Merry ‘Day Off:’ NJ School Officials Nix Names of Holidays from Calendar, Including Christmas, Memorial Day, MLK Jr. Day

TOPSHOT - A mural painting by graffiti artist Eme Freethinker features a likeness of US author Dr Seuss' Grinch character with a "cancelled" stamp across a Merry Christmas sign, in Berlin on December 27, 2020. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF …
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty

Parents are reacting swiftly and strongly to the Randolph, New Jersey School Board’s announcement all holidays would only be referred to as days off instead of using the traditional names, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and Martin Luther King Jr.

A petition launched seeking the resignation of board members has already garnered 2,500 signatures.

The NJ website reported on the controversial development:

“(Superintendent) Jen Fano and all of the Board of Education Members have disgraced our community and clearly do not have the best interests of our children in anything they do,” the online petition started late last week reads. “They represent everything that is wrong in education today and are completely incompetent in every aspect of their role.”

The Randolph public school calendar will no longer list any holiday by name. Instead, they’ll be labeled generically — just as a “Day Off,” with no description of the reason behind it. The decision led to a firestorm of criticism.

On Sunday, the board of education issued a statement saying its intentions were misunderstood.

“Our actions are somehow being misconstrued by some to mean that the Randolph School District is no longer recognizing these holidays, teaching about them to our students and honoring the great veterans and the heroes for whom many of these holidays have been named,” the board said in a statement posted online.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. These state, federal and other holidays have not been cancelled or taken away by this board of education as some are falsely claiming. Schools will still be closed on the days that we originally approved and our children will know why. They will still continue to receive instruction in schools about these important historical events and the people behind them.”

“Everyone should remember that the primary purpose of the school calendar is to inform parents when schools will be open and when schools will be closed,” the board said. “In essence, it is a school attendance calendar which is why we did not feel the need to list every state, federal and religious holiday on the one-page calendar that we adopt every year.”

Ironically, the board voted on the calendar just weeks after it voted to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.

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