MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul serves more children of color than white students.
That is why Principal Scott Masini wants to find a way to honor and engage in holidays that are inclusive of the student population.
Masini crafted a letter that will be sent to parents explaining why he feels it is important to not celebrate Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.
He says in the letter that the intent is to create a school climate that is welcoming and respectful of all cultures.
The move falls in line with St. Paul School Board policy, which discourages programs and festivities that celebrate observances unless they are required by law.
Parents across the district are sounding off.
“It seems to me that that shouldn’t be the main issue that we should be talking about in St. Paul Public Schools,” parent William Moore said.
At Golden Tyme Cafe in St. Paul, not celebrating holidays at Bruce Vento was at the forefront of most conversations.
“I still want to know how well they’re doing in educating our kids,” Moore said. “I think that’s the number-one issue, and they should be laser-focused on all the things that they need to do to get our kids that are in our St. Paul public schools educated.”
Others parents feel not recognizing these holidays is a mistake.
“This is a teaching opportunity where you can use art, music and other various forms of education to learn,” former principal John Senar said. “And of course reading should be threaded through all of that.”
Masini says in the letter to parents that he knows this will be an unpopular decision, but he feels celebrating some holidays and not others is not inclusive of all the students they serve.
District leaders will gauge what is happening in other schools as it relates to holiday celebrations and board policy.
While they do that, Masini will wait before corresponding with parents and the broader community about his decision.