Elementary school bans costumes, cancels Halloween parade

A Cumberland County school is banning costumes in the classroom this Halloween.

Sporting Hill Elementary in Hampden Township sent a note home late last week, saying they made the decision because “safety is a top priority” for students.

The school has also canceled the parade portion of their fall festival for the same reason.

Students told abc27 they are disappointed they won't be dressing up this year.

“I liked wearing our costumes because if you read the book 'august,' he wears his costume and feels like a normal kid for once,” 5th grader Braden Mercer said.

“Because not everybody lives in your neighborhood, so you don't get to see what other people are,” 5th grader Peyton Libelberger said.

Cumberland Valley spokeswoman Tracy Panzer issued the following statement:

“We recognize that the education about, and celebration of,
seasonal festivals is an important aspect of the elementary setting. However,
we must do so in a manner that is safe and appropriate for all children.

Over the last decade, many of our elementary schools have
been transitioning from a traditional Halloween celebration to a fall festival.
This fall festival allows the school and students to celebrate the fall season
while maintaining:

– safety in costumes and safety in
protection of our buildings;

– reflection of our sensitivity to all
traditions and inclusiveness on behalf of all children;

– protection of educational classroom time. While
we continue to celebrate the fall season, we are able to regain educational
classroom time that is lost due to the time required for children to change
into and out of their costumes.

We recognize that the chance to dress up allows students the
opportunity to express individual creativity and imagination. Therefore, we
provide dress-up opportunities throughout the year that are tied to
instructional components of the classroom.

Such opportunities for creative play
include spirit days, Read Across America Week where children are encouraged to
dress as one of their favorite Dr. Seuss characters, and Readers Theater, which
is a literacy based activity where children portray characters in a piece of


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