An Ontario school board is asking parents to ensure their children’s Halloween costumes aren’t offensive or disrespectful in any way.
If a child’s costume references cultures other than their own, such as a turban, a kimono, or a feather headdress, it joins a list of inappropriate attire for the night of horror.
If a costume “mocks” transgender people, or is it based on “tragic or violent historical moments,” such as “slavery” or “cowboy and Indian” roleplay, it most definitely misses the mark. The same goes for embodying “stereotypes” such as “terrorist” or “urban ghetto dweller,” according to the school board, who’ve asked parents to reconsider these items.
In an email, entitled Is My Costume Appropriate?, Conseil scolaire Viamonde, a publicly funded French school board writes that children should be considerate of the diverse student population.
“Sometimes, even with good intent, or even without fully realizing it, people wear costumes that can make others feel upset, insulted or humiliated,” the board stated. “Certain themes are touchy spots for members of our community and we want to show them kindness.”
The outline comes amid debates of whether costume-policing is violating free expression.
Wow this country has lost it! Everything offends someone! I’m offended we can’t engage in timeless cultural events in our country!
— J. Chuck Ibey (@1223Chuck) October 12, 2017
Pathetic PC world we live in
— The Dented Can (@TheDentedCan) October 11, 2017
But supporters say that costumes crossing the line into sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia or cultural appropriation should be completely banned.
While it isn’t new for schools to issue guidelines around Halloween, particularly when it comes to the glorification of weapons — the Ontario school board is making political sensitivity a priority.