NORTHBOROUGH – The parade is back on.
After community members spoke out against a decision not to allow the Halloween costume parade to take place during the school day, Northborough school officials announced that the parade will take place at the elementary schools this year.
According to a message from Superintendent Greg Martineau to families Oct. 6, the parade will take place during the first 20 minutes of the school day. Additionally, there will be alternatives for students who don’t want to participate.
During the Oct. 4 Northborough School Committee meeting, Martineau said that last year 12% of elementary students didn’t participate in the parade for reasons such as being scared of costumes, being anxious about marching in a parade and Halloween not aligned with the family’s beliefs.
He also said that the parade “consumed” an educator’s entire afternoon to get the students organized and in their costumes.
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The School Committee asked Martineau to reconsider the decision.
In his communication to families, Martineau said that he and the principals read the emails from parents and Northborough residents.
“With the feedback we received, we recognize that, with this decision, the District did not seek input and share its process with families,” he wrote. “We acknowledge the importance of engaging families in the discussions around the parade.”
He said a “yes and” approach was taken when having the parade to ensure that students would have options if they didn’t participate and the parade wouldn’t consume an afternoon, but also students and families that enjoyed it could continue the tradition.
“I appreciate the Northborough parents’ and citizens’ feedback and those who communicated their perspectives respectfully, thoughtfully, and civilly. The principals and I do listen and value feedback,” Martineau said.