Randolph, NJ, Public Schools Ditch Columbus for Indigenous Peoples Day
RANDOLPH — Another North Jersey school district has opted to swap Christopher Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day on its calendar.
Randolph Township Public Schools will amend its district calendar, following the unanimous vote during a Board of Education virtual meeting on Thursday.
A member of the board's Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee made the immediate recommendation to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, proposed about an hour and 40 minutes into the meeting, saying it was meant to “strengthen Randolph’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and show our community that we embrace the histories of all people.”
The district typically observes the October holiday as a professional development day with students off and the staff reporting for an in-service.
Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes Native Americans, who were the first inhabitants of the land that later became the United States of America.
Newark has been observing Indigenous Peoples Day since 2017, as the holiday also appears on the city's school district calendars.
Last fall, Montclair also added Indigenous Peoples Day to its public school calendar, as approved by the Montclair Township Board of Education at a September meeting.
For New Jersey communities with strong Italian-American heritage, not only does Columbus Day live on, but there are often parades and festivals alongside the fall weekend — though many were cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937.