Rockburn Elementary PTA President Resigns After Halloween Parade Flap

Rockburn Elementary School became divided over the lack of a Halloween parade this year, said former PTA president.

Unlike other elementary schools in Elkridge, Rockburn didn’t have a parade for Halloween. As a result, it also doesn’t have a PTA president.

In the wake of criticism about the school’s decision to do away with the parade, PTA President Loren Agrusti resigned her position.

She said she decided to resign as a result of publicity from a school announcement being published. The announcement was published on

“Based upon the tones in the , it affected me personally and it affected my family," explained Agrusti, who is a childcare advocate by profession.

“My third grader was getting grief on the playground that her mom canceled Halloween,” said Agrusti, who maintained that the decision was not a PTA issue.

“It was a very tough decision," Agrusti said. “I’ve been active in the school for over 11 years."

It was her third year serving as president despite a two-year limit, she said, because no one stepped forward in the PTA election last January.

Vice President Barry Polinsky will step in as interim PTA president until Nov. 9 when a special election will be held.

Polinsky told Patch that students were still having parties on Halloween but there would be no parade. He spoke during the at Rockburn on Oct. 29, an event the PTA sponsored.

“The classes are still celebrating,” Agrusti added. “What was done away with was the parade. Halloween was never canceled."

Rockburn Principal Lauren Bauer told Patch, “I’ve never really experienced anything like that, where parents go to the media instead of going to [the] school.”

She said that no one mentioned the parade during Rockburn’s fall celebration on Friday, Oct. 29—an after-school event in which children could dress up and dance.

Approximately 450 students and their families attended, with children running around in costume and hugging the principal as Patch interviewed her.

Bauer said she wrote a letter to the Rockburn community encouraging parents to communicate with her.

"I just wrote a note reiterating my policy that my door is always open. If you have a thought, an opinion, I'm here."

E-mail Bauer at Lauren_Bauer@hcpss.org or call 410-313-5030.


This story has been corrected to say that Vice President Barry Polinsky will step in as interim PTA president until Nov. 9 when a special election will be held.

