Halloween party at school- not OK with me. - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 113 Old 10-21-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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This shows just how sad of a culture we have become. ANYONE can take offense to anything. Before you know it we won't be allowed to teach kids colours in school because what is green to 1 person could be gold to a person with a color vision deficiency.
I would assume this is referring to "political correctness". Maybe we should go back to having crayons labeled "Indian red" because Indian's were known to have red skin?

*sigh* I can't even think clearly right now. Please take a minute and consider how others might feel. What if you were the child who was the different one in class?

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#92 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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Yes.

It's called the tyranny of the majority. Just because "most" people are doing it, doesn't make it less oppressive to those that are not doing it. I think it sends a horrible message to ALL the students.
We are talking about games, songs and crafts here! To call it "tyranny" seems a bit much. The way I look at it, someone who is in the minority with regard to a simple party for kids at school should not have the final say on the issue when no one is forcing their child to participate.

As a Christian, I see this attitude quite a bit in society today. Christianity is seen as offensive by some so it is marginalized. I don't expect everyone to be Christian because that is a choice we have in this country but I don't expect to have my rights trampled because a few people disagree.

I don't mean to offend anyone but this is an issue that really gets to me!
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#93 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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As a Christian, I see this attitude quite a bit in society today. Christianity is seen as offensive by some so it is marginalized. I don't expect everyone to be Christian because that is a choice we have in this country but I don't expect to have my rights trampled because a few people disagree.
But then you are willing to trample someone elses rights! I don't get this type of attitude.

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#94 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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But then you are willing to trample someone elses rights! I don't get this type of attitude.
I guess we just have to agree to disagree because I don't understand how it is trampling your rights when it is an optional event that your child does not have to attend. No one is forcing children to celebrate Halloween, sing Christmas Carols or make a Valentine. We are a nation of diversity which to me means we can make choices for our families. I respect the choices others make and expect the same.
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#95 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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We are talking about games, songs and crafts here! To call it "tyranny" seems a bit much. The way I look at it, someone who is in the minority with regard to a simple party for kids at school should not have the final say on the issue when no one is forcing their child to participate.

As a Christian, I see this attitude quite a bit in society today. Christianity is seen as offensive by some so it is marginalized. I don't expect everyone to be Christian because that is a choice we have in this country but I don't expect to have my rights trampled because a few people disagree.

I don't mean to offend anyone but this is an issue that really gets to me!
As a religion Christianity should be marginalized in the public forum, even though it is the dominant religion. The public forum is supposed to be neutral religious/cultural ground. How does that affect your rights, as a citizen at all? It would be pretty rare to be discriminated against because one is christian at least (unlike if one were Muslim).
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#96 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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I guess we just have to agree to disagree because I don't understand how it is trampling your rights when it is an optional event that your child does not have to attend. No one is forcing children to celebrate Halloween, sing Christmas Carols or make a Valentine. We are a nation of diversity which to me means we can make choices for our families. I respect the choices others make and expect the same.
Optional events should not be held during school hours. In the US there is supposed to be separation of church and state, and the school is state, therefore there should be no celebrations of any sort of religions.
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#97 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 01:59 PM
 
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As a Christian, I see this attitude quite a bit in society today. Christianity is seen as offensive by some so it is marginalized. I don't expect everyone to be Christian because that is a choice we have in this country but I don't expect to have my rights trampled because a few people disagree.
I don't want to get too off-topic, but a theme I see in this thread is the impression of "rights." I don't think the issue in this case is about individuals' rights to practice their religion, the issue is about government's role in sponsoring religious activities (at least in the U.S.). In the public school sphere, which is publicly funded, all children are allowed equal access, and at most, the government's role is to educate (at least that is the ideal). It is not about people being offended by say, Christianity, it is about allowing equal footing to all children who attend. Having a party which excludes based on religion is not equal footing, in my opinion.

It is easy for the majority to say "it is not a big deal" when that majority has never experienced discrimination. I grew up in a fairly multi-cultural setting and never had any real sense of discrimination or embarrassment. My DH was one of the few Jewish kids in his public school and as a young boy, the exclusion bothered him a lot. Think - a six or seven year old not able to participate in a party or being required to sing Christmas carols during chorus class. To be different impacts young children a lot, whether or not the intent to differentiate was there or not. It creates an environment of exclusion. I don't think that public school is the place for this, and I don't think government (in this case public schools) should be in the position to exclude kids based on race and religion, simply because there is a majority in the same position. When we start talking about "rights" we also need to look at the forum. I totally support individual rights, I just don't want a government which institutes exclusionary practices based on race, religion, or creed. It is not the government's right to do so until the law is changed via legislation and majority vote. Right now, the government's responsibility in all this is to provide a non-discriminatory environment in which children can learn.

Perhaps there was a time when everyone was the same religion and race. There was a time of segregation too. Our society has become increasingly diverse. Recognizing diversity in a public school/government forum without exclusion and segregation seems a better approach to me. In my opinion, this would best be achieved by either maintaining a totally neutral venue or by instituting practices which are inclusive rather than exclusionary.

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#98 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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I suppose also one of the bigger issues is that some holidays are secular to me, while others believe they are religious. Halloween and Christmas are secular, to me. We do not celebrate Christmas with mass, a blessing to the church, or anything else. Jesus does not partake in our holiday. My DSD is Jewish and also celebrated Christmas...to her, the two holidays were simply back to back and Christmas had no religiouns connotations. As for Easter, its all about the bunny. As for Halloween, it may have had a religious beginning, but I dont see that now. My kids are dressing up in native american garb this year, and they have fun....they dress up as pirates at home, cowboys, princesses, etc...there is no religious significance to this play at home, nor is there any significance to the halloween costumes...its clearly just for fun to them.

So, in this respect, I see no issues with a school system celebrating a secular holiday. Will I teach my children the religious beginnings of these? yes. My children will know about the goddess estre and her faithful pet. My children will know about St. nicholas and how that was slowly changed to Sinter Klas. As for Halloween, they will learn about the puritan belief system that was prevelant in the early colonial days. If they decide to proscribe to a specific religious belief system, I'm all for...but to me, those beliefs are over and above the secular traditions in these holidays.

I grew up in a multicultural suburb, and at our holiday performances, we sang hallelujah, as much as we sang some traditional jewish songs (of which I dont rightly recall). We read the bible in english, along with the koran. I do recall one person who did not sing a few songs, but there was no jabbing to this person. They were respected for their beliefs, even if we did not quite understand the issue.

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#99 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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What happened to freedom from religion and separation of church and state?
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.
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#100 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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I think, though, when a public entity like a school offers an event that has direct or indirect religious meanings (even if supported by the majority), then the public entity is promoting a certain religion (even if not specifically intended). p
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.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#101 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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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.

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#102 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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.


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#103 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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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.

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#104 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#105 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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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.

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#106 of 113 Old 10-22-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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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.
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#107 of 113 Old 10-23-2010, 02:05 AM
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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.

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#108 of 113 Old 10-23-2010, 10:30 PM
 
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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.
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#109 of 113 Old 10-24-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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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.

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#110 of 113 Old 10-24-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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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.
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#111 of 113 Old 10-24-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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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.

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#112 of 113 Old 10-24-2010, 10:00 PM
 
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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."
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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.
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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.
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#113 of 113 Old 10-25-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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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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