The principal at Kennedy School in Somerville, Mass., Anne Foley, has told the teachers at her elementary school not to “celebrate” Halloween, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving in their classrooms because these holidays are problematic, the Boston Herald reports.
Students have been told not to wear Halloween costumes to school on Oct. 31 because, School Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi Superintendant told the Boston Herald, the holiday has connections to dubious practices like witchcraft. “Some of our students come from cultures where kids are frightened by it,” he said.
Foley also sent a memo to teachers explaining why activities celebrating Christopher Columbus and Thanksgiving should be curtailed, too, the Boston Herald reports. “When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples,” she said. “We can no longer do so. For many of us and our students celebrating this particular person is an insult and a slight to the people he annihilated. On the same lines, we need to be careful around the Thanksgiving Day time as well.”
Parents told Fox News that they disapproved of Foley squeezing all the fun from fall holidays. “The children, they need to express themselves and be children,” one parent said. “Don’t take holidays and fun time away from them. They have so much homework. They don’t have enough play time.”
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, who has three children at Kennedy, told Fox News that he didn’t appreciate the attack on Columbus. “I’m the son of Italian immigrations, so I take Columbus Day very near and dear, and I’m proud that he discovered America and that America’s named after another Italian,” Curtatone said. “If we ignore and we don’t want to talk about it, if we want to stifle debate, then we’re ignoring history.”
Even Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) weighed in, Fox News reports. “Let’s not take political correctness to the extreme. Let the kids in Somerville enjoy Halloween,” Brown tweeted Friday.