Austin Public Schools cancels holiday celebrations

No Holiday Festivities at Austin Public Schools

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(ABC 6 News) – With Valentine’s Day coming up next month, Austin Public Schools says the district will no longer be celebrating the holiday at school.

In an effort to be more considerate and inclusive of all the diverse backgrounds that make up the student body, APS will do away will all holiday celebrations.

With Christmas and New Year’s behind us, the walls stand bare at Austin Public Schools.

“They were taking down their Christmas decorations, and I asked them if they were gonna put up any holiday like for Valentine’s Day and they said they weren’t allowed to,” said high school junior Alyssa Valsaty.

Many remember Valentine’s Day as a child fondly, from making boxes and delivering cards to your classmates, to enjoying a break from learning with some special treats.

In an email to Austin parents, the school district said those types of celebrations are a thing of the past.

“I think it’s just cause some people don’t celebrate certain holidays, and so they think it’s wrong to put up decorations and celebrate stuff like that,” said high school junior, Kate Fox.

APS Superintendent Joey Page provided ABC 6 with a statement saying:

“Recognizing our community’s diverse family structures and cultures, we want to ensure every child feels included and comfortable in the classroom. By refraining from specific holiday celebrations, we hope to promote a sense of belonging for all and to adhere to Policy 609.  In addition, we want to maintain consistency across our school sites since not all schools were handling holidays in the same manner.  While traditional holiday celebrations are being discontinued, it is important to note that the school district remains dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating student and school achievements, whether academic, curricular, or extra-curricular.”

However, some parents say removing all traditional holiday celebrations doesn’t feel inclusive.

As for the students, they say they’re going to miss having something to look forward to.

“I feel like we did it a lot during elementary, and it’s weird not doing it in high school,” said Valsaty.

“Yeah, I would like to do it cause it makes school kinda fun,” said Fox.

To replace traditional holiday celebrations, APS is introducing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support, which will be scheduled throughout the year and are meant to foster a more positive and inclusive environment for all.