Rather than Halloween, this year Phoenixville Area School District’s elementary school students will celebrate a “fall festival,” The Mercury is reporting.
According to the paper, at Thursday’s school board meeting, superintendent Dr. Alan Fegley explained that the district decided to ditch the holiday for a host of reasons, among them a sensitivity to the diversity of its student body and the “controversy surrounding the religious connotations of Halloween.”
Sensitivities aside, Fegley said the chief reason the celebration’s been dropped is that students just weren’t showing up. On the days the district celebrates Halloween, Fegley said the absentee rate is nine percent, more than double the usual four percent rate. He called this the “overriding” factor in the decision.
And though the decision promises to be unpopular, it's not without precedent. In recent years, a handful of schools have put the kibosh on the holiday; including Seattle's Lafayette Elementary School, which made headlines last week for its decision to ban Halloween costumes in its hallways.
Fegley, for his part, emphasized that a celebration of some sort will continue at PASD. This year, they're calling it a fall festival.
“We’re continuing the tradition,” the superintendent said.
Do you agree with the district's decision to stop celebrating the holiday? Tell us in the comments.