EUGENE, Ore. – An Oregon school board has had to call off the meeting after more than 100 angry parents stormed the district office and shouted to members of the board.
The reason for Monday outrage: No school parties for Valentine’s day.
In the past, students celebrated Feb. 14 with the traditional exchange of cards and candy. But the Bethel School District in Eugene is a gradual abolition of these traditions, The Register-Guard reported.
District officials said that the organized holiday parties often end up with the exception of the children whose parents do not have the means to buy on valentine’s day, as well as students who do not do well in a party or religious objections.
“As a public school system, we cannot deliberately plan events that we know will exclude children from the District spokesman Pat McGillivray said. “Schools are thinking creatively about how we celebrate with children and how can we activities at school where everyone gets to participate.”
McGillivray said that every school in the district is a different approach for the recognition of the virtues that Valentine’s day is celebrating, such as kindness and love. For example, some schools have friendship week, kindness month and buddy days, ” he said.
But the re-inventing of traditions does not sit well with some parents. She noted that Bethel district students are no longer wearing costumes for Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations have been renamed the “harvest parties.”
“It’s not just about Valentine’s day,” said Ryan Hosek, a parent of two students. “They are isolating the majority of the kids’ feelings for the sake of a few, and that’s just not how the world works.
“The lesson to be learned is to enjoy the difference and not to ignore, because they are a small minority of the people offended.”
Although on Monday, the meeting was quickly adjourned, parents and others have a chance to give their views at a special meeting of the board on Thursday evening.
McGillivray said everyone who requests to speak will be heard.
Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com