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New Jersey school district abolishes holiday names from calendar to avoid 'hurt feelings'; petition calls for resignation of superintendent

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A school district in New Jersey will remove all names of holidays from the school calendar to avoid any "hurt feelings."

Randolph Board of Education members unanimously voted last week to remove all holiday names from the school calendar. The action would remove religious holidays such as Christmas and Yom Kippur, as well as Thanksgiving and Independence Day. The holidays will be replaced with "day off."

"After careful consideration of concerns introduced by both proponents of the change as well as those in opposition to the change, a motion was presented for consideration to stop using holiday titles on the district's calendar," a statement from the Randolph Board of Education said. "We agreed unanimously that the change would be both inclusive and equitable. 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."

The controversial move stemmed from a prior decision by the school district to stop celebrating Columbus Day and rename it "Indigenous Peoples' Day," which angered Italian-Americans.

In an attempt to not offend any groups, the school district in Morris County decided to remove all holiday names on Thursday.

"If we don't have anything on the calendar, we don't have to have anyone [with] hurt feelings or anything like that," board member Dorene Roche told WNYW-TV.

'I don't think really it is the board's responsibility to be naming these holidays," board member Ronald Conti said. "Either take them off or just adopt whatever the federal and state governments are doing."

Republican state Sen. Anthony Bucco argued against the changes at the June 10 meeting, where there was reportedly "crying, shouting and angry walkouts."

The removal of holidays was met with backlash from parents. A petition calling for the resignation of Superintendant Jen Fano and all Randolph Board of Education members was created, and has nearly 1,700 signatures.

"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 petition reads. "They represent everything that is wrong in education today and are completely incompetent in every aspect of their role."

The Randolph Board of Education released a statement in response to the backlash:

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. 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.
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