• Stamford BOE Member Under Fire After Policy To Remove Columbus, Veterans Days From School Calendar Passes

    January 25, 2024
    70th National Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery, November 11, 2023; Public Domain.

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    Parents are absolutely up in arms over the Stamford Board of Education (BOE) decision to remove Columbus Day and Veterans Day from the school's holiday calendar after the motion was raised by Republican Josh Esses, who serves as Fiscal Chair & Parliamentarian on the BOE.

    Esses' motion passed in a 5-3 vote, though BOE president Jackie Heftman was notably absent.

    Board members Andy George, Dr. Becky Hamman and Michael Larobina voted against the measure.

    Most Americans are proud of our country’s founding, grateful for the countless brave veterans who have fought to protect our Republic, and want to show proper respect on these important days.

    Stamford Parents can't understand how our own country's history would not be celebrated or revered by the public school. Especially when other religious holidays, like Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, or the second day of Rosh Hashanah, are still being celebrated as holidays in the district.

    "Every school holiday is a distraction to learning and harms student achievement," said Mr Esses.  

    "I moved to return five days to the classroom: Eid, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Juneteenth, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day.  Unfortunately, the BOE only agreed on two of those days," he continued.

    Esses' support for eliminating Columbus Day and Veterans Day drew sharp criticism from fellow Republicans who were appalled by the change, and suggested it's just another example of how U.S. history is being watered down and distorted by progressive activists.

    "Eliminating holidays that honor our country's founding and the incredible Veterans who fought to protect it is something that a socialist would do. How could Josh do that? Isn't he supposed to represent Republicans? Because I don't know a single REAL Republican who would ever recommend a policy to stop honoring veterans," said one Stamford Republican.

    According to Dr. Hamman, a current Stamford BOE member and Connecticut educator, it is clear that not all BOE members are well grounded in US history or the knowledge of what it took to create America.

    Details behind the Columbus and Veteran’s Day removal vote actually started last year.

    Knowing there was tension when creating the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school calendars, a districtwide committee met and conducted a survey last fall. The well-represented calendar committee included all of the holidays that Mr. Esses wanted to eliminate.

    Although there was debate at the Labor Committee (1/9/24), committee members seemed content with the calendars presented at that time. Mr. Esses, who is on the Labor Committee, took advantage of some of the debate on Tuesday (1/23/24), believing that clearing the calendar of two federal holidays of his choice (Columbus Day and Veterans Day) would make more room for learning.

    Sadly, he blindsided his two Republican colleagues with this move.

    Debate at the January 9th meeting was concerning, but not surprising knowing that the DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) executive order was signed at the federal level by President Biden in 2021:

    • The K-12 curriculums for Columbus Day are now based on "true history" according to Mrs. Munshi-South, chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee. That means Columbus is no longer considered a hero at the K-2 and middle school levels. "I don't think it makes sense to teach students one thing in class and then have Columbus Day off. It's a mixed message for students," said Ms. Munshi-South.
    • Dr. Hamman addressed what would happen if policy were recommended to remove all religious holidays from the school calendars. Even though our country is predominantly Judeo-Christian, Stamford’s religious community could conceivably add another five days—Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Hispanic, Latino— to be inclusive. And then add make-up days for weather-related cancellations not already built into the calendars, meaning SPS could be in session until July. Dr. Hamman also pointed out there will be teaching substitute issues on Judeo-Christian holidays, because at least 60% of Stamford residents celebrate those holidays.
    • Although Veterans Day is respectfully and formally honored at many SPS schools, many families still celebrate outside of school because of their connections and reverence for family, friends and others who have sacrificed their lives and time for all citizens.  Since none of the current BOE members have served for our country, they may not have an appreciation for those who have.

    If Mr. Esses had his way on Tuesday, Dr. Hamman says he could have started a holy war with his second motion, which was to remove Juneteenth, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and Eid al-Fitr, as holidays.

    "Luckily this didn’t happen," Dr. Hamman said.

    "It is clear the Stamford BOE is no longer representing all of Stamford. There will be an uproar and it is not healthy for the community," says Dr. Hamman.

    But don't worry, say some parents who are telling the Centinal that "real Americans" don't care about the school's "stupid" anti-American decision about the calendar.

    They will keep their children home, and celebrate those holidays together in their own special way, and encourage other parents to do the same.

    If enough parents follow suit, it could certainly put a wrench into teaching plans on those days.

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    Paul A

    This is the hill to die on.
    It’s enough of erasing our culture one day at a time.

    Last edited 4 months ago by Paul A
    James Y

    Disgraceful 😢

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