Schools Are Banning Squid Game Costumes

Upstate NY district cites 'potential violent messages'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2021 10:40 AM CDT
Schools Are Banning Squid Game Costumes
Attendees dressed as characters from "Squid Game" pose during New York's Comic Con at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Oct. 8, 2021, in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

While traditional Halloween costume inspirations like vampires, pirates, and Batman aren't known for their nonviolent tendencies, elementary schools in upstate New York have decided that Squid Game costumes are a step too far. At least three schools in the region have banned costumes inspired by the hit South Korean Netflix show. Parents were informed of the policy in an email. Fayetteville-Manlius School District Superintendent Dr. Craig Tice said in a statement to CBS News that the district "wanted to make sure our families are aware that it would be inappropriate for any student to wear to school a Halloween costume from this show because of the potential violent messages aligned with the costume."

Tice said district policy bans items "that can be interpreted as weapons," including toy swords and guns, as well as "gory and scary" costumes that could scare younger students. In Squid Game, debt-ridden contestants play South Korean schoolyard games, including the "squid game" itself, for a chance to win around $40 million. The losers are killed. Tice said staff members have seen children playing games from the show, and principals want to "reinforce the school message that games associated with violent behavior are not appropriate for recess."

CBS New York reports that some parents have called the ban "overbearing." Dr. Joseph Ricca, superintendent of New York's White Plains Public Schools, says Squid Game costumes won't be banned in district schools because "it's hard to single out one particular type of costume and say that's not allowed," though the district is concerned about children watching the show and mimicking violent scenes from it. Netflix says the show is intended for mature audiences and parents have a "wide variety of parental controls to make the appropriate choices for their families," per People. (In 2018, an Idaho school district apologized after staff members dressed up as a border wall.)

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