TORONTO, October 28, 2005 ( – The Toronto School Board warned its schools that Halloween as it is traditionally celebrated may offend Wiccans, even suggesting that to a Wiccan unused to the event, it might be experienced as a “traumatic shock.”

In a memo to teachers and principals, the board claimed, “Many recently arrived students in our schools share absolutely none of the background cultural knowledge that is necessary to view ‘trick or treating,’ the commercialization of death, the Christian sexist demonization of pagan religious beliefs, as ‘fun.’”

Citing that Halloween is a breach of its “equitable schools policies,” the board, in its memo titled Halloween at TDSB Schools: Scarrrrrry Stufff, warned that “some students and their parents/ guardians might experience their first Halloween not as a ‘strange surprise,’ but [as] a ‘traumatic shock,’” adding that “Halloween is a religious day of significance for Wiccans and therefore should be treated respectfully.”

Society for Quality Education executive director Doretta Wilson told the Globe, “This is unbelievable. I’m sorry I’m laughing because it’s so funny to read this thing. I just think it’s taking political correctness to a ridiculous extreme,” she added.

Wilson said, “It’s almost as if it’s not politically correct to be a Christian nowadays in our country.” Wilson also questioned to what degree Wicca is represented in the student population.

The Toronto School Board, one of the largest in Canada, has been notable for other controversial policies. In 1994, it rejected requests from Muslim and other parents to have their elementary school children exempted from the board’s mandatory “anti-homophobia education” sessions.

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