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Halloween at the Hills in Jeopardy?

Parsippany Hills High's school board liaison reports that the annual tradition may not happen.

Each Halloween, scores of Parsippany children don costumes and visit the township high schools to enjoy candy, play games and interface with area teenagers in a safe, supervised setting. At least at Parsippany Hills High School, however, the night of fun may not take place.

Alice Lee, the Hills' Board of Education liaison reported at the Thursday school board meeting that students don't know whether the event will or won't go forward on its scheduled date, Oct. 30.

"We've been trying to get answers," said Lee. "All we've gotten are wishy-washy responses, based on what we hear from administration, the Board of Education and our advisors.

"I'm personally frustrated. I'm a senior and have participated for the last three years. Why it might be cancelled is a blur to me," she said.

Lee defended the annual holiday event.

"It's not just for the high school, but for the whole community," she said. "It doesn't make sense to me. We want a clear direction or an answer as to what's going to happen. Students are starting to find out, and it's becoming a big issue at the Hills."

Her message was reinforced during the public comment portion of the meeting when Hills student council executive board members Chase Boyle and Michael Kertesz came to the microphone to speak.

"We were told the event had been cancelled outright, and it sucked the spirit right out of us," said Boyle, adding that the Halloween event means a great deal to the students. He said he was told by school administration that the problem was a lack of participation on the part of chaperones.

Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz said he is aware of rumors swirling regarding the fate of Halloween at the Hills 2012. He said there are "significant legal issues" that need to be discussed, including the number of teachers and administrators who need to take part.

"We are working of finding out and making a decision," he said, adding that no decision has been made regarding the event. "I certainly understand how important this is to everyone at the Hills. Historically our teachers and students have worked hard to make the night what it is."

Seitz said he hopes to get more information and that a final decision on whether the event should come early next week. He added that he will make sure to check on what's happening with Halloween at the High, which is scheduled to take place at Parsippany High School on Oct. 31.

Board Vice President Frank Neglia asked what was endangering Halloween at the Hills.

"There have been rumors saying there are few volunteers to decorate and supervise the event," Seitz explained. "There are crowd control issues to be dealt with.

"We'll do our best," the superintendent said. "If we have enough [staff] to make the event go, we will."

Bill Sempier October 12, 2012 at 12:37 PM
This would be a shame if yet another tradition died. I have 2 kids that grew up here (one is a senior at the Hills now) and every year we went to the event. You can see the excitement not only in the families that come to visit but in the HS kids that put so much heart and planning into the event.
g October 12, 2012 at 02:42 PM
This is great. Let the unsupervised kids run wild in the streets.
Sick N. Tired October 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Word is the teachers union has a strangle hold on the "volunteering" and other non teacher volunteers arent permitted. They are in some sort of a dispute with the BOE and taking it out on the kids so parents get upset with the BOE. Word is there will be no powder puff football for the same reasons. The teachers are all wearing matching shirts every Friday in protest of the dispute and complaining to the students about it.
Carolyn Potter October 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I went to this even for the past 15 years with my kids...there have never been kids "running wild in the streets" It has always been a family and friends night of fun. The kids love it. The younger ones all the way up to the older ones. The kids that ran all the classroom events were fantastic! They handled themselves so well and made all the kids feel welcome. What a shame it would be to let this wonderful town tradition end just because of a few. I'm sure you could get community volunteers to come in and help out with supervision.
Davey Willans October 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Please ask if you need help. What are the changes from past years that put this event in jepordy? I am SURE that the required adult supervision can be supplied by adults and parents from the community. DO NOT let a good program die.
g October 15, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Carolyn, I was commenting abut the cancellation of the event. If the kids don't have an organized halloween party to attend, then what do they do? They become an unsupervised group and start to run wild in the street. I hope they don't cancel the event Sorry for the misunderstanding
steve revette October 15, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I agree. I'd be happy to donate my time. Halloween is a special time for my family and Halloween at the Hills is so much fun. I think it would be ignorant to not have it because the teachers won't VOLUNTEER their time when many parents and myself would be happy to give their time for an awesome event such as Halloween at the Hills.
debbie October 15, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I hope that this is not true about the Halloween at the Hills! My son who is a 5th grader loves this and so do I, also my 2 older children that attend the hills loves it as well & they help out with other clubs with there schools, and they seem to like volunteer there time and have fun with the kids that come into different classrooms in there school. I would definitely help out if they need parents. Please do not take this away from the kids of parsippany. Its bad enough that we were fighting for the hills high school to have a decent field for the athletic students to play on and walk on. Now they are taking ice cream away from the PTA and the kids and making us parents & students pay more for the horrible school lunches and not enough food for these students. I say Shame on You BOE and Pompotian as well!!!!
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