For children at Bruce Vento Elementary in Saint Paul, Minnesota, all those Valentine's Day cards and candies will have to wait until after school. Principal Scott Masini sent a letter to parents this week announcing that the school will not be taking part in the holiday any longer, in the interest of being more culturally inclusive.
“I have come to the difficult decision to discontinue the celebration of the dominant holidays until we can come to a better understanding of how the dominant view will suppress someone else’s view,” the principal wrote, according to local CBS affiliate WCCO.
On its website, Bruce Vento Elementary School proudly notes that 63 percent of its student population identify as Asian-American, 24 percent as African-American, 10 percent as Hispanic-American and 4 percent as Caucasian. In Masini's letter — which raises the idea of also nixing other culturally specific holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas — the principal expressed a desire to be more welcoming and inclusive to all of the cultures represented in the school.
Many parents, and a few pundits, have complained that the move toward more political correctness is an unnecessary one, but in a statement to the Star-Tribune, Saint Paul Public Schools seemed to defend Masini's ban.
“Because Saint Paul Public Schools is a diverse district that is filled with families from around the world, we strive to respect all cultures and all students,” they wrote. “We recognize that not every student celebrates or participates in some or all holidays. We have a board policy that discourages programs and festivities that celebrate observances unless they are required by law.”
Still, many parents said the school's priorities should lie elsewhere.
“It seems to me that that shouldn’t be the main issue that we should be talking about in Saint Paul Public Schools,” parent William Moore told WCCO. "I still want to know how well they’re doing in educating our kids. I think that’s the No. 1 issue, and they should be laser-focused on all the things that they need to do to get our kids that are in our Saint Paul public schools educated.”