phoenixville school district bans halloween

In Phoenixville, Scrooge has a new name: Phoenixville Area School District Superintendent Alan Fegley.  You see, Superintendent Alan Fegley is banning Halloween in Phoenixville schools, citing among other things  “controversy surrounding the religious connotations of Halloween.”

Bull twaddle. What a dope. Guess Santa Claus is next, huh? Oh wait, that is why so many schools across the country celebrate Halloween because it saves them from attacks by the political correctness police who whitewash everything into Happy Holidays Hell, right?

Seriously, somewhere Charlie Brown is screaming as another attempt is made to dumb down a childhood and American tradition.  We all are still Americans, right? Or has that become politically incorrect overnight too in Phoenixville?

Halloween is a universal kid loved time no matter the gender, ethnicity, religion.  As a matter of fact Halloween is so religion neutral across the country it is partially why it gets so much attention.

The History of Halloween is actually interesting:

History of Halloween

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.  The word Halloween is a shortening of All  Hallows Evening also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve.
Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture.

We are as a country, and certainly as an area, an ethnic melting pot.  So many cultures celebrate Halloween that I do not see what the big deal is?  Now from the costumey end of it, it is a holiday in major metropolitan areas like New York City that is very attractive to those of alternative lifestyles, so I have to ask, is Phoenixville Area School District riding the discrimination bus on this?

Kids love Halloween, and these  teachers and this school district needed to get creative, not kill the holiday.

Thrift stores this time of year are LOADED to the gills with gently used costumes, so why couldn’t the Phoenixville Area School District put out a plea to ask people to donate gently used costumes?  And the kids would dress up IN school instead of coming to school in costume? That is one way to deal in a sensitive manner with the kids who can’t afford costumes.  School districts all over the country do this for prom (as in they have little events with gently used prom dresses, so those who might not be able to afford to go CAN, so why not Halloween?

Another thing they could have done was make the costumes that were acceptable kid created only and put a price on say whomever could design the best costume for under $10 dollars.  Again, the school district could have put it out there that they were accepting clean and gently used donations towards Halloween costumes.

Or they could limit the costumes to “best mask”, and they could make the masks in class.  A parade of masks and  pumpkin decorating (and again, they could put it out there to local farms and businesses to donate pumpkins and gourds to donate.)

Halloween is not only a fun childhood tradition, it is a way for children to express themselves artistically and creatively.  Often the reality of life is difficult enough for small children, so who does it hurt to let them escape reality for a few hours and just be kids dressing up?

Phoenixville is all wet  and wrong on this one.

If I had kids in this school district I would dress up and protest in front of the school district administration building on a public sidewalk and protest this decision.  Or in front of the post office (or any place that is a public sidewalk where they can’t arrest you for demonstrating.)

If I was a farmer or business owner in the area I would be delivering mounds of pumpkins to the steps of the Phoenixville Area School District building and to the front steps of the home of Superintendent Alan Fegley.

The Phoenixville Area School District Building is located at 386 City Line Avenue, Phoenixville, PA 19460. Phone number: 484-927-5000. Dr. Alan Fegley, 484-927-5010, fegleya@pasd.k12.pa.us

Is Fegley worth the $205,000 per year another blogger reports he earns? Maybe if the school district paid more realistic salaries considering the econony, it might have a couple bucks to give elementary school kids Halloween back?

And Fegley?  Dressing up for Halloween doesn’t cause sexting (you know that other issue you dealt so well with?)

Seriously, Phoenixville?  You need Operation Pumpkin Drop.  Prove this school district wrong and give the kids Halloween back.  Kids deserve to just be kids once in a while.

 

By Frank Otto fotto@journalregister.com 10/23/12

PHOENIXVILLE — Elementary school students in the Phoenixville Area School District will be celebrating a fall theme day as opposed to Halloween-centric events this year and Superintendent Alan Fegley explained why at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

Fegley said the announcement was made in the elementary school student “package” from the district in August, but he explained the district’s decision to move away from Halloween fully at the meeting.

According to Fegley, a number of the elementary schools’ principals came to him with their concerns regarding Halloween celebrations for Oct. 31.

“I approved the change for a fall-themed activity for a number of reasons,” Fegley said…“There was unhealthy competition for the costumes and treats that were being provided,” Fegley said. “I’m a competitive person, don’t get me wrong. But when it’s sitting there and making other students not feel good because they can’t afford the costume or can’t have it made, that’s something that’s just something the district just thought was not worth having to go through.”

Additionally, with the costumes and despite warnings from the school, children continued to bring in costume weapons in violation of the school’s weapons policy.

Finally, the district wanted to “honor the diverse background” of its students and open up the celebration to fall-themed events rather than Halloween because of the “controversy surrounding the religious connotations of Halloween.”

ignorance is bliss?

Every once in a while I receive a comment that deserves it’s own post.  I am about to quote one back and file it under ignorance is bliss.

I wrote a post about a story I saw in Phoenixville Patch on illegal dumping in Mont Clare.  So I wrote a post .  I write lots of posts, right?  Also in this post I commented on a story in the Pottstown Mercury  about kids who were swimming in the Schuylkill River. So I got this comment:

Jes commented on trails are for illegal dumping ?

I do! There is nothing wrong with them wading in knee high depths of water where they were. Plus it’s none of your concern.

