A New Jersey school board voted to reverse its decision to wipe holiday names off its calendar after parents expressed outrage during a heated special meeting Monday.
The Randolph Township Board of Education sparked headlines last week after it voted unanimously to remove the names of all religious and secular holidays from the school calendar and instead label them “Day Off” in an effort to be more inclusive. The decision followed a backlash after the board originally voted last month to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
On Monday, the board voted 8-1 to return the calendar to its original form, including a day off for Columbus Day, the Morristown Daily Record reported.
Board member Susan DeVito voted against the reversal and slammed the media’s portrayal of the situation as “taking on broader issues than just Christopher Columbus.”
“Let’s call a spade a spade,” she said, the Daily Record reported. “If this was truly about Italian heritage with no other issues tied in, we would have not have been called Marxists, communists, racists.”
About 400 people packed Monday’s nearly four-hour-long meeting and the majority of about 50 speakers were critical of the board, the Daily Record reported. Members of Unico National, the nation’s largest Italian American service organization, reportedly handed out American and Italian flags to the audience.
Unico member Ralph Contini called the meeting a “flashpoint.”
“In your attempt to be woke, you’ve waken [sic] up the entire community of Randolph,” he told the paper. “We draw the line in the sand. You have overreached. Enough is enough of this anti-Columbus movement.”