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HAMPDEN TWP. — Students at a Cumberland Valley School District elementary school will not be dressing up for Halloween this year.

Sporting Hill Elementary School sent a note home to parents late last week, saying officials made the decision because “safety is a top priority” for students.

The school has also canceled the parade portion of its fall festival for the same reason.

Tracy Panzer, communications specialist with the district, said the school recognizes the educational value of the season, but safety is paramount.

“We recognize that the education about, and celebration of, seasonal festivals is an important aspect of the elementary setting,” she said. “However, we must do so in a manner that is safe and appropriate for all children.”

Panzer said over the last decade, many of the elementary schools in the district have been transitioning from a traditional Halloween celebration to a fall festival, which allows the school and students to celebrate the fall season while maintaining safety in both costumes and protection of school buildings. She said it is a reflection of the district’s sensitivity to all traditions and inclusiveness on behalf of all children and protection of educational classroom time.

“While we continue to celebrate the fall season, we are able to regain educational classroom time that is lost due to the time required for children to change into and out of their costumes,” Panzer said. “We recognize that the chance to dress up allows students the opportunity to express individual creativity and imagination. Therefore, we provide dress-up opportunities throughout the year that are tied to instructional components of the classroom. Such opportunities for creative play include spirit days, Read Across America Week where children are encouraged to dress as one of their favorite Dr. Seuss characters, and Readers Theater, which is a literacy-based activity where children portray characters in a piece of literature.”

Students told abc27 they are disappointed they won’t be dressing up this year.

“I liked wearing our costumes because if you read the book ‘August,’ he wears his costume and feels like a normal kid for once,” fifth-grader Braden Mercer said.

“Because not everybody lives in your neighborhood, so you don’t get to see what other people are,” fifth-grader Peyton Libelberger said.


Posted earlier from abc27:

MECHANICSBURG - A Cumberland Valley School District elementary school is banning costumes in the classroom this Halloween.

Sporting Hill Elementary in Hampden Township sent a note home late last week, saying they made the decision because "safety is a top priority" for students.

The school has also canceled the parade portion of their fall festival for the same reason.

Students told abc27 they are disappointed they won't be dressing up this year.

"I liked wearing our costumes because if you read the book 'august,' he wears his costume and feels like a normal kid for once," 5th grader Braden Mercer said.

"Because not everybody lives in your neighborhood, so you don't get to see what other people are," 5th grader Peyton Libelberger said.

When contacted Wednesday for comment, Sporting Hill's principal directed abc27 to the district spokesperson, but an assistant said she is out of the office for the week.

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