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Princeton, NJ elementary school cancels Halloween and Valentine’s Day

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UPDATE: A Princeton principal reversed her decision to cut Halloween and Valentine’s Day celebrations in her effort to create what she believed to be a more inclusive atmosphere at school.

Planet Princeton reported on Friday that the school principal had changed course following a backlash from the public, especially complaints from parents.

The previous story is below.


PRINCETON – The new principal at Riverside Elementary School is eliminating student celebrations of two popular holidays during the school year, planning to replace them with events she deems more inclusive.

Planet Princeton reported that in an email to parents on Tuesday, Ebony Lattimer announced the cancellation of the traditional Riverside Halloween Parade and plans to forgo Valentine’s Day as well.

Substituting Halloween will be what Lattimer calls 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 in the guise of the characters they choose, Lattimer said, and the change is aimed at increasing two of the district’s goals, academic success and student attendance.

Lattimer said previous Halloween celebrations “excluded many of our students,” but did not elaborate, according to the report.

In February, Lattimer will replace Valentine’s Day with “Upstander Day” to “showcase our students and the normative culture of Riverside,” she said.

An “advocate” is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a person who speaks or acts on behalf of an individual or a cause, in particular someone who intervenes on behalf of an attacked or intimidated person”.

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.

More details on the Upstander Day events at Riverside Elementary School were not included in the Planet Princeton report.

Patrick Lavery is the anchor for the New Jersey 101.5 afternoon news. Follow it on Twitter @ plavery1015 or send an email to [email protected]

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