Princeton, NJ, Elementary School ‘Cancels’ Halloween, Valentine’s Day
PRINCETON — The new principal of Riverside Elementary School is eliminating student celebrations of two popular holidays during the school year, planning to replace them with events she believes are more inclusive.
Planet Princeton reported that in an email to parents Tuesday, Ebony Lattimer announced the cancellation of Riverside's traditional Halloween parade, and an intention to forgo Valentine's Day as well.
Supplanting Halloween will be what Lattimer is calling a "Book Bonanza," in which students "will be asked to dress up as their favorite book character," according to a copy of the email obtained by Planet Princeton.
Students will still be able to parade around in the guise of the characters they choose, Lattimer said, and the change is intended to increase two district goals, academic achievement and student attendance.
Lattimer said previous Halloween celebrations "excluded many of our students," but did not elaborate, according to the report.
Come February, Lattimer is replacing Valentine's Day with "Upstander Day," to "highlight our students and the Riverside normative culture," she said.
An "upstander" is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied."
According to MyCentralJersey.com, two 2013 Watchung Hills High School graduates created a Change.org petition in 2014 to get Oxford to add the term.
Further details on Upstander Day events at Riverside Elementary School were not included in the Planet Princeton report.