Paterson School District Now Says It Will Close On Columbus Day

Move Follows Outrage By Italian-American Group

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Paterson School District now seems to be making a discovery of its own: Don’t mess with Columbus Day.

An Italian-American advocacy group expressed outrage by the district’s decision to keep schools open on Columbus Day this year. The Italian American One Voice Coalition said the decision was particularly outrageous because the district will be closed on Nov. 7 to mark the Muslim holiday of Eidh-Al-Adha.

“In a state with the second highest number of Italian American residents it seems inconceivable that a holiday honoring the great… Christopher Columbus seems no longer important enough to remain on the Paterson school calendar,” said Andre DiMino, president of the Italian American One Voice Coalition.

“This is the wrong message to give to our children, an embarrassment to Italian-American students and an insult to all New Jersey Italians,” DiMino said, according to the group’s website.

The district’s website, however, made clear school was in session on Columbus Day as a makeup day due to September flooding.

The website though does show that the district is closed on Nov. 7 to mark Eidh-Al-Adha.

“If they want to take a day off for a Muslim holiday that’s up to them but don’t take away a holiday that’s for Italian-Americans,” DiMino said. “Why wouldn’t they open school on other holidays, like Martin Luther King Day? Why does it have to be on Columbus Day?”

It seems the group’s reaction caught the district’s attention.

“Due to the unique circumstances of this year, one option was to follow the practice of some other school districts by remaining open on Columbus Day- a non-religious holiday,” the district said in a statement. “However, we have reconsidered this decision and will close on Monday, Oct. 10th and will make up this day at another time.”

The district noted that the school year started late this year due to flooding. It also noted that a minimum of 180 days of student attendance is required by law.

Paterson is the third largest school district in New Jersey, with more than 28,400 students from preschool to 12th grade. 60 percent of the students are Hispanic, 30 percent are African-American, and 9 percent are of Caucasian, Middle Eastern or Asian descent, according to the district’s website.

What’s your reaction to this? Sound off in our comments section.

  • Vinny from Bensonhurst

    Schools must close to celebrate our heritage. Period.

    • SamT

      Is this a self-evident truth?

    • rodneyhubbard

      Most of the comments i’ve read appear to have been written by people who should have spent more time in school… and judging from this, the schools need to be open EVERYDAY!

  • nrichard

    funny – there are schools in Bergen County that are not closing for Columbus Day – are these whiners protesting these schools???

    • Kate

      Good point NRICHARD but the Italian American One Voice Coalition was not organized when Bergen county did that. Whiners is kind of mean. I’m backing them on this one. They are just sticking up for there heritage, try to open schools on a Jewish or Martin Luther King holiday in lue of a Musslim holiday and see how far you get. I will send them an e-mail. Thanks for the info!

      • Dakotahgeo

        lieu, Kate… LIEU, not lue. Thanks!

  • Tim

    Dan Te, Italian Americans have a higher education and make more money than the average american according to The Cencus and are prodomintly white color workers regardles to what you see on reality tv or movies. You have been fooled my who is “stupid”. There is a fine line between hate and envy.

  • LiberalsHeartIslam

    Bah…All you little wannabe scholars. Columbus didn’t do this or Columbus isn’t Italian or check your history. Put a cork in it. It doesn’t matter what it is. It is a national holiday. If you are so okay with Columbus Day going away and a Muslim holiday closing a school…then your Allah loving naive liberal hearts forget that Allah wants nonbelievers to convert or die. So drive your little smart cars, drink your lattes and prepare to be the first to be enslaved by the Muslim New World Order. Oh but wait there’s more…Muslims on here that love that fictional Allah character of yours…you are so fake in your devotion to him otherwise you would not be in this country. Allah has a special place for you Pseudo Muslims – MUAHAHAHAH

  • Americain

    Please, get off my lawn. People like you troll the internet spewing your nonsense. Go home latinos and go home Muslims. You are no longer welcome. Enough said.

