New Jersey’s Randolph Board of Education has decided to amend the school calendar once again, this time to reinstate holiday names like “Christmas” and “Thanksgiving” after the backlash they received for removing such names. The school board made national headlines last week when they declared that they removed the holiday names and replaced it with “day off” because they believed such neutral names would not “hurt” anyone’s “feelings.”
”Stripping the traditional holidays on the school calendar is not only insulting, it sends the wrong message to our students. It lessens the meaning of the historical events,” New Jersey resident Jack Murray told CBN News. The decision to remove holiday names like “Christmas” and “Thanksgiving” was finally reversed with an 8-1 vote after parents and community members became very vocal about their concerns.
A Change.org petition was even set up by Randolph township residents, which accused the New Jersey Board of Education and its superintendent Jen Fano of having “disgraced” the community. The petition, which has been signed by over 4,600 people, said that the board and Fano “represent everything that is wrong in education today and are completely incompetent in every aspect of their role.”
Tom Tatem, a father of four and resident of Randolph launched the petition because he believed that the school board leaders have become incompetent in their jobs. He told FOX News, “Truth be told, they’ve lost the trust of our community and I feel between a mixture of their arrogance and incompetence that they’re not really the best people to proceed forward in helping to rebuild and help our community heal.”
USA Today reported that the removal of holiday names and the replacement of Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day has angered Unico National, the nation’s largest Italian American service organization. Unico National’s Ralph Contini accused the school board of “[attempting] to be woke” and warned them, “We draw the line in the sand. You have overreached. Enough is enough of this anti-Columbus movement.”
Even New Jersey State Sen. Anthony Bucco spoke against the renaming of holiday names like “Christmas” and “Thanksgiving” and asked the school board to reconsider their initial decision. James Jacobi, a father of three who also lives in Randolph, was grateful for the victory they achieved by airing their concerns to the school board.
Jacobi told FOX News that it wasn’t about “being the loudest to get your way” but about transparency and accountability, as well as having a “collaborative process with the town you live in.” He added that these lessons were what they wanted to teach the school board this week as they faced 40 speakers. Jacobi said, “They got the message. They reversed course on their decision, which is very much appreciated.”
However, none of the school board members resigned during the meeting despite the petition garnering over 4,600 signatures. A Randolph Township parent by the name of Michael Viespoli was concerned and “wary” that while the school board has relented this time, it still has an agenda, as it called parents “right-wing fanatics” during the meeting.
Viespoli said the “tone and tenor” of the current state of affairs worries him, especially as the meeting was a “community coming together and speaking their voices,” not a “political event,” which he felt was how the school board treated it as such.