An Ontario school board is providing some politically correct advice for parents this Halloween, the Globe and Mail reports. In a letter from the publicly-funded Conseil scolaire Viamonde board, parents are asked “Is My Costume Appropriate?” If they aren’t sure, the board is prepared to tell them whether it is or not.
The board is responsible for a large swath of French-language schools in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.
Included on the list of don’ts are depictions of terrorists, “urban ghetto dwellers,” cowboys and Indians, anything that requires makeup to change the color of a child’s skin, something that might “mock” the transgender and any form of cultural appropriation such as the wearing of First Nation war bonnets, turbans or Japanese kimonos.
A costume that might “represent a stereotype” is also out.
If children are sufficiently insensitive to choose a traditional Halloween costume, the school board urges parents to take a sober second look their child’s selection.
The plea for extreme cultural sensitivity was sent last Friday and warns parents that purportedly inappropriate costumes are a form of microaggression:
“Sometimes, even with good intent, or even without fully realizing it, people wear costumes that can make others feel upset, insulted or humiliated,” the letter informs. “Certain themes are touchy spots for members of our community and we want to show them kindness.”
Board spokeswoman Claire Francoeur claims the letter has been a true revelation for many parents who confessed ignorance over how a Halloween costume can provoke individual offense.
“We are trying to be really inclusive for everyone,” she told the Globe and Mail. “It is important to be respectful each and every day of the year, not just 364 days and giving up our duty of being respectful on Halloween.”
Although it is not uncommon for schools to tell students not to bring toy weapons to school, this school board’s long list of offending costumes may well be unique.