In a troubling turn of events, the Stamford, Connecticut school board has ignited a “calendar controversy” by voting to erase Veterans Day and Columbus Day from the list of school holidays. As a result, students are now expected to attend classes on these dates for the next two years, according to local reports.
WABC, an ABC affiliate in New York City, reported that one board member cited the extended 181-day school year as the reason for removing these patriotic holidays, pushing the academic calendar well into mid-June. However, this decision has triggered outrage, particularly among veterans and those who value traditional American observances.
Happening Now: A school board in Connecticut has voted to remove Veterans Day and Columbus Day from the school calendars. This decision came after it was proposed by one of the board members.
The board member Joshua Esses also proposed removing the second day of the Jewish… pic.twitter.com/MCBNt6hGgz
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) January 29, 2024
Alfred Fusco, a veteran and founding member of Stamford’s chapter of the Italian-American service organization UNICO, expressed his dismay, calling the move a “gut punch.” Critics have denounced the decision as a manifestation of “woke” culture, labeling it a glaring example of “cancel culture.”
On social media, dissenting voices sarcastically suggested eliminating other significant holidays such as Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The decision, deemed “unconscionable,” has stirred a backlash, prompting many to question the school board’s judgment and commitment to patriotic values.
Starting this year, Stamford, Connecticut School District will no longer allow students to have off on Columbus Day or Veterans Day!
NO HOLIDAY FOR THEM!
— 🇺🇸ProudArmyBrat (@leslibless) January 27, 2024
The 5-3 vote, which occurred last Tuesday in the absence of the board president, saw board member Joshua Esses proposing the removal of the holidays. Esses also suggested eliminating Eid al-Fitr and the second day of Rosh Hashanah, but these proposals garnered no support.
Esses argued that incorporating Veterans Day and Columbus Day into the school curriculum would be a more beneficial approach than observing them as holidays. The board’s decision aligns with state statute, allowing regional boards of education to keep schools open on certain holidays outside of December and January, provided they hold a “suitable nonsectarian educational program” to observe the day.
Columbus Day, a holiday rooted in American history, has been subjected to ongoing criticism due to concerns about Christopher Columbus’s role in colonial conquest. Some board members defended the decision by claiming that students, after studying primary sources, concluded that Columbus was not a hero, leading to the decision not to observe the day as a holiday.
However, not all board members concurred with this perspective. Becky Hamman pushed back, asserting that Columbus should not be vilified based on political polarization.
But of course Muslim
holidays are still on the school district calendar..👇🤬🤬👎
— EagleEyeFlyer🇺🇸 (@EagleEyeFlyer) January 29, 2024
Responding to the controversy, a spokesperson for Stamford Public Schools stated that the State of Connecticut permits local and regional boards of education to decide whether to keep schools open on federal holidays, excluding those in December and January. The board’s approval of calendars for 2024-25 and 2025-26, keeping schools open on Columbus Day and Veterans Day, aligns with their commitment to traditional values. The spokesperson assured that both holidays would still be acknowledged on the school calendar, and programming about Columbus Day would be developed for students. The district remains steadfast in recognizing local veterans and upholding patriotic traditions on Veterans’ Day.