By Jenn Bernstein
PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — Halloween is a little more than one week away, but students at Schuylkill Elementary School aren’t planning their classroom costumes.
That’s because there won’t be a Halloween celebration here, or at the other two elementary schools in the Phoenixville School District.
District officials sent a letter home to parents on Monday, reminding them of the decision they said was sent out in the “Welcome Back” letter in August.
Superintendent Alan Fegley said there were a number of factors considered when making the decision, including that the elementary schools were all doing different celebrations and the school wanted to keep them consistent, that costume safety was becoming a real concern, and that students who couldn’t afford costumes were feeling left out.
District officials told Eyewitness News that the absentee rate more than doubled — from 4% to 9% — on Halloween.
The kids may not be celebrating Halloween, but that doesn’t mean they’re having just a normal day at school. Fegley says they will have a fall festival, complete with parties for the kids.
Alison Cirone is helping plan her daughter’s second grade fall party. “I know we were told no scarecrows, no witches, no ghosts,” said Cirone.
Cirone is in charge of snacks and paper products.
“There were quite a few parents that were upset, and others were neutral,” said Cirone. “But I think some of us just wonder, there’s no more birthday celebrations, so if there’s not Halloween, what could there possibly be next that we won’t be celebrating in school?”
Donna Sisti’s children used to go to one of the public elementary schools. “It’s a fun activity for the kids that they look forward to every year. I don’t see why it should change.”
Eyewitness News talked to several parents off-camera who said they didn’t mind the decision.
In Monday’s letter, the superintendent also said, “We understand that not everyone will agree with this decision. We hope you will realize it was made with the best interests of ALL our students in mind.”