New Jersey

NJ School Board Reverses Decision to Remove Holidays From Calendar, Citing Threats

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After a five-hour shouting match with parents at a New Jersey school district, the school board has reversed its decision to remove all holidays from the school calendar.

The controversy began with the Randolph School Board just removing Columbus Day from the school calendar and changing it to Indigenous People Day, but some parents weren’t happy so the board got rid of all holidays' names last month by calling them "days off." Board members reversed that decision on Monday following the lengthy meeting with angry parents.

While one board member apologized for any insults the decisions may have caused, another made it clear the decision was being rescinded due to pressure from the crowd.

"[This] sets an uncomfortable precedent that with enough threats, harassment, and intimidation, a select group --- not necessarily Randolph voters --- can force the district to its will," said board member Ronald Conti.

Meanwhile, another member made it clear that the board is caving to the pressure from the public.

"The resolution seems to be an attempt to stop the slanted, inflammatory and poorly reported nonsense of media outlets like Fox News channel," board member Jeanne M. Stifelman said. She was immediately met with boos with the crowd.

As the mythology around Christopher Columbus has been corrected, many are pushing to replace Columbus Day with a celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day. A cultural strategist and diversity expert, Lauren Wesley Wilson, joined LX News to discuss the importance of recognizing the oppressed rather than celebrating their oppressors.

Andre Dimino, Executive Board Member of the Italian American One Voice Coalition, said to remove all the holidays would take away their importance for everyone, not just Italians on Columbus Day.

"Because what that tells the students is that it's just a day off. It doesn't tell them what the background is," Dimino said.

But kids would have still learned about those holidays in school, the school board argued.

"[The students] will still continue to receive instruction in schools about these important historical events and the people behind them," the district said in a statement. "Everyone should remember that the primary purpose of the school calendar is to inform the parents when schools will be opened and when schools will be closed."

While the calendar will now go back to the way it was before, some parents have started a petition to call on the board members to resign.

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