Some NJ schools are opting out of Halloween parades this year
At least one public school district in Atlantic County is skipping outdoor Halloween parades for its four elementary schools, as Galloway Township school officials say it's an issue of safety.
“Over the years, we have monitored the level of attendance at the parades and have found the crowds to be very large with some adults not following the guidelines we have given," schools Superintendent Annette Giaquinto said in a written statement to New Jersey 101.5 on Monday. "It has become quite challenging to appropriately monitor and handle the crowd. Thankfully, no major incident has occurred. At this point, we are trying to be proactive rather than reactive."
Guaquinto also said, "I believe we have a balanced approach – the students are still enjoying a Halloween celebration with their school/classmates, and we are enhancing safety.”
An online petition started by a parent has collected more than 1,100 signatures from those who oppose the decision not to have a Halloween parade in each of the district's elementary schools.
When asked about community reaction to the changes, Giaquinto said only a few people have contacted her directly.
“In general, those who do not agree with the change simply want things to stay the same (i.e. “tradition”)," she said in her written response. "There has also been mention of taking security too far; however, we do not agree with this. The students are still getting to be kids and enjoying fun activities at school.”
Galloway children and their families have multiple opportunities to celebrate Halloween including trick-or-treating in their own and nearby neighborhoods, the township’s trunk or treat, an activity sponsored by Stockton University and First Responder Family Fun Night, according to Giaquinto.
Further north in Morris County, at least one public elementary school has opted out of a Halloween parade in recent years, citing inclusivity. Thomas Jefferson School in Morristown declined holding one in 2017, as reported by Morristown Patch, which was told by school officials that roughly a fifth of the students in grades 3 through 5 didn't celebrate Halloween.
This year, the school is among three of seven elementary schools within the same district that do not list Halloween parades on their calendars (along with Normandy Park and Woodland).
The remaining four elementary schools (Alfred Vail, Alexander Hamilton, Sussex Ave and Hillcrest) do have parades on their calendars. Messages asking the district to clarify were not returned by Tuesday afternoon.