by Ashley Phosphate
Greenville – School district officials and church leaders today announced that the entire Upstate of South Carolina will not participate in Halloween activities.
Citing a concern about witchcraft, gay-oriented television shows and declining math scores across the state, leaders confirmed that local law enforcement, school officials and clergy will work together to get the word out that the Upstate will be Halloween-free in 2009.
“We saw that the kids were becoming increasingly drawn in by the occult, with their Ozzies and their Draculas, and their other gruesome costumes and we knew we had to do something,” said Andrew Freely of Greenville’s First Baptist. Freely contacted Greenville school district’s superintendent and announced that local clergy were fully behind an end to Halloween activities this year and in the future. Freely’s organization, Halloween Leads to Hellbound Youth, spoke before two different school board meetings and packed the audience with supporters from around the Upstate.
School superintendent, Dr. Rodney Schott said that the community’s fears are accurate. “We see everyday that the kids in the Upstate come to school with a lack of respect for their teachers and the curriculum and we know that the culture is shaping these attitudes. Anything that reshapes our culture away from the gory and the gruesome and towards the wholesome and the educational is something that Greenville county schools supports.”
Some children and their parents aren’t so sure. “We just bought some of those illegal alien costumes the other day at Target and now we’re not supposed to go out trick or treating,” said Hubert O’Connel, owner of a local convenience store and an outspoken critic of the Halloween ban. “We’ve had bans in the Upstate before, but this is just bull. Kids should be able to go out and get candy without a bunch of nanny-state do-gooders trying to kill all the fun,” he said.
Freely disagrees with opponents of the ban. “What we’ve seen is that the more kids watch TV, and because so much of it is horror-oriented, the lower their standardized scores are. This is just a win-win situation, and I’m sorry that some non-churchgoers are trying to disrupt the ban.”
Greenville county sheriff Thad Dewit said that state law prohibits him from arresting young trick-or-treaters but that concerned residents who call about ‘trespassers’ will see police usher the youngsters off of private property and onto roads. “After that, they’re not our problem until there’s an accident,” he said.