A school board in New Jersey, US, has decided to remove the names of all holidays from its academic calendar to avoid hurting religious feelings and be more inclusive of its students. The Randolph Township in Morris County unanimously voted to scrap all holiday names from the school calendar, including Thanksgiving, Memorial Day and even religious days like Christmas, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, at a meeting with over 100 people on June 10, Thursday. Now, these holidays will simply be designated as “days off” in schools across Morris County as decided by Randolph Board of Education members.
The move was aimed to mitigate any possible offence that anyone might feel in regard to holidays that celebrate selected historical figures or ethnic groups.Dorene Roche, a board member told Fox 5 that there wouldn’t be any feelings hurt if they don’t have anything on the calendar. While some maintained that it was not the board’s responsibility to be naming the holidays, another member Ronald Conti said before the vote that they could either take the names off or adopt whatever names have been allotted by the federal and state governments.
The meeting was attended by almost 125 people who opposed the decision and even walked out or were asked to leave by security. The heavy crowd had turned up to Thursday’s meeting to protest against Columbus Day’s name change to Indigenous People’s Day by the board at a May 13 meeting. It was met with a social media uproar, a flood of emails and phone calls to board members.
Dissenters to the decision resorted to shouting interruptions, thunderous standing ovations and walkouts to show their anger. Republican state senator Anthony Bucco also spoke at the meeting, urging board members to reconsider and reverse their decision. Italian American organizations like UNICO and the Knights of Columbus also raised their opinion at the meeting, telling personal stories explaining the importance of Columbus Day to the community.
In an audio recording of the meeting, one man could be heard asking and shouting what did they do and what just happened.