  • Linda

    Here’s a newsflash: Columbus fled Spain in 1492 which was the largest expulsion of the Jews. Evidence indicates Columbus was Jewish, not Italian.

  • el gato

    I’d rather make up the day now than in on a Saturday in June.

  • Anthony

    The Italians, came, worked, suffered prejudes, earned there way and were the largested ethnic group to fight and die for america during WWll, let alone diiscovering and being named after (Amerigo Vespucci). That is why they have holiday. The seed for our way of life was planted by those brave passangers led by Colubus with a beleive that was something else out there. It was because of him, europe and rest of the then civilized world came to these shores.

  • Bobby

    Strange. The district is 60% Hispanic and it’s the Italians who got their panties in a knot about taking off on “La Dia de la Raza”.

  • Ahmed

    italians stole noodles from Asia and called it spaghetti.

  • mj

    theres a BIG difference between a religious holiday and one established to honor an italian , paid by spain, who really didn’t do anything anyway . they wouldn’t be complaining if the situation were reversed , its ONLY because it involves a muslim holiday

  • Surfin Bird

    This is a disgrace that the school district of Paterson,NJ is being racial and discriminatory against true hard working Italians. Why is there a double standard by keeping the schools open on COlumbus Day and closed on the Muslim HOliday Eidh-Al-Adha

    This is totally not right.

  • steffi

    Once again the goverment is giving into a religion that promotes hate. Just remember, if it wasn’t for Columbus, England, France, Spain and the Nederlands, you liberals would still be in Europe. If this isn’t discrimination, I don’t know what is. Were is the federal goverment and ACLU. Oh, I forgot, It is OK to discriiminate against their own people. Do as I say and not as I do.

    • Danny

      Your comment make no sense. What does a political affiliation have to do with history? Oh. I get it now. The truth = liberals, false catch phrases=GOP.

    • Mr. Invincible

      naaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh… quitcher bitchin’!

  • josh

    thank you media for spreading hate among people

  • Joseph Didonato

    As an Italian American they should be open for both holidays!!! Keep the kids in school they have enough days off due to snow. Screw both holidays!!!

  • sscarzz

    Pork sandwich day…. You can’t discover a land that’s already inhabited.

  • pugphan

    Columbus left Italia when he was 26, a fully grown man, he renounced his citizenship and became a Spaniard. So why is the mafia all of a sudden claiming him, when he didn’t want anything to do with Italia. Why not honor any of the great
    Italian men like Galileo, Mike Angelo, Da Vinci or any of the many others. His descendants are Spaniards, so leave the leave the Spanish alone. I’m against any
    muslim holidays here though, Islam is bogus. Their prophet never made any prophecies nor performed any miracles. smokersodyssecycom

  • jagdish

    Hey America. Get use to it. Veterans Day is next to disappear. Praise Allah.

  • bullett

    A slap in the face to the people (Italian Americans) who helped to build & fight for this (America) country, instead of trying to change it; as in the case of the Islamic ingrates.

    • Peter

      You are right about Italian American contributions to the building of this country.Paterson,at one time,had many thriving Italian American families and communities.Does anyone know how many IA’s still reside there?This is not a slap in the face,it is a recognition of the changes in the local demographics.

  • JNB

    Columbus day is NOT just an Italian American holiday It is the man who discovered America… And yes if the Muslim population is less than 10% why are they closing? Nothing tgo do with anything else… but if they give a day for one of the smallest group then the other majority groups also have an issue.. I thought there was a separation between church and state ie: no religous holidays would make sense… if children need to take off? then there should be X number of personal religious days allowed per student.. (2 or 3?) but only close the close for State or federal observed holidays…

    • Joann Heslin Frucchione

      First of all Colombus never made it to mainland America. He was only in the islands south of Florida.

    • Michael H.

      Here’s a news flash. Columbus wasn’t the first westerner to discover the Americas. Learn your history.

