columbus day no school
Columbus Day

Columbus Day No School

Columbus Day No School: The Big Apple’s Department of Education said Tuesday that public school students will not honor Christopher Columbus this year, joining a growing number of cities ignoring the holiday – but other New Yorkers have criticized the decision. “Italian Heritage Day” and “Indigenous Peoples Day” have been promised by the nation’s largest school district.

 

A statue of Christopher Columbus is pictured on July 9, 2020 in Astoria, in the Queens borough of ..

KEY FACTS

The city’s public schools will still close on the second Monday in October, as they do every year for Columbus Day, but the day has been renamed Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day in the DoE’s calendar for the upcoming school year.

Local outlets NY1 and Gothamist reported that the date was first referred to as Indigenous People’s Day, angering some local politicians who called the change insulting to Italian Americans.

 

According to a statement from the Department of Education on Tuesday, New York City public schools have removed Columbus Day from its calendar of days off for the next academic year and replaced it with “Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day.”

There will be no class on Oct. 11, but instead of Columbus Day, it will be Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day. 

DOE officials told PIX11 News in an emailed statement that school administrators wanted to be inclusive in celebrating the often polarizing federal holiday.

 

Columbus Day-No School | Mundelein High School

This year’s “Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day will recognize the contributions and legacies of Italian Americans and acknowledge that Native people were the first settlers of the land that became our country. We are honoring the past, present, and future contributions of Indigenous communities and Italian Americans by including these holidays on our calendar,” the spokesperson said.

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No School - Columbus Day - Our Lady of Grace School - Bronx, NY

Numerous cities and states observe Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day. On the second Monday of October, which is also a federal holiday, it is held.

Christopher Columbus was the first European to arrive in the Americas in 1492, which is why Columbus Day is celebrated each year. 

Native Americans and their allies have criticized the holiday as a celebration of a period of time that spawned several atrocities in the Americas.

It is, however, a celebration of Italian American history and culture for many Italian Americans.

Columbus Day ~ No School — Lawrence County Career & Technical Center

 

It is common to see your calendar punctuated by various holidays that occur throughout the year.

Each of these days is simply listed as a “day off” on the calendar of one New Jersey school district.

Columbus Day in Randolph Township became Indigenous Peoples’ Day after the school board voted to change it. Outraged residents demanded that the board remove the names of holidays from the school calendar altogether, while still observing holidays.

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“The overwhelming majority of township residents believe that they have overstepped their bounds, that they are pushing their own personal, political ideologies,” Randolph resident Tom Tatem told Fox News. School officials have been called on to resign in response to a petition he started.

Pioneer Valley Christian Academy - No School Columbus Day

Columbus Day is causing controversy among institutions across the country.

Many critics have attacked the idea of honoring the Italian explorer, who inflicted violence on Native Americans when he arrived in the Americas. Italian Americans have historically faced discrimination, say supporters. It is important to recognize the contributions of Christopher Columbus.

Several places have switched to marking Indigenous People’s Day to appreciate Native Americans who lived in the United States before Columbus’ arrival.

This problem was solved by Randolph Township: they eliminated every holiday name to avoid taking sides.

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It would appear that the Randolph Township school system was trying to avoid the Columbus Day debate, yet it has instead found itself squarely in it, and opponents have called for officials to resign.

No School – Columbus Day – Saint Michael School

Randolph’s board of education is now scheduled to meet Monday to reconsider removing holiday names from the school calendar.

The current situation in New Jersey

Christopher Columbus Day in Randolph was replaced with Indigenous Peoples’ Day after a unanimous vote by the school board in May.

The decision angered some parents, but instead of going back to the old calendar, the board decided to remove all holiday names from the school calendar in early June, not giving preference to either of the October celebrations.

If we don’t have anything on this calendar, then no one should have hurt feelings,” Randolph school board member Dorene Roche said during a June 10 public meeting, according to NJ.com.

The backlash has only grown.

Thousands have signed a petition calling for resigning Randolph Township Schools superintendent Jennifer Fano and members of the board of education. A petition claims they embody everything that’s wrong in education today and are utterly incompetent in every way.

The school board acknowledged the public outcry, but said some people misinterpreted their decision.

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A press release issued by the Randolph board of education on Sunday clarified that the holidays will still be observed as days off and that their decision was not meant to dishonor “the great veterans and the heroes” after which several of those holidays are named.

“These State, Federal and other holidays have not been cancelled or taken away by this Board of Education as some are falsely claiming,” the board said. “Everyone is still encouraged to celebrate them in whatever way they deem appropriate.”

Matthew Pfouts, director of communications and digital media for the Randolph Township Schools, told NPR the board has no further comment.

Changing views on holidays

On the national level, Columbus Day remains a federal holiday.

But a number of states, including Alaska and Virginia, as well as some cities either observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a holiday or celebrate it in some way.

The movement away from Columbus Day has not come without controversy.

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The New York City Department of Education tried to rename Columbus Day over objections and eventually settled on marking a holiday called “Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day,” which drew its own set of critiques. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it was wrong to make the two groups share one holiday.

There are also other efforts to recognize the role people of color played in American history.

This week, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to make Juneteenth — the day marking the end of chattel slavery in the U.S. — a public holiday.

 

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