isn't. Separation of Church and State was a concept that came to be to reject the UK model where they had an official State religion, and our colonists came here to freely practice their religion of choice. A group of PTA moms sponsoring aHalloween party for a couple ours is not imposing that every citizen be members of a State religion.
post #109 of 113
Quote:
A group of PTA moms sponsoring aHalloween party for a couple ours is not imposing that every citizen be members of a State religion.
You're right. Forgive me. I didn't realize we were talking about a group of PTA moms having a Halloween party on school property for a couple of hours during school hours. I thought we were talking about the actual school having a party (Christmas; Halloween; etc,). I got carried away with the fact that a certain segment in our population have to opt out of a regular school day so that others can celebrate their holiday. I also think that if we had a non-majority holiday party on a regular school day (think Purim or Skanda Shasti) and I doubt people would define it as a couple of PTA moms having a holiday party for a few hours. It is helpful to think about role reversal, in my opinion.
post #110 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
You're right. Forgive me. I didn't realize we were talking about a group of PTA moms having a Halloween party on school property for a couple of hours during school hours. I thought we were talking about the actual school having a party (Christmas; Halloween; etc,). I got carried away with the fact that a certain segment in our population have to opt out of a regular school day so that others can celebrate their holiday. I also think that if we had a non-majority holiday party on a regular school day (think Purim or Skanda Shasti) and I doubt people would define it as a couple of PTA moms having a holiday party for a few hours. It is helpful to think about role reversal, in my opinion.
If it's during instructional time, and it's (obviously) sanctioned by the school, then yeah, it's more than a group of PTA moms.
post #111 of 113
I apologize if this was mentioned upthread. You might also want to ask what the "winter holiday" celebration involves, in case there are elements (songs, crafts) that might feel Christmassy, even if they are intended to represent secular elements of the winter season.

Heather
post #112 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I know the exact day and time of the planned parties because the PTA asked for parent volunteers to help with the parties. They're also planning parties for other occasions that I have no problem with, such as Thanksgiving and "Winter Holiday."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post

To clarify a few things: This is a classroom party, apparently organized by the class mothers, who are all PTA members. Other classes may or may not schedule their own parties.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
You're right. Forgive me. I didn't realize we were talking about a group of PTA moms having a Halloween party on school property for a couple of hours during school hours.
I included the quotes from the OP here where she explained that it's a class party put on by class mothers that happen to be in the PTA. It's not a school wide party.
post #113 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
It's a cupcake and a game. It's not religious. (If it were, it would totally be The Religion For Me because I'm all for cupcakes and games ).
I love you, really, lol.

Also I'm going to chime in with the group that said, "I enjoyed singing Jewish songs and having Hannukkah day at our elementary school." I wasn't scarred by it. My mother was a bit scandalized, but oh well. She was also upset the school didn't teach that Christianity was truth and all other religions were false. I mean, go figure.

If my religion specifically forbid my participation in another culture's activity, then that's kind of a non-arguable thing. I wouldn't go against my religion. However, mine doesn't. I studied World Religions in college partially because it was so much FUN to learn about the way different cultures and groups celebrate their traditions, beliefs, etc. I love learning about different religions.

So, in short, I think we all need to LEARN about one another's religions. But perhaps, as other posters have pointed out, the actual parties, celebrations, worksheets, and the like, should be geared more towards "seasonal" festivals. Maybe we should just say to heck with it and make seasonal holidays our national holidays. A lot of Christmas celebration can be totally made into "winter" days. Then we as a whole nation can be united in our celebrations, and then the people who claim that "Christmas should be religious not commercial" can celebrate in a more religious way, and no one will be left out. You can celebrate all or none of the religious holidays on your own but we can ALL have a national "Winterfest" or something like that.
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