A community is outraged after special needs children were booed at a holiday parade in the Hudson Valley.

Marie Camacho says she witnessed boos and "thumbs down" gestures being directed towards a group of special needs children who were marching in a holiday parade over the weekend.

What started as a festive evening turned into heartbreak as the children were left confused over the angry response. Camacho, who is the president of the CCSD Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO), says the special needs students asked why they were being yelled at and kept wondering "What did we do wrong?"

Facebook/Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association
Facebook/Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association
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Holiday Parade Turns Ugly in Carmel, New York

The Holiday on the Lake parade was advertised as a family-friendly event featuring a festive holiday village with children's crafts, vendors, food and a visit with Santa over cookies and milk. The event included wagon rides, live music, and a parade leading up to the tree lighting ceremony next to Lake Gleneida.

The children who belong to SEPTO decided on the theme of "Misfit Toys" from Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, and marched in the parade dressed as characters from the holiday movie. Camacho says she was proud of the children for coming up with the theme that teaches the lesson that everyone is valuable and "together you can accomplish what seems impossible."

Facebook/Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association
Facebook/Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association
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Why Were Children Booed at the Holiday Parade?

While most of the community was touched by the SEPTO group's theme and costumes, Camacho says a group of "ignorant ladies" decided to hurl jeers at the group. According to Camacho, the parents in attendance at the parade have some sort of beef with a few of the parents who were marching with their children and "thought this was the appropriate time to take out their disagreement".

As we were walking toward St. James, a few of the children noticed cheers and happiness as they gave out bells to the spectators. Others noticed something quite different. They were met with boos and thumbs down and all they can ask was why? Why don’t they like us? Did I do something wrong?

Community members who saw the booing have called the display "disgusting" and were left "heartbroken" after witnessing the special needs children caught in the middle of bickering adults at what was supposed to be a happy event to celebrate the holidays.

Facebook/Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association
Facebook/Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association
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Carmel Civic Association Denounces "Poor Behavior"

On Monday, a statement was made by the Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association denouncing the "terrible behavior exhibited by a few individuals" at the parade. It also invited the SEPTO group to be the leaders of next year's parade.

Not the First Time Ignorant Adults Have Ruined a Holiday Parade

If all of this sounds slightly familiar, a similar group of distasteful adults ruined a children's parade with their own grossly inappropriate behavior last year. During the 2022 Festival of Lights parade in Pleasant Valley, a float sponsored by Snow Fountain Supply displayed a banner with ugly political rhetoric that included the "F-word" twice. The float was proceeded by Santa Claus.

Local politicians from both parties condemned the float and vowed that disciplinary action would be taken.

Facebook/Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association
Facebook/Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association
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Let's hope that the ugly situation that happened in Carmel this weekend is a similar wake-up call that reminds adults that their obnoxious behavior is not welcome at a family event, especially when directed at some of the most vulnerable children in the community.

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