Columbus Day Chaos Prompts Randolph to ‘Discover’ a Solution

Columbus

The Randolph school board voted last month to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day on the school calendar.

That prompted widespread condemnation in this affluent, Morris County town,  a petition drive and a stormy board meeting Thursday night.

At the end of a lively three-hour plus session, the board “solved” the problem by getting rid of all holidays.

That’s right, the board said it would stop noting all holidays on the school calendar. From now on, they will be labeled simply as “day off.”

So in a matter of weeks, the second Monday of October has transitioned from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day to nothing in the Randolph school community.

Thanksgiving, Memorial Day and all other school holidays will meet the same fate. The change won’t impact Christmas, which already is part of “winter break,” and not individually noted.

One board member hoped that the move would eliminate “hurt feelings.”

That seems unlikely.

Opponents of the original change told the board that dissing Columbus was an insult to Italian heritage and even a form of discrimination.

“Don’t spit on my grandfather’s grave,” is how one person put it.

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, whose 25th District includes the township, addressed the board at the start of the meeting.

He said changing the name may have been an attempt to promote diversity, but the move has had the opposite effect.

“Really, what you have done is create division,” Bucco said.

Columbus Day is not a new controversy.

More than 500 years after his arrival and a generation removed from his heroic portrayal in many history books, just what type a man Christopher Columbus was is hotly disputed throughout the nation.

To some, he remains a legendary explorer and revolutionary thinker – a man who, contrary to the wisdom of the day, knew the earth was round.

To others, he was a tyrant who enslaved thousands.

With this minefield, it’s hard to see why the school board made the original change the way it did. It was voted on in May with no notice to the public.

As one resident told the board, “You should have known” the move would prompt opposition.

Unfortunately, it looks like the board didn’t know that. School boards tend to be rather insular these days and, as we are seeing in Randolph, that can be problematic. There never is a good reason for a public body to avoid public debate.

The Thursday meeting was the board’s first in-person, post-pandemic, session and more than 100 people attended.

One resident who supported the board’s initial move called Columbus a “murderous colonizer.”

That was a minority view. In addition to the need to recognize Italian-Americans, some speakers waded into the nation’s cultural debate by accusing the board of catering to the views of Black Lives Matter and other radical groups. More than once, the board had to urge people to show respect or threaten to have police remove them.

The tenor of the night’s audience, notwithstanding, Randolph is no right-wing hot spot.

Like much of changing Morris County, it’s very much a “purple” town. While Republicans remain foremost in local government, both Joe Biden and Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill won the township last fall.

Prior to the board’s vote, there was talk about labeling the second Monday of October in honor of both Columbus and Indigenous people. Or maybe just Italian Heritage Day,

But that didn’t fly.

So beginning with the 2021-22 school year in Randolph, all “holidays” will be listed as “day off.”

That prompted one disgruntled resident to wonder aloud how you can close schools without saying why.

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  • Moe Howard

    Yet another Marxist attempt to indoctrinate our children. Tear down everything associated with America’s past, tell us we’re all racists and start with the BLM chants. Enough is enough. Americans need to start attending school board meetings, even if they don’t have children in the system. They’ve already poisoned our colleges and universities, don’t let them take over the public schools as well. The Democrats and the teacher’s unions are complicit, and must be stopped. Marxism has no place in America.

  • Christopher Tisdale

    Nothing says Inclusion as excluding everything. Welcome to diversity.

  • Where’s the joke in this?

    Here’s the problem–it seems that there is conflicting information.

    In Louisiana, there was a large Choctaw Native American and French population (many intermarriages).

    Curiously, there are a number of Choctaw Native American men named after Christopher Columbus. Google “Christopher Columbus” and “Choctaw” in th same search string.

    So, if Christopher Columbus were the oppressor people said he was, that would be like a Holocaust survivor naming his firstborn son after Adolf Hitler, the genocidal, megalomaniac.

    I don’t get the impression that Columbus actually helped wipe out the Native Americans. In fact, there were plenty of British who did that themselves, and an American president forced the Choctaws from Louisiana to Oklahoma.

    It’s curious, then, that this attack against Columbus Day is coming from the socialist wing of the Democratic party, which is very clearly active in New Jersey politics to this day. I say that because many of the policies being promulgated by the New Jersey left as “compassionate” are eeriely similar to Nazi-era eugenics programs.

    Remember, Hitler’s Nazi party was the German National Socialist party. Why would the Nazis want to wipe Columbus out of the history books? Hoping to get the credit for starting the country?

    It sounds harsh, but unfortunately, it’s also very possible. Instead of renaming Columbus Day, maybe NJ should start checking to see if it hired any of Hitler’s relatives in its law enforcement divisions.

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