Halloween canceled at Philadelphia school over ‘religious overtones’

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LANSDALE, PA. -- Officials at a suburban Philadelphia elementary school have decided to cancel a Halloween parade and other Halloween celebrations, citing a ban on promoting religious beliefs, according to WPVI.

Parents received a letter from the principal at Inglewood Elementary School in Lansdale on Tuesday. The letter stated  holidays like Halloween are seen by some as secular and viewed by others as having religious overtones.

But it said school districts are barred from promoting religious beliefs, and while they can teach about religious and cultural practices, they cannot sponsor them.

Here's an excerpt from the letter:

It reads in part:

"Some holidays observed in the community that are considered by many to be secular (ex. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day) are viewed by others as having religious overtones. The district must always be mindful of the sensitivity of all the members of the community with regard to holidays and celebrations of a religious, cultural or secular nature. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that school districts may not endorse, prefer, favor, promote or advance any religious beliefs...."

But while it's not specified in the letter, a district spokesperson told WPVI the rule refers to classroom instruction, not parties, which she says can be held, but will no longer be district-wide.

The school said it plans to hold a fall festival event where students can where Halloween costumes, but it will happen after school hours.

Read more: WPVI

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