When you think of Halloween, most people think of candy. However, it really is a festive holiday filled with family and community bonding as well as cherished memories. It is a way for children alike to come together and bond with each other as well as for their parents to enjoy the time with their youngins. A way for neighbors, who may have never had a reason to talk before, to strike up a conversation.
It’s a holiday celebrated by all ages and is widely celebrated around the district. Therefore, it would be highly beneficial to consider a small halt to school between October 31st and November 1st. At the least, it would help our staff, students, and families to temporarily close or delay school on November 1st. While it is understood that Halloween is neither a federal nor religious holiday, it is still considered a festive holiday most of our population celebrates and closing school down for even one day, or even just incorporating a small delay, could help our district immensely.
For example, it can bring families and communities together, boost grades and student productivity, and provide a solution to a conflict bound to happen. We as students understand that education is a very fundamental aspect of our society, so we want to help ensure that it continues to be this way even after the festivities are over. For this to happen we need to look at both the positives and the negatives of the situation, and create the best outcome for both parties.
Giving students an extra two days off may seem like a disaster waiting to happen. Students are thrown off schedule, distracted from their learning environment, and unprepared for the upcoming week of school. While the problem may stand that with two extra days off and a 4 day weekend (October 29th through November 1st), students may begin to forget what happened the previous week, it is highly unlikely much work will be done within these two days in the first place. Any work that is done, especially tests and/or quizzes, is likely to have a noticeable drop in quality.
As does happen when any holiday is close, students will be distracted with their upcoming plans. Considering Halloween is also a holiday celebrated throughout the night, things will not be much different the following morning. Whether class is cancelled or still on schedule, people will continue to celebrate late into the night; rendering school the next day a bit of a waste of time. In fact, most things taught will need to be repeated the following day as it will quickly slip through our youth’s minds.
The other issue with having a full day of class the next morning is that Oregon has a history for notorious October weather, the 31st being the icing on the cake. People may claim that to solve this, students should just stay inside. However, this is a holiday and despite trying to enforce student’s to bypass it, they will still want to and most likely will celebrate. When thousands of kids are released into the freezing rain and wind for hours on end, sickness is bound to happen. Absences will flood in, and for the students who do show up, sickness will spread. This could easily be stopped by allowing students one day of recovery, to stop their colds right in it’s track after the busy holiday.
There is another issue with allowing class to resume on November 1st. Most people celebrating this holiday won’t even return home until at least 11:00pm, 10:00pm if they’re lucky. That doesn’t leave much time for a quick meal, homework, and a shower. With so much on the agenda, students will get very little sleep. No matter how hard they attempt to learn or participate, they will fall short as it is very hard to focus on a tired, still developing brain. Maybe it doesn’t seem like the most important issue. For example, many people may stay up late at night watching Netflix, causing them to become very tired and unable to participate in class the next day, but school is not cancelled for those few people. However, this is very different from that. Halloween isn’t a few people staying up late to act foolish, it’s thousands of people coming together to celebrate a holiday that matters to them. Surprisingly, it also isn’t just the students either. Teachers and parents face this exact same issue too.
While many may still argue that it is a waste of two school days, it is hard to support this argument when we are given so many days off for Thanksgiving; another widely celebrated holiday that doesn’t require as little as one day off. It focuses on family bonding, but is something that takes place in the evening. After school. So, why are we given not one, not even two, but typically three full days off of school for one dinner? Thanksgiving takes place between 3:00pm-7:00pm, whereas Halloween takes residence between 6:00pm-12:00am.
Teachers may also argue that it is a dent in their academic schedules. Whether it is for recovery or not, it is still an absence of one to two school days. However, having class would be very hard to maintain or use effectively and efficiently. Something that could accommodate both parties is again, the delay on November 1st. It doesn’t require even one day of class to be cancelled, but allows students and staff to catch up on sleep and prepare for the upcoming day. One other option would be to create a teacher grading day, as it still allows students to recover but also gives teachers the chance to catch up on grading and prepare for the next day of class.
Seems like a pretty good argument? There are a couple more things to address. Many people may claim that it will throw students off schedule, or cause them to be more goofy and inattentive. However, when is this not the case when a holiday is approaching? The truth is that there are negatives and positives. Life isn’t black and white, there are many grey areas. However, this is an issue that needs to be addressed and fixed. With parents needing their children to watch younger siblings and cousins, or needing their child to pass out candy, it is hard to say many will be left out of this national holiday. Giving our staff and students a small recovery period will allow parents to rest at ease. They won’t need to worry about their child being behind in class after returning, or at what time they’re returning home and waking up, and if they wake up. But instead will be focused on enjoying Halloween to it’s full extent, and how it’s supposed to be celebrated. With family, and together as a community.
So after hearing us out, please take both sides into consideration. This is our moment as students to stand up for what we believe in. Don’t miss out on these memories with your children, as there won’t always be time to make them.