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HomeNewsConnecticut School Faces Criticism for Scrapping Veterans Day, Columbus Day From Holiday...

Connecticut School Faces Criticism for Scrapping Veterans Day, Columbus Day From Holiday Calendar

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A flyer commemorating the celebration of Veteran's Day
Source: Knights of Columbus/X

A district school board in Connecticut seems to have bitten more than they can chew. On Tuesday, the board voted in favor of removing Columbus and Veteran days from the school’s official calendar. 

A lot of criticism trails that decision by the school board, as Veterans and other concerned parties have voiced their displeasure. The implication of the vote is that students of Stamford public schools, Connecticut, will no longer have those two holidays off, at least for the next two school years. 

Joshua Esses is a member of the school board, and the vote to scrap Veterans and Columbus days off the school calendar is his brainchild. Esses came up with the suggestion because the school year has the potential of extending too deep into Summer. So, he felt removing holidays, largely non-essential ones, from the school calendar was the way to go. 

According to Connecticut state law, students need to go through a minimum of 180 teaching days to complete a school year. So, Esses recommends making the calendar shorter by cutting off excess weights and helping students avoid the rigors of Summer. 

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Interestingly, those two holidays were not the only ones to come upon Esses’ chopping block. He also recommended removing two religious holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Rosh Hashanah, from the school calendar. However, other board members did not agree with this suggestion. 

Interestingly, there are portions of students’ lesson plans that cover the symbolism of the Columbus and Veteran holidays. So, Esses pointed out that it would make a lot of sense if students learned about those holidays, instead of having them stay away on the two days. 

Eventually, the decision to remove Columbus and Veteran days from the school calendar scaled through on a 5-3 majority vote. However, this did not deflect the backlash that came from Americans with Italian roots and Veterans. 

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Among the critics of the recent school board decision, Alfred Fusco’s voice seems to be the loudest. Fusco is a veteran and an Italian American, making the announcement like a double slap for him. Fusco also happens to be a founding member of Stanford’s chapter of UNICO, an Italian American service organization. 

During an interview with a news outlet, Fusco claims the Stamford school board has started what he calls a “calendar controversy. It was a gut punch. It was terrible. It had no inclination.” 

ALSO READ: New Jersey Democrat Mayor Faces Criticism for Saying Migrants “Aren’t Welcome”

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However, the school board has since made an official statement to defend its decision. According to a spokesperson for Stamford Public Schools, “Several neighboring districts already keep schools open on Columbus Day and/or Veterans Day, and both Columbus Day and Veterans Day will be acknowledged on the Stamford Public Schools calendar with other holidays and religious observances that occur when school is in session.” There are strong indications that the board’s vote will stand, at least this school year.

About Veterans Day, the board points to several other days that commemorate and celebrate Veterans. On the contrary, there are some objections to the celebration of Columbus. These objections are largely due to some of the acclaimed harsh treatment of natives at the hands of Christopher Columbus. 

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