Reporting Jim Melwert
By Jim Melwert, Pat Ciarrocchi
LANSDALE, Pa. (CBS) — The little children at Lansdale’s Inglewood Elementary can now safely pick out their Halloween costumes for the school’s fall festival next Friday.
For 24 hours, a letter from Principal Orlando Taylor threw his grade schoolers into a panic.
A letter to parents Tuesday, signed by the school’s principal, had the subject line: No Halloween Parade or Celebrations.
Jody Biergert had some quick consoling to do for her fourth grade son.
“He said ‘what’s up with that.’ He is a nine year-old boy, that is how they talk and he just said why are they taking Halloween away from us? What did we do? What did we do wrong,” Biergert said.
Principal Taylor’s understanding of district policy seemed very clear.
The letter read, in part:
“The school district’s policy directs all North Penn Schools to not sponsor or support the celebration of Halloween Parades, Halloween Parties or dressing in costumes.”
Biergert says she saw the same directive at a meeting last Spring.
“This year I very blatantly read this piece of paper that said that it was no longer allowed through the school district and per the school district,” Biergert said.
Apparently, that’s changed now. District officials would not elaborate for us on their timing.
But in part, a North Penn statement said:
“Schools are permitted to have Halloween parties in their classrooms during the school day and school-wide activities such as parades are permitted before and after the school day. In fact, Inglewood Elementary School will hold such a Fall Festival… on the evening of October 18th.”
Religious underpinnings to holidays like Halloween have prompted bans in other districts across the country.
But those we talked to say Inglewood has always accommodated others’ deeply held beliefs and respected them.