The controversy began in Fairfield County following the Stamford School Board's decision to remove Veterans Day and Columbus Day from their calendar, which means students will not have them off for the next two years, according to an ABC7 report from Friday, Jan. 26.
Board members, who passed the decision in a 5-3 motion, have defended the decision by saying students should remain in school. Additionally, the decision also prevents the school calendar from lasting too long into mid-June, the outlet reported.
However, community members such as Alfred Fusco, a veteran and founding member of the Stamford chapter of the Italian-American service organization UNICO, have condemned the decision, with Fusco telling ABC7 that it was "a gut punch. It was terrible. It had no inclination."
Some parents have accepted the decision though, such as Steve Wilson, who told the outlet: "As long as they get the history, they get the understanding, they get the context of what these dates mean and how it fits into the country's history, and most importantly they get to learn."
The choice comes as school districts across the country debate recognizing holidays that have long been a part of calendars, especially Columbus Day, as honoring its namesake has become controversial because of his role in colonialism.
According to an NBC report, both holidays will still be acknowledged on the school district's calendar. However, under Connecticut law, school districts that remain open on federal holidays must offer a "suitable nonsectarian educational program" in observance of the holiday.
A spokesperson for the Stamford School District said: "Stamford Public Schools already hosts many events in recognition of our local veterans, and we look forward to continuing that tradition on Veterans Day in 2024 and 2025. In addition, our Teaching and Learning Department will be working to develop programming about Columbus Day that will be presented to students in recognition of that federal holiday," NBC reported.
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