Recently, McCornack Elementary School in Oregon decided to cancel Valentine’s Day. Salemwood Elementary School in Massachusetts did the same, stating that they are trying to ensure a diverse yet equitable setting where no students or cultures are excluded. But if these same schools allow their students to wear green to celebrate a holiday notorious for heavy drinking and pinching, I believe we should commemorate Valentine’s Day as well.
People usually associate Valentine’s Day with celebrating romantic love, and in doing so, disregard the importance of the holiday for those who do not have a significant other. Many forget that love can take many different forms; this human feeling is not just reserved for couples going out on Friday nights. Love represents the deep affection we share with our parents, siblings, friends and even pets. Valentine’s Day is a time to appreciate those in your life that you care for, not a moment to wallow in your own self-pity because you are convinced you are doomed to be a spinster with 13 cats, forever alone.
So what is so wrong about celebrating such a positive emotion? If school administrators are worried that students’ caloric intake for that day will be higher than usual, what with all the students giving out chocolates and candy hearts, then I should point out that Halloween already has the feat of drowning students in sweets covered. If parents are instead concerned that their child’s feelings might get hurt if he does not receive a Valentine card when everyone else does, then I guess Christmas should be banned as well, because I can name a few people who didn’t give me a gift while my other friends received one.
I think the real problem is that we have become so hypersensitive in trying to be politically correct that in the end, we are depriving students from embracing what makes each person special. Valentine’s Day is not meant to alienate. In fact, celebrating has the opposite effect. Whether you choose to give out chocolates, bake, give out punny Valentine cards, or just wear red or pink, you are fostering camaraderie; you are taking part in these traditions with everyone else and building school spirit.
Most importantly, the holiday has become a respite from the hardships of School. Even if the gift-giving only lasts a few minutes, next period’s math test or English essay suddenly seems distant when you indulge in what could perhaps be considered an excessive amount of delicious red velvet cupcakes. It is these moments of fun and appreciation for the people in my life that get me through arduous days of test-taking and nights of heavy homework.