  • Blarthomore

    This is ‘much ado about nothing’ since Columbus Day is only a big deal to Italian-Americans. It was a holiday that was made a national holiday because of political pressure from the Knights of Columbus, which if you did not know is a Roman Catholic based organization. Columbus Day in New York City was for years an excuse for parochial school kids from New York and New Jersey to get drunk and be rowdy. It was also a chance for Roman Catholic groups to practice discrimination against groups of which they did not approve, and not just gay and lesbian groups but also political groups.

  • Ellen

    Hello, who discovered America anyhow? Well, it wasn’t a Muslim, and yes believe it or not this country was founded on Christian and Jewish ideology, not Islamic.

    • nrichard

      Hey Idiot – You can NOT discover something unless it was never known about – the Native Indians did not consider it lost therefore, Columbus did not discover it.
      AND here is something, why is it we can close schools for Jewish holidays but not Muslim holidays – it’s this bigoted attitude that causes all of the problems in the first place!

      • rocky

        Then they should close the schools for ST Patricks day also

        • Thor, God of Thunder

          Donnnnnnnn’t forget Setende Mai (May 5th), Norwegian Independence Day. Okay, you goof-balls… had enough? Don’t you ‘boys’ have a job to go to??? Oh!!! Okay.

          • rocky

            Don”t forget Flag day and the opening of the San Genario feast

    • Michael H.

      Columbus didn’t discover the Americas. The Vikings beat him by many years. The people we know as the Native Americans beat the Vikings by thousands of years. Rename it “Italian American Day” let them keep their parade up 5th avenue and be done with it. Enough with this holier than thou nonsense!

  • midi-man

    We should change our currency now to read in Allah we trust instead of in god we trust.
    Most Italian came over legally not illegal they built this country and this is the thanks. I am starting to hate my country. This is America and not a Muslim country we need to stop changing our holidays and everything. Don’t like our Holiday please leave. This is making me sick.:(

    • DarthEVaderCheney

      Well, times have changed, hot shot!!!

  • William H. Dewyea Sr.

    Are the Muslim now controling America. If the Muslims did not come to become American and respect our Constitution then they should be returned to their own country. Betond this who is the leader of the Muslims and what city in America does he live in?
    Second where is Mr. Christy in this matter, evedently not paying attention to what is going on in his own state. What would he do then if he were president?

    • Michael H.

      What the heck does the Constitution have to do with this?

  • Joe Schmo

    Maybe they think they can prevent another terror attack by honoring the mudslimes.


    Italians still live in the USA,I didnt know all I see is illegal immigrants from central and southern america,the caribbean and africa.The USA is a third world dump.glad I live in Canada,and winters are that bad cause I spend my winter in new zealand.

    • DarthEVaderCheney

      I’m glad you live in Canada too. Your English needs much improvement for anyone to take you seriously. Since Canada is half Asian, your premise doesn’t hold a liter of water.
      “and winters are that bad cause I spend my winter in new zealand.” I believe you mean, “AREN’T.”

  • XNY Bob in Fla.

    The story sez less than 9% of the students are Muslim. Remember ” MAJORITY RULES”? It’s THE AMERICAN WAY. Shutting down ANY operation to accomodate a small group like that is dumb business. Which is why I moved my biz and $$ to Florida. Here the majority still rules.

  • duh!

    if italians are minorities, then file a lawsuit for discrimination! lol

  • Read the article

    I am Italian. but honestly, 90% of the district is hispanic or black……. I am guessing the Italian American population is the minority here. Just sayin…..

  • rocky

    Don’t send your kids to school on Columbus and send them on that Muslim holiday This is America God bless the USA

    • Dakotahgeo

      Not smart. You might be surprised to find the school closed and NO supervision for your kids! Think again, Vesuvius!

      • normal

        Nobody wants your opinion here. Don’t you have a gay wedding to officiate?

        • normal

          I apologize for being offensive to you, Dakotahgeo. I don’t know what gets into me sometimes. This Alzheimers Disease is a bitch!

  • The Realist

    If the Italian American One Voice Coalition is actually offended (rahter than just pretending) , then it should do what real Americans do: SUE to recover its monetary losses.

    • DarthEVAderCheney

      Wink, wink… good one!

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