Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, January 28, 2016
Celebrations of Valentine’s Day and the other “dominant holidays” are ending at one St. Paul elementary school, according to a letter from the principal addressed to families.
Principal Scott Masini of Bruce Vento Elementary School, whose student body is overwhelmingly nonwhite, explained in the letter that “my personal feeling is we need to find a way to honor and engage in holidays that are inclusive of our student population.”
With Valentine’s Day a little more than two weeks away, Masini noted, “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.”
Masini said there will be no cards or treats brought to school to mark Valentine’s Day.
The letter listed the holidays that the East Side school will no longer celebrate as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Masini said the decision was made in consultation with his staff.
“One of the concerns that I have,” Masini wrote, “. . . is whether or not this practice is encroaching on the educational opportunities of others and threatening the culture of tolerance and respect for all.”
According to the latest state demographic data, the student body at Bruce Vento school is 52.3 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 35.4 percent black, 6.9 percent Hispanic, 4.3 percent white and 1 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native. More than half the students are learning English as a second language, data show.