Furious parents of children at St David’s RC Primary School have claimed that their children have been stopped from having a Halloween dress up party at school due to ‘religious matters’.
It is believed that in an attempt to be ‘inclusive’ a decision has been made by a small handful of members of the parent council to disallow the children dressing up on Halloween.
St David’s RC Primary in the North of the city is a Catholic school which shares a campus, including a shared dining hall, with the non-denominational Pirniehall Primary School whose children are allowed to dress up for the occasion and it is believed that St David’s may be the only Edinburgh school stopping their pupils dressing up.
The issues began last year when it is claimed that it was announced the night before Halloween that parents were advised to not send their children to school dressed up, so this year to avert the short notice announcement, parents asked the school office in advance of the holiday and were told the same.
Two parent council members made decision
A parent told the Evening News that there were ‘only two’ parents in attendance at the parent council meeting who are ‘strongly Catholic’.
One parent told the Evening News: “St David’s Primary is situated right next to Pirniehall Primary School.
“Last year it was so lovely to see the other kids from Pirniehall having fun and ours weren’t allowed to because we were told the decision had been made by the parent council to not let the kids dress up because ‘some families don’t celebrate Halloween.’ I felt so sad for the kids.
“No religion or politics should interfere with children. It feels like back to the dark century where children have no voice and parents can decide everything they do for them.”
The school is described on its own website as ‘multicultural, friendly and inclusive’ and does teach religious education other than Catholicism.
The furious parent added: “Throughout the year the children are taught about other religions; they go to mosques, they learn about celebrating Ramadan and more.
“I am shocked, we are living in Edinburgh one of the most tolerant cities in the UK, but we have been told out children can’t celebrate Halloween at school because ‘it’s not our culture.’
“How is it that this decision has come down to two parents?”
Halloween dubbed not inclusive
An email disclosed to the Evening News from the Chair of St Davids RC Parents Council said: “It was felt that any event organised for Halloween would not be inclusive of all children at the school.
“The costs involved for parents would put strain on family budgets.
“Sadly, the issue of Halloween has become quite contentious and this also played a part in our decision.
“As a parent council we should always look to be neutral and non-controversial.”
Council support decision
Instead the parent council have organised an Autumn Dance in November where ‘children would be able to dress as they wished’ which they claim will ‘not put any additional strain on family budgets and be inclusive of all students.’
An Edinburgh Council spokesperson defended the position and said: “Parents councils take account of different views when making decisions about after school activities in order to meet the needs of as many families as possible.”