On Monday, after weeks of public backlash, a school board in New Jersey reversed a controversial decision to remove the names of all holidays in the year from the school calendar, Breitbart reports.
The Randolph School Board held a meeting for nearly four hours on the proposal to reverse their prior decision, which eliminated the specific names of such holidays as Thanksgiving and Christmas in favor of a generic “day off” label. The initial policy was widely seen as a continuation of the board’s prior decision to formally rename Columbus Day as “Indigenous People’s Day,” which drew protests from parents in the heavily Italian-American community and state.
“In your attempt to be woke, you’ve wakened up the entire community of Randolph,” said Ralph Contini of Unico National, the largest Italian-American service in the country. “We draw the line in the sand. You have overreached. Enough is enough of this anti-Columbus movement.”
Over 400 residents were present for the meeting, which included members of Unico who handed out American and Italian flags, while also holding protest signs that read such messages as “Resign” and “All Holidays Matter.” The public comment portion of the meeting saw overwhelming support for restoring the holiday names, with widespread boos for the small handful of people who spoke out in favor of cancelling the names.
The very first speaker was a resident named Eliza Schleifstein, who declared the board’s actions to be “a toxic cocktail of arrogance, indifference, and sheer stupidity.” She added that “if you don’t like the media coverage and what is said about you on Facebook, be more transparent and accountable.”
At the end of the meeting, eight of the nine board members voted in favor of restoring all holiday names to the calendar. The sole dissenter was a board member named Susan DeVito, who claimed that the media failed to accurately represent the reasoning behind the initial decision, which she said was focused on “taking on broader issues than just Christopher Columbus.”
“If this was truly about Italian heritage with no other issues tied in,” DeVito said in her remarks, “we would not have been called Marxists, communists, and racists.”