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No Halloween celebrations at WRDSB schools

The Waterloo Region District School Board is scrapping Halloween plans in schools, with the goal of fostering a more inclusive environment for all staff and students
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Don't expect ghouls, ghosts or goblins at any school with the Waterloo Region District School Board this Halloween.

The board has decided to scrap Halloween plans for 2021 in an effort to make schools more inclusive.

"We have to acknowledge that not all of our families celebrate Halloween for a variety of reasons," Crissa Hill, the superintendent of student achievement and well-being at WRDSB, told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.

"Those include cultural reasons, socio-economic and personal.  And we are trying to really focus on fostering a sense of inclusion in our schools, which means we must respect the decision of those who choose not to participate, and those who cannot participate in these kinds of activities at school."

She was asked if the board has plans to do the same with events like Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day.

Hill didn't give a yes or no answer, but reiterated the board is trying to acknowledge that their student body and staff is becoming more diverse, and acknowledge how much they do based on tradition needs to be examined more closely.

Hill noted Halloween can also come with harms, such as students heading to school in costumes that aren't appropriate, such as First Nations costumes.

"One of the things we really want to emphasize is not using a costume or putting on things that others can't take off," she said.

It's unknown if this will be something permanent, as Hill noted the board always examines their regular practices.

When asked if the board is worried they are taking away an event some find joy in, Hill said no.

"We have to recognize Halloween in itself is not essential for learning, and Halloween this year doesn't even fall on a school day," she said.

Hill said the pandemic has given them the opportunity to examine their normal routines, and whether it serves all children in the same way.

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