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12 Jun, 2021 23:25

Merry ‘day off’! New Jersey school board erases holiday names from calendar to prevent ‘hurt feelings’, faces petition to resign

Merry ‘day off’! New Jersey school board erases holiday names from calendar to prevent ‘hurt feelings’, faces petition to resign

Members of a New Jersey school board may have thought they were ending a controversy over woke holiday renaming by removing all holiday names from the district's official calendar. Instead, parents are calling for them to resign.

The Change.org petition, which was launched against members of the Randolph Board of Education on Friday evening, met its initial goal of 1,000 signatures on Saturday evening. Randolph Township resident Thomas Tatem said that by replacing all holiday names on the school calendar with the words “day off,” the board members “disgraced our community and clearly do not have the best interests of our children in anything they do.”

The new school policy, which was unanimously approved by the board on Thursday, meant that every holiday – from Christmas to Memorial Day and from Thanksgiving to Yom Kippur – will appear on the calendar as “day off.” 

The controversy stems from a decision by the board last month to rename Columbus Day "Indigenous People's Day." Christopher Columbus, the 15th century Italian explorer credited with discovering the Americas, is one of many historical figures whose legacy has been under attack in recent years because of conduct or views that are found objectionable under present-day standards of political correctness.

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Frank Tomasiello was among the first Randolph residents to sign the petition calling for board members to step down, saying, “We will not allow our beautiful town to be taken over by woke cancel culture. History exists so we can learn from it – the good, the bad and the ugly – and you have now become part of the ugly.”

It's not clear whether the board was being snarky when it responded to the Columbus controversy by dropping holiday names altogether. “If we don't have anything on the calendar, we don't have to have anyone [with] hurt feelings or anything like that,” board member Dorene Roche told the local Fox News affiliate. 

Italian Americans, in particular, have resisted efforts to cancel Columbus Day. New York City school officials earlier this year faced backlash after renaming the holiday "Indigenous People's Day." Mayor Bill de Blasio responded by saying schools would be closed on October 11 to celebrate “Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People's Day.”

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