Toms River is a location in New Jersey with a high population of Italian-Americans. Previously, only the faculty came in on Columbus Day, while the students had the day off.
However, now the students must come in on Columbus Day. School officials explained that it was logical to bring students back to shorter the school calendar. Nevertheless, many Italian-American activists in Toms River do not buy this. They believe the district modified the calendar to evade the growing controversy and debate surrounding Columbus Day.
Michael Citta, the superintendent, explained that this is not true and that the schools intend to teach students about Columbus Day and the numerous contributions Italian-Americans have made to the United States.
He explained that Italian American organizations in New Jersey helped formulate the school lessons to relay a message about what Italian Americans have done for our country and our local communities and that we celebrate these contributions on Columbus Day. He stated, “So, we didn’t cancel Columbus Day.”
Nevertheless, many Italian-American groups do not believe Michael Citta. Numerous Italian-Americans arrived at the school board meeting Wednesday evening to relay their feelings.
“Why does it have to be Columbus Day that this is done? It’s an insult to Italian Americans to obliterate a holiday. And what does it tell the students? That Columbus is not really a great holiday,” said Andrew Dimino, president of the Italian American One Voice Coalition.
Moreover, the Town of West Orange called the Columbus statue a symbol of hate and oppression and took it down. Consequently, The Italian American One Voice Coalition is suing the town of West Orange for taking down its Columbus statue.