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Outrage Follows Decision to Remove Columbus Day and Veterans Day as School Holidays in Connecticut

The Stamford Board of Education in Connecticut has ignited controversy by voting to remove two federal holidays, Columbus Day and Veterans Day, from the academic calendar for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years.

The decision has stirred both support and outrage within the community.

Holidays Removed from Calendar

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In a 5-3 vote, the Stamford Board of Education has opted to eliminate Columbus Day and Veterans Day as days off for students.

Educational Content To Continue

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These holidays will no longer be part of the school calendar, but educational content recognizing their significance will still be provided, as mandated by a state statute.

Columbus Day and Its Complex Legacy

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Columbus Day, traditionally observed on the second Monday in October, commemorates Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage and his sighting of the Americas.

Divisive Holiday

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However, the holiday has become divisive in recent years, with some celebrating Columbus as a hero and others condemning him as a colonizer who subjected indigenous people to violence and brutality.

Some regions have renamed the holiday Indigenous Peoples Day.

Veterans Day, a Tribute to Service

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Veterans Day, observed on November 11, honors the service and sacrifice of the nation’s military veterans.

It is a day dedicated to recognizing and expressing gratitude to those who have served in the armed forces.

Board Member’s Proposal

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The motion to remove Columbus Day and Veterans Day was proposed by board member Joshua Esses.

He argued that the proposed 181-day school calendar was too lengthy and that a shorter calendar would be more beneficial for students.

Educational Significance

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Joshua emphasized that students can best learn about the contributions of veterans and the historical significance of Columbus in a school setting.

Teaching About the Events in School

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Removing these holidays from the calendar would ensure that students receive educational content on these topics.

Other Proposed Changes

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Esses had also suggested eliminating Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic holiday, and the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as days off.

However, these proposals did not garner support.

Community Reaction

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The decision to remove Columbus Day and Veterans Day from the school calendar has evoked strong reactions in the community.

Some are deeply disappointed, while others support the move.

Veterans’ Perspective

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Veteran and member of the Italian-American service organization UNICO, Alfred Fusco, expressed his disappointment, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging historical events, even those with complex legacies.

He urged against whitewashing history.

Social Media Reactions

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Social media has been abuzz with comments about the decision.

While some see it as a “slap in the face” to the Italian community and veterans, others believe students have too many days off and that the holidays are merely viewed as breaks from school.

Controversy Continues

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The removal of these federal holidays from the school calendar has brought to the forefront a broader debate about how history and holidays should be recognized and celebrated in educational settings.

The controversy surrounding the decision is likely to persist.

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