By Maria Arcega-Dunn
Seattle, WA (KCPQ) — On Halloween, little devils, Egyptian goddesses, witches and even Dracula won’t be making an appearance at West Seattle’s Lafayette Elementary School. Administrators have decided not to allow students to dress up this year.
“I was just really sad and I had to fight back tears,” disappointed fourth-grader Leilani Nitkey said Tuesday.
“This year there won’t be any Halloween costumes allowed,” said Teresa Wippel, a spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools.
Wippel said the staff at Lafayette upheld its decision to ban costumes because it would take away from valuable learning time. Halloween, or Oct. 31, falls this year on a Wednesday, which is typically a half-day of classes for students.
“There’s a lot of pressure on teachers and principals to make sure the kids are academically competent, and we prioritize that here,” Wippel said.
Parent Hart Rusen said, “It seems like another one of those things where kids are no longer allowed to be kids.”
No matter the reason, some parents are disappointed, too, and say the school is trying to be politically correct.
“That discussion did come up … that we have to be sensitive to the fact that there are kids from different cultures, different religions (who are offended by Halloween), but that wasn’t the reason for making that decision,” Wippel said, emphasizing the decision to ban costumes was “purely academic.”
Parent Carl Nitkey said, “It lifts their spirits so it’s kind of sad that they don’t have that opportunity.”
Administrators said that despite the objections, the decision to ban the spooky celebration this year stands and they’ll revisit the issue next year.
Meanwhile, the kids are coping with their disappointment.
“We worked really hard on making it (her costume) able to be at school, and now that I’m not able to do it at school, that was a big waste of time,” Leilani Nitkey said, who added she intends to be an Egyptian goddess this year.
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