NJ school board that voted to remove holiday names from calendar to hold 'special' meeting after outrage

The board voted last week to start listing each holiday, including religious and national holidays such as Thanksgiving and Memorial Day, as a “day off” on the school calendar after receiving backlash for renaming Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day, prompting some parents to push back and even call for board members to resign.

“The special meeting will be held for the board to consider a resolution,” Randolph Township Schools Director of Communications and Digital Media Matthew Pfouts told Fox News.

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The resolution under consideration would “rescind the vote taken by the Board of Education at its June 10, 2021, meeting removing holiday names from the Annual School District Calendar” and “return the Annual School District Calendar to the way it existed prior to the May 13, 2021, Board Meeting with the addition of all New Jersey State and Federal holidays.”

Pfouts added that “action may be taken at the meeting” and “community members will be able to ask questions during public session.”

After the board’s June 10 vote to remove holiday names, Dorene Roche, one of the board members, told Fox 5 that if the school district doesn’t “have anything on the calendar,” it doesn’t “have to have anyone [with] hurt feelings or anything like that.”

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“In partnership with the Randolph Township School district, the Board of Education has always been committed to supporting diversity and inclusion amongst our students, staff, and community,” Pfouts said in a June 12 statement to Fox News. “We believe an effective partnership can only be accomplished between the schools and the community through collective input from all stakeholders. Involvement and communication with our constituents help us guide policy decisions/changes and improve district protocols.”

He added that the vote to rename Columbus Day was made “after careful consideration of concerns introduced by both proponents of the change as well as those in opposition to the change.”

“We agreed unanimously that the change would be both inclusive and equitable,” he said. “Although we have made these changes to the school district’s calendar, our decision to change the calendar titles will not impact the education of holidays as guided by the district’s curriculum.”

A petition created by a Randolph Township resident Thomas Tatem on June 11, which has since garnered more than 4,000 signatures, demands school board members and Superintendent Jen Fano “resign immediately,” saying they “clearly do not have the best interests of our children in anything they do.”

“It’s our nation. We’re celebrating the heritage and also the freedoms that those brave men and women fought for to give us those freedoms that we have to be on here debating this topic and everything so I can’t imagine anyone who would have any sort of problem with that,” Tatem told “Fox & Friends” on Monday, referring to holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

He continued: “We historically have our veterans come into classrooms to share their stories with our children, so how do you celebrate that if you can’t even call it that?” 

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