US schools ban Squid Game costumes due to ‘potential violent nature’ of show

‘A Halloween costume from this show does not meet our school costume guidelines due to the potential violent message’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 27 October 2021 17:30
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A school district outside Syracuse in upstate New York has banned Squid Game costumes from its three elementary schools.

The principals of Mott Road, Enders Road, and Fayetteville Elementary schools said in an email to parents that they should talk to their kids about the show and its implications.

“We have observed that some students at recess have been playing a version of the Squid Game which is intended for mature audiences, ages 16 and older,” the letter to Mott Road Elementary School parents said. “Due to concerns about the potential violent nature of the game, it is inappropriate for recess play or discussion at school. Additionally, a Halloween costume from this show does not meet our school costume guidelines due to the potential violent message aligned with the costume.”

Parents have been advised to speak to their children about the show if they are aware of it and to tell them that it’s inappropriate to play a version of the game or to talk about it while at school.

Dr Craig Tice, the superintendent of the Fayetteville school district said in a statement to CNYCentral on Tuesday: “Each October, our elementary principals remind our families about our guidelines for Halloween costumes, namely that no items that can be interpreted as weapons should be brought to school, such as toy swords or guns, and that costumes should not be too gory or scary so as not to scare our younger students.”

He added that “once again” there will be no Halloween parades this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Tice said that members of staff have recently noticed that some students have been “mimicking games” from Squid Game, the Netflix show that he notes is “intended for mature audiences due to the violence depicted in the show”.

He said the games played during recess prompted the principals at the schools to reach out to parents to make them “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”.

The superintendent added that the principals wanted parents to know “that some of our younger students are talking about and mimicking aspects of the show” while at school to give parents “the opportunity to speak with their children themselves about it and reinforce the school message that games associated with violent behaviour are not appropriate for recess”.

The South Korean Netflix show depicts people in debt and low on funds being invited to play a series of children’s games, but with the fatal twists that the losers are killed. The show became the streaming service’s biggest launch, with 111 million people watching the show after its September release.

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