More information about Jes

IP: 96.227.13.249, pool-96-227-13-249.phlapa.east.verizon.net E-mail: jshlbug@msn.com URL: Whois: http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/96.227.13.249

“Jes” , I am guessing, is responding specifically to this comment I made in that post:

So I looked online to see if any other media was covering this and other than something in the Pottstown-Mercury about kids from North Coventry looking for crawfish in the Schuykill and swimming who found guns instead. That was in the area of the Keim Street Bridge.   Ok also bad, and were they decontaminated after being in the river? And who the heck lets their kids swim in the river?

Well, Jes, yes I dared make a comment, and here is how I feel: telling me it is “none of my concern” to comment doesn’t quite cut it.  Every year there are stories in the papers and on the news on a state, local, regional, and national level about kids and adults who don’t know enough about large bodies of water and who drown unnecessarily.

Bringing it more local the Philadelphia region and being more specific, there are enough stories about kids drowning in the Schuylkill, that so sorry, I can indeed and will comment.

The Schuylkill is a body of water that needs to be respected and is hardly a still pond or pool.  There are currents and drop offs – wading can quickly enough become something else.  So do I think parents shouldn’t let their kids swim in the Schuylkill?  Yes.

And what happens when this no harm/no foul swimming/wading goes bad?

Check these stories  about drownings in  the  Schuylkill (and this is just a random sampling):

Drowned Reading boy pulled from Schuylkill River

Exeter Township fisherman drowns in Schuylkill River

Girl rescued from near drowning on Schuylkill River

Missing Drexel Student from NJ Found Dead in River: Police

Body of 9-year-old found in Schuylkill

Teenage girl drowns in Schuylkill

Body pulled from river identified as missing Trappe boy

Crews search for boys in river

And related to “Crews Search for boys in river” from 2003 is a highly quotable article:

Official says there was no one to rescue in Schuylkill River

“We’ve had no reports of missing persons. No one has made known to us that anyone is missing, and we’ve had no additional information,” North Coventry Police Cpl. Robert Malason said Thursday….”We don’t believe it was a hoax, because they were seen in the water by at least three separate groups,” Malason said. …..  Police theorize that the two teenage boys spotted in the river managed to get out of the fast-flowing waters themselves after jumping into the turbulent river from the Hanover Street bridge, something police say area youths do too often.

The report was that the two boys got into trouble right away, but managed to stop their ride downstream by grabbing onto large branches of a tree that had toppled close to the water, at least one witness told police.

 The witness told police he shouted at the two boys to hang on, jumped on his bike and rode quickly to the borough police station for help. By the time emergency units arrived on the scene, the boys were no longer hanging onto the tree branches.

Police had to treat the incident as though they had been swept away and possibly drowned, and so the search that involved fire companies and other emergency workers up and down the river from Pottstown to Phoenixville began.

 

First responder activity is expensive to municipalities, and I have been told these water rescue operations and even if they go from rescue to recovery are even more expensive. And there is risk involved for these first responders, you can say it is their job, but if the situation can be avoided through common sense, why not?

People do drown in the Schuylkill River.  And a lot of times the people drowning  are kids.  The Schuylkill River is also not the cleanest body of water.  Check out this thing on PhillyRiverCast:

The Schuylkill River, like all working rivers, is not a pristine body of water and is subject to contamination from many sources and activities that either discharge directly, or enter the river during rain events.

Because rivers are vulnerable to such contamination, recreation in or upon any body of water has with it an inherent risk of illness and infection for the individual involved.

And oh yes, check this out:

‘A polluter’s paradise:’ Report ranks Schuylkill and Delaware rivers poorly on chemical pollution

Published: Saturday, April 07, 2012

Despite the fact that it’s much cleaner than it used to be, the  Schuylkill River may still deserve its reputation for being polluted –  at least according to a report released March 22 that analyzes toxic  chemicals discharged into all the river systems of the United States.

In  Pennsylvania, the Schuylkill ranked as the third most polluted waterway  in the state for cumulative toxic discharges and slipped under the wire  into the 50 most polluted waterways in the nation, coming in at 49,  according to the report releases by the environmental advocacy group  PennEnvironment.

Perhaps more worrisome is that when looking at  entire watersheds, the Schuylkill River and all its tributaries  cumulatively rank 26th in the nation for “discharges of all toxic  chemicals in 2010.”….The report, titled “Wasting our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfilled promise of the Clean Water Act,”  examined industrial releases reported to the U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory for 2010, the most recent  data available.

So commenter, pardon me for the disagree, but golly gee whillikers, swimming in the Schuylkill River ain’t what it is cracked up to be.  Yes, for kids, it is a tremendous amount of fun (probably because they know they aren’t supposed to be in the river unless they are in a recreation area that has tubing and boating and similar activities), it is also dangerous.  From currents to contaminants.

Can I see this from my window?  No.  But can I comment? Yes.   Heck kids can even drown or nearly drown in large creeks.  The boy pulled from Ithan Creek in 2011 was in a coma as a result.  He suffered as a result (brain injury), and this boy and his family are fighting every day so he will get back his life. Now obviously if you read about this boy, it’s not like he had uncaring parents who did not care what he did, but accidents happen.

And if accidents like what happened to Logan Schweiter can happen in a creek, and every year you hear stories of drownings and near drownings in the Schuylkill River, why can’t people comment about this topic?

Sorry, but I think it is irresponsible to say wading or swimming in the powerful Schuylkill River outside a designated recreation area is just fine. I think it is an accident waiting to happen.

Thanks for playing chestercountyramblings.