Paterson, N.J. schools give in to Columbus Day | Style | all-pages | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

newjerseynewsroom.com

Sunday
Sep 21st
  • Login
  • Create an account
    Registration
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    REGISTER_REQUIRED
  • Search
  • Local Business Deals

Paterson, N.J. schools give in to Columbus Day

columbus100711_optBY PAM LOBLEY
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
NOW THAT’S FUNNY

The Paterson school district, New Jersey’s third largest public school district, had planned to be open on Columbus Day. Usually they are closed that day, in observance of the holiday. But this year, they have already missed many school days because of flooding, and they need to make up those days. New Jersey requires a total of 180 days of school.

When the Italians got word of this, they didn’t like it. The Italian American One Voice Coalition particularly didn’t like it because the school was choosing to stay closed on the Muslim holiday of Eidh-Al-Ahda, celebrated on November 7, but to open on Columbus Day, a traditional American holiday. They saw that as disrespectful to a state with such a large number of Italian American residents. The Paterson school district, by the way, is 60 percent Hispanic, 30 percent African American and 9 percent other.

I like Columbus as much as the next gal. His story is impressive, his achievements loom large, and let’s face it, he changed the world. But if you want to honor him, the kids should be in school.

As a mother of two school age children and a some-time substitute teacher I can tell you that all kids get Columbus coming and going. It starts with picture books in Kindergarten and continues right on up through fifth grade when they learn that yes, though he was Italian, it was the Spanish King and Queen that paid for his trip. There is no shortage of Columbus-worship in the public schools.

I am pretty sure that most kids with the day off will not be spending it by honoring Columbus. They’re going to stay in their pajamas watching Nickelodeon, and then go outside and play. They might go to a movie or hit the mall.

Our school district, in Bergen County, is never closed on Columbus Day. We have a half day. I don’t get this, either. I can guarantee you my family is not going to use the extra 2 hours to attend a parade or attempt a Santa Maria reenactment. We’re going to go to Burger King for lunch and then get a jump on homework.

I don’t want to burst any bubbles, but to kids, a day off from school is a day off from school. They watch TV and play with their friends. Maybe Mom uses that day to buy them new sneakers. If Dad and Mom are off from work, then the whole family might get to do something fun, like a day trip or even a long weekend.

I don’t know any families that use their days off to honor Columbus, or Martin Luther King, Jr., (also heavily taught and appreciated during school-day curriculums), or the Presidents (ditto). Even Memorial Day and Labor Day, two of the most sacred, non-religious holidays in America, are days to go to the beach.


Franklin Roosevelt first declared Columbus Day a holiday in 1937, and at that time it was celebrated on October 12. Later, in 1971, it was moved to the second Monday of the month. I’m pretty sure this was done so that people could have a three-day weekend, not out of respect for the life of Columbus. If giant white sales and Doorbusters are a sign of honor, Columbus has reached the pinnacle.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at www.pamlobley.com.

ALSO BY PAM LOBLEY

'Real Housewives of N.J.' loses Jacqueline Laurita to reality

Reebok giving refunds for EasyTone shoes

Lodi, N.J. Police Chief Vincent Caruso okays wife's traffic ticket

Pastor Ted Haggard and Gary Busey to ‘Wife Swap’

Abercrombie & Fitch to 'Jersey Shore': Stop wearing our clothes!

Tips for Kim Kardashian as she settles in New Jersey

Mystery of D.B. Cooper lives on despite new evidence

Statue of Liberty closing, but there’s still plenty to see

‘Jersey Shore’ cast is happy to be back from Italy

Sexting, nude photos take down N.J. politician Louis Magazzu

Dunkin’ Donuts ‘extra sugar’ for sex code cracked by N.J. police

Rugby and royalty mingle at wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall

Tanya Young, wife of Jayson Williams, bringing ‘a shocking experience’ to ‘Basketball Wives’

Less fries, more apples for McDonald's Happy Meal

Psoriasis is so common, even Kim Kardashian has it

Google logo remembers artist on his 113th birthday

The Paleo Diet: Lose weight and eat like a caveman?

Black bear captured in East Brunswick must be looking for love

Avoid Giant Hogweed: Noxious plant can cause blindness

Research: Diet soda sweeteners can make you gain weight

N.J. not in favor of second term for Gov. Christie

TSA stands by pat-down of elderly woman and removal of her diaper

Study: City life can drive you crazy

Sonic the Hedgehog celebrates with special Sega promo

Newsweek’s Best High Schools in America list lacks diversity

Vancouver Riot Kiss captures this era (PHOTO)?

