Halloween Parade Caps Student Activism

This year, schools around Alameda got to do something different for Halloween, thanks to a group of students led by Sienna Arroyo, a 3rd grader at Bay Farm. On October 9, Sienna went to the Alameda United School District board with a group of Bay Farm students and presented a case to change the district’s policies regarding Halloween celebrations. The new policy is modeled after the policy at the Los Angeles School District, and Alameda principals have the final say on whether their school will participate.

Sienna got the idea to do this one day when she was supposed to be practicing typing. She told her mom that she would rather write a letter to the people that banned Halloween. Her mom agreed, and that led to a Halloween parade at Bay Farm School this year.

At the school board meeting, the students had strong arguments to bring Halloween back to schools.

“When there is no fun in school, kids will tune out,” Tomas Lombardo, a 7th grader, said. “When there is fun kids will be more motivated.”
Lexi Wang, a kindergartner, also pointed out that Halloween helps us “make friends by talking about costumes and finding shared interests.”
The school board was in total agreement with the kids. Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said, “People give millennials a bad rap, but it is these young people who are going to change the world.”
On Halloween at Bay Farm School, there was a great turnout of students for the school’s first Halloween parade. Even the principal, Mrs. Crawford, dressed up! During lunch, there was a great parade around the school grounds, ending with the announcement of the winners of the Pumpkin Carving Contest. Middle School students volunteered to help with the parade and keep younger kids organized.
Seventh grader Nicholas Ferguson felt “A sense of pride for our school.”
And Daniela Petersen said, “This happening was long overdue.”
After a great first Halloween parade, it is almost definitely coming back next year.

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