Italian Americans challenge Randolph, NJ Board of Education’s decision to remove all holidays from calendar – CBS New York

TOWNSHIP OF RANDOLPH, NJ (CBSNewYork) – There’s a controversy in a town in New Jersey.

The Randolph Township School Board has announced that vacations will no longer be listed on school calendars – a move that has sparked outrage from some members of the public, CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reported on Sunday.

“Do not divide the city and divide our country and pit group against group,” said Andre Dimino, board member of the Italian-American coalition One Voice.

Members of the Italian-American community gathered in Randolph on Sunday to vote on the BOE’s recent decision to remove the names of all holidays from the school calendar.

Instead, they will now simply be referred to as “days off”.

“It’s a real shame. The fact that they have taken away all the holidays is really an insult to everyone, ”Dimino said.

READ MORE: Critics unhappy with New York Public Schools’ decision to opt for Italian Heritage / Indigenous Peoples Day holiday schedule

The move comes after a tense meeting last week in which members of the public protested the board’s previous decision to change Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples Day”. After the meeting got tense, the board voted unanimously to remove holidays from calendars altogether.

Chiara Ricupero grew up celebrating Columbus Day and said it meant a lot to her family.

“We can celebrate our culture and who we are, but we also remember the discrimination and oppression we faced, that we had to go through, to get to where we are,” said the young man from 19 years old.

The movement to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples ‘Day has been around for decades, starting when advocates began to point out that Columbus’ arrival in North America was followed by centuries of genocide against Indigenous people.

BACK BACK: Mother Cabrini statue to be unveiled in Lower Manhattan on Columbus Day

A growing number of states have already made the switch, as have some cities like Newark.

But State Senator Anthony Bucco said that while Christopher Columbus’ story may have some imperfections, he was an icon for Italian Americans and his legacy is worth celebrating.

“Yes, there have been some things, but it’s part of our culture and you have to teach children the good and the bad and watch people grow and develop. Trying to make vanilla is not our country’s goal, ”said Bucco.

BACK BACK: It’s still known as Columbus Day in New York, but for how long?

A member of Randolph’s school board, who did not want to go in front of the camera, told CBS2 that the decision to remove the holidays from the calendar was made as a compromise and was meant to be fair and equitable for all groups.

She added that several other school districts in the area have similar mandates.

But those at the meeting said they wanted all holidays, including Columbus Day, to be put back on the calendar.

“We have nothing against the natives. We want to celebrate with them, ”said Dimino.

They point out that Indigenous Peoples Day also deserves recognition, but should be celebrated on another day.

The Italian-American coalition One Voice wants the BOE to reverse its decision within 30 days and create ethnic sensitivity training for staff and students. If that doesn’t happen, the group says it will consider suing the BOE.

CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report

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