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What do you think about schools that are changing or banning traditional Valentine's Day celebrations?
February 14, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Schools Replace Valentine's Day With Friendship Parties & Where's the Fun in That?

Posted by Ericka Sóuter on February 14, 2013

A lot of things have changed since the time we were kids. There are about a million cable channels, cartoons on 24 hours a day, and don't get me started on iPads so user-friendly toddlers own them. But some things have changed that I never thought would. Specifically, Valentine's Day. These days, traditional Valentine's celebrations are being replaced with "Friendship Parties" in some schools and others are even banning the festivities completely.

For some kids, gone are the days of buying those cute little Snoopy or Spider-Man Valentine's cards, then filling them out for each kid in the class. I remember being so excited about handing them out and getting a stack of my own in return. Some years, the teacher would ask us to bring in shoe boxes to decorate with hearts and things in order to collect our cupid-inspired haul.

But this year, 24 schools across the country are experimenting with Friendship Parties instead. The goal is to encourage kids to be good to their friends and talk about caring and sharing. They still acknowledge that it is Valentine's Day, said one principal, but they make the day about recognizing each other as friends and how we should treat our friends.

I think that is a very wonderful and admirable notion -- but isn't that something schools should be encouraging every day anyway? I like the idea of an old-fashioned Valentine's party with the room decorated with red hearts and heart-shaped cookies and candy treats being passed around. Not because it encourages romance or love, per se. It's just a fun, colorful, and sweet holiday to share with our kids.

But I have to say, these friendship parties are better than nothing. There are some schools that don't even acknowledge the day at all. My son is in one of them. They actually don't celebrate any holiday there. When I first heard this, I was totally taken by surprise. My heart ached a little knowing that he would never walk in the door with a card he made for mommy for Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, or Christmas. In every other way, it is the perfect place for little kids to learn and grow. But in the end, I realized that just because a school doesn't do it doesn't mean we can't celebrate the day ourselves. So when these holidays come around, we put on our own cookie decorating party and invite his classmates over. It may not be as great as the school parties that I remember, but it still makes the day special for him.

What do you think about schools that are changing or banning traditional Valentine's Day celebrations?


  • imafuswb
    February 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM
    I think it's completely moronic of these schools, that's what.
  • LucyHarper
    February 14, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I'm confused on why they would find it necessary to make a change, since thats basically what it is in schools anyway. Its not like the children are exchanging valentines because they are romantically involved with each other.

  • anyotherday
    February 14, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    I think friendship days are a perfect idea. Elementary school is too young for the romance aspect of valentines day, and what is friendship if not love? I love it.

  • Thelmama
    February 14, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I think people take the banning of such parties, too far.  My family and I don't really do Halloween, but we don't object to parties and what not at school.  I also find alternatives so my kids get to dress up, have fun and get some candy. But I think banning halloween parties would be going too far.

    February 14, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    I think it is a good thing to dial back on all the sugar and silliness of the "holiday." In my DDs classroom the teacher does very little with holidays. She goes to a Montessori school and instead of a traditional type of Valentine's party they are making pink smoothies, wearing felt hearts that represent their "love light," something that they speak about often in the classroom. In general her class learns about and talks about peace and gratitude. I prefer this.

  • Anonymous 1
    by Anonymous 1
    February 14, 2013 at 3:58 PM
    I dont see the point of parties at school. School should be for learning, period.
  • happinessforyou
    February 14, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Are these the same stupid people who have changed Christmas party to Winter Celebration? Easter Break to Spring Break? Thanksgiving Break to Fall Break?? SMDH....

  • TerriAnne2606
    February 14, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Well.. we are Jewish and I was a bit stunned to realize they don't celebrate Valentine's Day as I never really associated it with a particular faith or religion despite the fact I realize / know WHAT and WHO it was named after.  I had even ordered some ADORABLE Valentine's cards.  Now what do I do with them?? LOL

    For those that are wondering - I converted after I met my husband.  Took me a while, but prior to our daughter being born, I completed the classes and finalized everything.  The Jewish faith passes through the mom.  

  • Anonymous 2
    by Anonymous 2
    February 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    I for one hated, absolutely hated, Valentines Day at School - we all had decorated boxes on our desks and the teacher made us put our heads down on the desk, cover our eyes, and one by one we had to go around and drop those "penny" valentines into the boxes.  It was find, execpt sometimes, you would hear the footstep but there would be no sound of drop in the box.  So someone didn't like you, that sucks when you are 5, or 9, or 16(ok maybe that's a bit much) for that matter.

    We didn't have to open the boxes, we took them home.  Sure, opening the box in front of your mother was soooooooo much easier.  35 kids in the class, you got 22 valentines, Great! 

    Finally, in 6th grade, the teacher said no more valentines in class - instead everyone bring 5 valentines and we will be sending them to some special people.  We addressed them to servicemen, sailors, soldiers, marines, air force, whatever.....she got the list from somewhere and we had a great time doing them and sending them.  I don't know if they ever got there, but I'm sure some of them got a big laugh at the "penny" valentine from a grade school kid.  Even the guys in my class were great about it and thought it was cool.  And only the teacher gave out valentines to all of us - and that was a better feeling all around.

    I think that is how it should be - teachers can give "penny" cards, maybe moms can make cookies so everyone gets one or two, and they can send greetings to kids in hospitals, or elderly people, or servicemen. Or how about the local police or fire dept.  then there is no bullying, no left out kids and no hurt feelings.

  • MrS.GiFFord
    February 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Did you think that way as a kid too?

    Quoting Anonymous:

    I dont see the point of parties at school. School should be for learning, period.

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