Florida students try to petition school after Halloween

Lily Belcher, Staff Writer

The Hillsborough County School Board has responded to a petition created online by students regarding school on the day after Halloween, November 1st

Students from Hillsborough, Polk, and Pasco county each began a petition on change.org proposing that students should not have to go to school after Halloween and a night of Trick-or-Treating. The Hillsborough county petition has nearly 60,000 signatures to, as the petition states, “Get no school after [H]alloween so we can turn up with our homies.”

The Polk County petition, begun by Moises Rodriguez, had more formal phrasing, explaining that holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving each have weeks off, and asking for one day off for Halloween isn’t too much to ask. 

Ja-Leo Boswell, a sophomore at Durant who signed the petition said, “Nobody’s gonna be feeling good cause they eat a lot of candy or are gonna get themselves sick or are gonna party and stay up late until like 3 o’clock in the morning.”

Many students agreed with Boswell explaining they can’t function at school if they are “hung over on candy.”  Another student signed the petition because the school board has already cancelled early release days for the rest of the first semester due to Hurricane Dorian. 

Emily Daugherty commented in favor of the petition saying, “I’m signing this petition because I believe that Halloween is a night to live it up! And how we gonna do that when we have school the next day and homework to do that night also[?] This petition is great [because] I really think that we should have the day after Halloween off!”

However, the school boards from each county have responded to the student led petitions.  

The post from the Polk County School Board reads “We respect the spirit of grassroots activism behind the petition…Unfortunately, our yearly school calendar is set well in advance, and barring an emergency, we cannot close schools on short notice.”  

Christine Lybbert, one of the Spanish teachers at Durant, says the school board’s response was “absolutely” appropriate because of the required time students need to come to school. 

The school board responded to another student comment claiming that students will be sick from eating candy saying, “Our school nurses will be ready to assist you with any candy-related ailments when you return… on Friday.”

Principle Gary Graham says he does not support the petition but says “I don’t think [the petition] was inappropriate. I think there is a form for student voice all the time.”

Mrs. Lybbert agreed with Mr. Graham, saying “We have a right to ask. I learned a long time ago that if you never ask the answer is always going to be no.”

The students’ efforts are applauded, however, some issues-such as school attendance-are not negotiable. But, echoing Mrs. Lybbert’s take on the matter, it never hurts to ask.