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Equity and Inclusive Education: Halloween Costume Selection

The Halton Catholic District School Board is committed to creating and supporting a positive climate in each of our school communities, that fosters and promotes equity, inclusivity and celebrates diversity. We recognize that all people are created equal, in the image of God, each with inimitable characteristics deserving of dignity.

Ensuring equity is a central goal of Ontario’s publicly funded education system, as set out in Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario (2014). It stems from a fundamental principle that every student should have the opportunity to succeed personally and academically, regardless of background, identity or personal circumstances. While important in and of itself, equity is also necessary to realizing all other elements of our renewed vision, from achieving excellence, to promoting well-being, and enhancing public confidence in our education system. It is a critical component of our commitment to the success of every student and child in Ontario.  Ontario’s Education Equity Plan, 2017 Pg. 3.

Halloween is a great time to dress up and have fun with costumes. There are endless possibilities for what children (and adults) can be for Halloween. A shark, a wizard, a clown, a crime-fighting cartoon puppy, a banana, a giant hot dog, a Minecraft character, even a velociraptor!  However, another person’s culture should never be our costume.

St. Peter CES is a place where students not only learn about diversity but also experience it. We strive to ensure that our students see themselves and their classmates reflected in their studies. Our students and families should expect their interactions within our school community to leave them feeling accepted for who they are.

As you select a Halloween costume, we encourage everyone to reflect critically, be mindful of cultural appropriation and create welcoming school environments for all.

The following are suggested questions to reflect on with your child when choosing a costume.  Your conversations at home on this topic directly help to support our school’s efforts to create and maintain an equitable and inclusive learning environment:

  • Is my costume making fun of a group of people, their culture or religion?
  • Does my costume reinforce jokes and stereotypes about certain groups, cultures or religions?
  • Am I altering my skin colour, facial/body features to make them more like a particular race, ethnicity, or cultural group?
  • Am I dressing up as a culture or borrowing from a religion that is not my own or is not part of my background?
  • Do I understand and respect the history or tradition of the culture that I am borrowing my costume from?

To learn more about the Halton Catholic District School Board’s commitment to Equity and Inclusive Education, please visit https://www.hcdsb.org/Board/Equity/Pages/default.aspx

To learn more about Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, click here.

Unity does not imply uniformity; it does not necessarily mean doing everything together or thinking in the same way. Nor does it signify a loss of identity. Unity in diversity is actually the opposite: it involves the joyful recognition and acceptance of the various gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to each one and the placing of these gifts at the service of all members of the Church. It means knowing how to listen, to accept differences, and having the freedom to think differently and express oneself with complete respect towards the other who is my brother or sister. Pope Francis

Demeris, TrevorEquity and Inclusive Education: Halloween Costume Selection