France bans Facebook and Twitter

N.J. prom teen who crashed into hotel room has night to remember

Food pyramid to MyPlate is a step in right direction

N.J. woman injured during graveyard sex

Gov. Christie's expensive helicopter travel is presidential

Medford, N.J. School District charging student teachers to work for free

Newt Gingrich Tiffany’s revelation a cause of ridicule

N.J. school district considering ban on weekend homework

The HCG diet: Being 'pregnant' makes you thinner?

'Go the F**k to Sleep' book goes viral with online PDF

N.J. pension fund desperate for hedge fund returns

'Real Housewives of New Jersey' cast needs a good Swedish woman

Facebook movement works to let James Tate go to prom despite his history of disciplinary issues

Judgment Day: World to end on May 21, according to Doomsday prediction by Harold Camping

Bronx Zoo peacock found dispelling iPhone5 rumors

New Jersey's allergy season in full bloom

Ideas for the perfect Mother's Day gift

Facebook is starting to see a decline

La Salle University hires strippers for ethics symposium

Rutgers wants Springsteen to save them from Snooki sin

New concerns over Facebook depression

April Fool’s Day headlines

Bergen County towns object to PSE&G's ugly solar panel utility poles

N.J. pension funds to take more risk

New Jersey's new fertilizer laws: obey or pay

Can a supermoon cause an earthquake (VIDEO)?

Cappie Pondexter’s Twitter comments can be a lesson on tweeting

Pi Day celebrated

Time change for spring 2011

Ash Wednesday: Hear God's voice over the sound of your snacking

Gasbuddy.com is a great way to find cheap gas

Faith Kroll (PHOTOS): Live sex act exposes Northwestern

Gov. Christie as President: The difference between 'could' and 'should'

How did 'Kurt Douglas' do at the Oscars?

Is President Obama stealing from Governor Chris Christie?

Chris Lee shirtless photo leads N.Y. Congressman to resign, but with raised suspicions

Is there a gay Snooki for ‘Jersey Shore' spinoff?

‘Jersey Shore' leads pack of hit N.J. reality TV shows

NJ school closings: More snow means more snow days

Mid-terms stink at North Hunterdon High School

Yes, Snooki and ‘Jersey Shore' to film in Italy

 
Comments (4)
4 Thursday, 10 October 2013 14:14
TOM Z
To me I will not recongnze Columbus Day or Martin Luther King Day unitl the American Government formally makes St Patrick's Day a holiday. To me the Italians have their day, the blacks have their day but the Irish don't. Not acceptable to me. I have never went to school or work on St Patrick's Day. I own my own company and I give St Patricks Day a paid holiday but not Columbus or Martin Luther King Day and will not unitl the American Government gives St Patricks day a paid holiday.
3 Wednesday, 12 October 2011 21:23
Anonymous
Soemtimes the kids DON'T need to be in school. We overload them with so much, why complain that they get a day off to go out and be kids? Ridiculous.
2 Monday, 10 October 2011 09:51
karenrz
Religious holidays should have nothing to do with the school calendar IMHO. Sure, we have Spring Break where Easter and Passover coincide sometimes and the Winter Break where Christmas and New Years Day occur, but for the same reasons the kids have off from school in the summers (orginally to work on the farm during the growing season), these traditional holiday seasons were observed by prior generations of Americans and now our work calendars and lives are intertwined with these holidays. It would be extremely difficult to change this mindset. As such, these breaks should stay.

What school districts should do is allot a number of school days off for "holidays" for each child so that if there is a day that a child has to observe for religious reasons, be it Good Friday or Eid Al-Adha, then the day is taken from the bank of days given to the child. You don't have to use these days, but if you do, the child has to make up the work in school that he/she missed. In this way, parents who do not celebrate a holiday like Rosh Hashanah or Eid Al-Adha don't have to use one of their precious vacation days to stay home with the kiddies or, if they don't have the vacation days, lose a day of pay, which these days can be devasting for a single income family.

If you want your child to have off for a religious holiday, then send your child to an appropraite religious school for Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, etc. Public schools are public - for all children, creeds, nationalities, etc., and religion should have nothing to do with whether a day is given. Public national holidays like Thanksgiving and Presidents Day are the exceptions.
1 Sunday, 09 October 2011 17:28
Aref Assaf
I am glad Paterson's schools will be closed during Eid Al-Adha on November 7. This is a religious holiday where Muslims are expected to attend services in their mosques followed by visits to cemeteries and family members. Columbus Day on the other hand is a civic holiday and students are best served by teaching them about what Columbus did rather than spending the day at Macy's. And besides, Paterson has a sizable number of Muslim students and teachers.

Add your comment

Your name:
Subject:
Comment:
Be one step ahead of financial criminals using fraud protection services.
Easily find affordable life insurance from New York Life to ensure your family is in good hands.

Follow/join us

Twitter: njnewsroom Linked In Group: 2483509