Principal Scott Masini of Bruce Vento Elementary School sent a letter to parents stating, “I have come to the difficult decision to discontinue the celebration of the dominant holidays until we can come to a better understanding of how the dominant view will suppress someone else’s view.”
The school’s student population is largely nonwhite, and Masini noted, “My personal feeling is we need to find a way to honor and engage in holidays that are inclusive of our student population.”
He stated that no cards or treats would be brought to school to mark Valentine’s Day, and that Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day would no longer be celebrated at the school.
“One of the concerns that I have,” he wrote, “… is whether or not this practice is encroaching on the educational opportunities of others and threatening the culture of tolerance and respect for all.”
He admitted that the decision “will be an unpopular decision with some of you,” but added that the school was open to discuss it with concerned parents.
"Because Saint Paul Public Schools is a diverse district that is filled with families from around the world we strive to respect all cultures and all students. We recognize that not every student celebrates or participates in some or all holidays. We have a board policy that discourages programs and festivities that celebrate observances unless they are required by law," read a statement from St. Paul schools.
The statement included Masini’s comment: "I'm struggling with this and I don't know what the right answer is. But, what I do know is celebrating some holidays and not others is not inclusive of all of the students we serve."
The letter, later posted on the “Supporting St. Paul Students and Teachers” Facebook page, garnered dozens of comments.
One comment read, “Very sad. All the fun is gone.”
Others read, “Totally ridiculous” and “Tired of the PC.”
Others supported the decision, which one commenter stating that Masini and the school staff were “being sensitive to children at their school who do not practice these holidays due to religious beliefs. … Holidays are very personal. Every family has a different take on how they celebrate or do not celebrate them.”
A teacher at the school also commented, writing that the principal “is under an immense amount of pressure from many of his own staff who dispute his decision. … Masini is truly trying to be inclusive of his student population …”