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Disagreement surrounds Stamford school board's decision to remove Columbus, Veterans days from holiday calendar

The Stamford School Board is voting this week to remove those holidays.

Nicole Alarcon Soares and Frank Recchia

Jan 26, 2024, 1:23 AM

Updated 173 days ago

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The Stamford School Board announced a decision to remove two holidays from the school’s calendar -  Columbus Day and Veterans Day – much to the disagreement of some members of the community.
Dr. Al Fusco, a retired dentist who practiced in Stamford for 45 years and is also a Vietnam-era U.S. Army veteran, spoke against the decision.
"Oct. 12 is the day [Christopher] Columbus first discovered America. That's got to be celebrated; and Veterans Day, obviously, I'm a veteran,” Fusco said. “Veterans Day absolutely, for all the sacrifices the men and women in the armed forces have made over the generations, we've got to celebrate that. And we've got to teach our children how important those holidays are."
The Stamford School Board is voting this week to remove those holidays after board member John Esses raised the motion.
"This is not about the culture wars. It's about education. It is best for our students to be in school,” Esses said. “Christopher Columbus and our veterans are absolutely deserving of praise and recognition. That can be provided on their holidays in the classrooms."
Another school board member who voted against the decision says she plans to revisit the issue at the next school board meeting in hopes of ultimately reversing it.
School Board member Rebecca Hamman says that when it comes to Columbus Day and Veterans Day, as a rule, the most important lessons are learned by not being in school. 
"I'm going to propose, and I've already addressed it with the president, asking that we can revisit this and revote," Hamman said.
Board member Michael Hyman says the discussion is not about eliminating but increasing education opportunities.
"Far from eliminating anything, we can use these two days to create deeper guided learning opportunities. It is possible to provide our students with a more robust understanding of our history," Hyman said.


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