Karen Kohnen November 01, 2011 at 03:52 PM
I am very sad to hear of Loren's resignation. She has dedicated many hours of time to Rockburn. It's ridiculous that we have allowed the cancellation of a Halloween parade lead to name calling and hurt feelings.time. The Fall Harvest dance, which was organized by the PTA, was a wonderful event. In my opnion, the dance seemed to be an awesome alternative to the classroom activities and parade. I hope that the same people who complained about our PTA will be present on Wednesday, November 9th, for the monthly meeting and be willing to volunteer their time.
Liz November 01, 2011 at 04:23 PM
I think the whole thing was blown way our of proportion. When we went to school Halloween was not a school event. We had it at home and I think they made a good decision not to have it and all schools should follow suit. Celebrate it at home like all the other holidays. Allow the teachers to include it in classroom lessons as part of the curriculum. There are more important issues at hand.
gmc November 01, 2011 at 11:32 PM
What a shame all the celebrations children have are being taken away. I'm in my 50's, the elementary schools always had a parade in Howard County even when I was a kid. If there are families who opt out of participating that's fine, but why take it away from everyone. When my son went to Rockburn there were alternative activities for children who did not participate in the parade. So sad, political correctness at it's worse.
Kenly Burn November 02, 2011 at 01:10 AM
Lisa Ann, I'm not sure I understand your point. From reading this and related threads, I get that you are unhappy with Ms. Bauer's decision. Who knows, perhaps I have issues with it, too. However, reading these last two posts of yours, I have begun to wonder what the true issue of contention is for you. I am not sure what would make you (or would have made you) happy - you give the impression that you take offense to every compromise, alternative, or explanation. This approach sounds like that of a child - "either it's my way or no way!!!" - an attitude I don't think you intend to convey. I know you have been in leadership positions before - heck, you're a mom. Sometimes decisions are difficult. You try to balance the needs of all of your "constituents," you try to weigh the short term over the long terms needs and wants, you try to sort out all of the competing interests and create win-win opportunities where you can. However, leaders are entrusted with taking the desires of the masses and then using judgment, wisdom, and perhaps more information than those single-interest groups have to make the best decision possible.
Kenly Burn November 02, 2011 at 01:10 AM
(continued) I don't have any problem with the fact that you have expressed your unhappiness with the parade cancelation.It is invaluable to receive feedback, and in some of the events I've been involved with, I often find that the most useful information is what didn't work well. Usually this is accompanied by suggestions of alternative approaches to achieving what I had hoped to. This is where I get confused about what you write. It's fine to disagree with a decision or policy and to express that disagreement with passion. However, when that is the extent of involvement - when every idea and alternative is dimissed with such disdain, when the very suggestion of your increased involvement is shot down because the others involved mean it won't be entirely on your terms - then one has to ask about what the problem itself really means to you. Sometimes I have wondered if you truly care about the issue (!) of the Halloween parade, or if you just want to destroy and demean. I am certain that isn't the impression you wish to leave with the Patch's readers.
Barb Krupiarz November 02, 2011 at 01:56 AM
You should have moved on a long time ago. You really are a spiteful person - in my opinion, of course. It is the principal's decision. She made it and she didn't need to discuss it with parents. What do you think this is - a cooperative preschool?
Dahlen November 02, 2011 at 03:14 AM
I've been reading the withering criticism and disrespect of the principal of Rockburn by Ms. Bryant-Klapp and I must commend her for the fine example she is setting for the kids. Nothing like nurturing a respect for authority by treating the leader of the school like a doormat.
Kenly Burn November 02, 2011 at 10:28 AM
While part of me laughs at the "opinionated" treatment Lisa Ann Bryant-Klapp is starting to receive, the better part of me thinks we should show her the respect I wish she had given others, and let it drop. Besides (where the angel and the devil in me meet), I think the sum total of her posts on this topic - both here and on a variety of other outlets - say more about her than anyone else could. For weeks she has denounced with great passion the PTA and especially the President. I think LABK would have supported her ouster, and actually sais she would love to have been president herself. Yet, in the post above, she now accepts the PTA's stance and is attacking the principal - with no apology for her previous remarks, or their consequences. I wish I understood what her agenda is, because it doesn't appear to be the Halloween Parade. Her unwillingness to step up and become involved in any other way speaks volumes as well.
Barb Krupiarz November 02, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Just because you pay taxes doesn't mean to get to be consulted on school parties. Did you ever stop to think about anyone else besides yourself related to this parade? The teachers hate it. Parents continually send inappropriate costumes in. Teachers spend a long time helping kids get dressed - not in their job descriptions. I spoke with several teachers who were very pleased to have their own celebrations in the classroom. Also, after several years of attending the parades, I have heard many parents complain about trying to get in the mob of parents to take a picture of their kids only to be pushed out of the way or berated by rude parents. My kids were very happy not to have to walk in front of a bunch of parents for 10 minutes. A party during the school day is absolutely within the principal's authority to cancel without consulting anyone else. I had a problem with an administration decision last year and I went straight to the assistant principal with my complaint (because she happened to be available at the time.) We talked about our issues as adults and resolved it amicably. I heard her opinions and she heard mine and we now have a very good relationship. Mrs. Bauer has also helped my oldest child on several occasions in the past that have been great learning experiences. She cares about the kids. You went straight to public forums and you were very inflammatory in your words. I recommend learning from your mistakes on this issue.
Dahlen November 02, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Provocateurs like Ms. Bryant-Klapp have always existed, the difference now is that these kinds of people have so many outlets on the Internet that they can use to agitate.
Diane November 02, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Our school had a parade, but the parking was crazy. It was hard to get pictures because the kids were walking fast due to the chill in the air. I know it had to be hard on the teachers, to organize. I like to see the children have their Halloween, but it may be easier for the teachers to have a little party and games in the class. The kids can still dress up as they do on other dress up days. Just ask the kids, class party or parade. I'm sure parents would rather send in goodies, rather then standing out in the weather. If the children were in on the decision making, I'm sure the parents wouldn't get so upset.
Lisa Ann Bryant-Klapp November 05, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Kenly. Ok Genius. I wanted to let you in a little secret and that is Lisa B and I are not the same person! I did not post anything negative about the formers PTA president. I don't care whether or not you agree with my opinion of Ms Bauer's decision. tough crap
Lisa Ann Bryant-Klapp November 05, 2011 at 02:31 PM
I agree but don't dare voice your opinion if it is not politically correct
Lisa Ann Bryant-Klapp November 05, 2011 at 02:38 PM
No I am not a spiteful person and no I don't think this is a cooperative preschool . I thought this was a public school that my tax money helps fund!! You are right about one thing though, Ms Bauer did not have to consult with parents , but she should have! As far as the teachers not enjoying the parades Do I need to post pictures from past parades to show you that is not true. The majority of teachers did not view the parade as a waste of time! As I posted previously, If you don't like my opinions Tough crap!!! This is the US and I have every right to voice them
Lisa Ann Bryant-Klapp November 05, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Treating Ms Bauer like a doormat? Not sure what that means! As far as setting a good example, I will tell you this--my daughter is one of the most respectful children in Rockburn !!
Kira Kapinski November 05, 2011 at 09:25 PM
Poor child, she will be embarrassed to tears if she read, "Tough crap" and the other inflammatory comments being made by her mother. At least some people succeed despite their parents.
Lisa Ann Bryant-Klapp November 06, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Brendan Sales November 06, 2011 at 01:10 AM
If you were attempting to make a valid point, it has been lost with your recent comments and ramblings. Do you not see the the ramifications of your posts? I for one would not allow my child to interact with anyone in your family based on the hurtful things you continually write and teach. Thank goodness your child attends Rockburn, a school that values respect, as she sure is not learning it in the home.
Lisa Ann Bryant-Klapp November 06, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Ummmmmm. Ok
Terri McCulley Hicks November 06, 2011 at 02:07 AM
Dahlen...Thank You for this comment. People in Howard County are spoiled. I think Ms. Klapp deserves her opinion and I believe she has had it so... Move on. It sounds like the Family Night was a big hit and I bet alot of parents were able to attend because it was not during school hours when they were not able to get off work.
Rachel November 08, 2011 at 06:56 PM
People, you all need to get a life!


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