Should Valentine's Day Be Celebrated at School?

Dear Dr. Linda,

I’ve been a third-grade teacher for over 20 years and have never allowed my students to celebrate Valentine’s Day in my class. I know my colleagues think I’m mean, but I’m refusing to celebrate it for many reasons.

1) Children hand out cards to each other and there’s always some child left out or who gets very few; 2) Children are always asked to write a Valentine card during class for their mother and father. My mother and father died when I was young, so every year, creating those cards was like torture for me; 3) It’s a day of make-believe “love.” If you want to share the day with a loved one, it doesn’t have to be broadcast all over. All that does is make the person who doesn’t get the card or box of candy feel bad; and 4) I’m not wasting an entire day on this silly holiday.

Sign Up for E-News

A good friend of mine thinks I’m 100 percent wrong. What’s your opinion?


Dear Barbara,

I do understand where you’re coming from. Holidays can be a sad and stressful time for many people, especially if they have just lost a loved one or are separated from loved ones. It’s obviously a sad day for you. But the children in your class aren’t coming from your point of view.

For the most part, children like parties, and if they know that their friends in other classes are having a Valentine party and getting cards and probably cupcakes and candy—and they’re not—that’s sad, too.

Does this mean that you must celebrate every holiday that comes along? Of course not, but if most of the children in your school are going home on Valentine’s Day with a bag full of goodies and your students are not, then you must consider what will be “sadder” for them. Remember, school is a place where children learn many things, not only academics. Kids need to grow socially and emotionally as well as academically, in a safe place.

The good news is that you have the power to reduce the negatives. By now, you should know whether there are children in your class who have special circumstances, such as yours, where parents are absent. You can’t change that, but you can decide in advance how the instructions are given, such as having children who have alternative family situations make cards for those adults who are important to them. And you can control the card-giving part by making “rules” so that no child is left out (or asking other teacher friends how they’ve done it in the past). Some teachers manage this by having their classes suggest rules. You’ll be surprised at how many good suggestions will be presented. Kids are usually more attuned to what’s fair than adults—they’re creative and great problem solvers when given the opportunity.

School is not just a place where facts are crammed into brains so that students get high SAT scores or get into the best colleges. Its goal is to produce lifelong learners, problem solvers and creative thinkers. It’s a place where students learn perseverance and resilience. They learn how to respect each other’s opinions and lifestyles. School is an opportunity for students to learn and explore various subjects on their way to eventually finding lifestyles and lines of work that they enjoy.

So, you have a choice. You can harbor negative feelings about Valentine’s Day based on your own experience and project them onto your students or you can put a spin on the day that will bring fun and happiness into your classroom. I’ll bet you’ll bring fun and healing into your own heart, too.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dr. Linda is co-author of “Why Bad Grades Happen to Good Kids,” and director of Strong Learning Tutoring and SAT/ACT Test Prep. Send your questions to

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Cuomo Shores Up His Left Flank (at Our Expense)

We keep hearing how the Republicans are bought and paid for by the NRA. I recently explained to you the truth about this myth. The reality is the Democrats are the ones who are bought and paid for. Not by the NRA, but the environmentalists.

You thought I was going to say public sector unions, didn’t you? Well, they own both parties in New York. However, the environmentalists pull the ...

Appreciating Two Amazing Role Models

As difficult as this winter has been with the power outages and stormy weather, it pales in comparison to my overwhelming sense of dread as I prepared for the 20th anniversary of my mother’s passing on March 20. On that day, I know my mind will inevitably flash back to her last painful hours, when she valiantly struggled just to stay alive. Yet, I’m equally certain I will remember the ...

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son ...

Storm Aftermath and Update

March 22, 2018

During my travels throughout the storm and its aftermath, I had the opportunity of seeing firsthand how hard our town employees worked on behalf of the residents of Yorktown, whether riding with the Highway Department while they were plowing the roads, assisting at the YCCC warming facility, working with the staff at the Town Emergency Operations Center, bringing food to residents at Beaver Ridge ...

A Half-Baked Column

“I think it’s time we retired this oven,” I said to my husband as I displayed a sheet of blackened sweet potato fries. “Even the dog won’t eat these.”

“Sure he will,” he said, tossing some fries on the floor. The dog immediately sucked them down.

“Not my point,” I said.

We had known that our oven was on its last burners for ...

Read Across America With Dr. Seuss

Dear Dr. Linda,

I’m a school librarian and I wanted to remind your readers that March 2 was “Read Across America Day.”  Teachers, librarians and others who read with children encourage schools, libraries and parents to celebrate this day with their children. This special date was chosen because it is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the adored children’s author. That ...

Thanks for All You Do

March 22, 2018

To the editor,

I am writing to tell you how much we enjoy receiving the weekly Yorktown News. It is a consistent source of local news, new business, opinions and sports.

We recently had no power for seven days due to the storms, and regularly monitored Yorktown News’ Twitter page for town updates. Your team demonstrated its dedication by issuing an edition despite the lack of power ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

OAC Steamer Co. Firehouse, Ossining

2018 Living Art Event

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, March 24, 12:00 PM

Club Fit, Jefferson Valley

Yoga for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Seton Holds First Social Fundraiser

March 14, 2018

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton school, 1375 East Main St., Shrub Oak will be hosting it's first ever Social Fundraiser on Friday, May 4th, 2018 in the Seton school gym.  Seton extends it's invitation to all to join in a night of food, fun, and dozens of raffles and silent auctions.  Entry tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets purchased by April 6th will be $35 per person; ...