Randolph, NJ district restores holiday names to calendar after uproar
The Randolph Board of Education endured nearly four hours of public comment and criticism Monday night before voting to restore the names of holidays to the school calendar.
The special meeting with only one item on the agenda was called after the board was put in the national spotlight for dropping the names of all holidays. Initially, the district had tried to rename Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day.
Former Gov. Chris Christie even joined the chorus of criticism in a tweet calling for the board to rescind their decision or to resign.
The was a large security presence at Monday's meeting as resident after resident, some carrying signs that read "all holidays matter" and "resign," took to the microphone to dress down the board.
School board President Tammy MacKay accepted responsibility for the fallout from the earlier vote.
“The buck stops here with those of us seated in front of you and we own it. Neither the superintendent nor any other administrator, principal, teacher or other district employee had anything to do with those votes or decisions. To cast blame on any of them for what this board did is quite simply wrong," she said.
Eliza Schleifstein, a resident who works in public relations, told the board that if the board was her client she would tell them their actions "were a toxic cocktail of arrogance, indifference and sheer stupidity. You did this to yourself."
"In your attempt to be woke, you've wakened up the entire community of Randolph," Ralph Contini of the Italian-American service group Unico National said. "We draw the line in the sand. You have overreached. Enough is enough of this anti-Columbus movement."
Jack Murray, a resident, asked the board if they considered their mission statement, which states they will work with the community groups and accept input from parents, students and the community.
"Not one of you thought about the consequences of your action? I want to thank you for your vote because you've galvanized this special community," Murray said to cheers from the crowd.
The final vote was 8-1 in favor of reverting the calendar. Susan DeVito, the lone member voting against the change.
The board also voted to create a calendar review committee that would ask the community for input about future school calendar changes.