School Committee Endorses Indigenous People’s Day Proposal

The School Committee Tuesday voted unanimously to “recognize Indigenous People’s Day, which is consistent with the values of the Bedford Public Schools.”

The 4-0 vote was timed to endorse a proposal on the May 15 town meeting warrant, which calls for the town to officially replace the designation Columbus Day on the second Monday of each October with Indigenous People’s Day.

The School Committee worked hard to fine-tune the wording of the motion to avoid setting a precedent on making recommendations on warrant articles.

Committee member JoAnn Santiago took the lead in advocating for the position. “We try to teach our students to respect and appreciate differences and support each other. This is an opportunity to model that behavior, including stepping out of our comfort zone.”

Santiago urged members to “make positive change that is respectful of other people.” Columbus, she said, “is not someone who is worthy of elevation.” She added that October is Italian-American Heritage Month and “I think it’s great to celebrate that.”

Brad Morrison endorsed Santiago’s position. “I think it is appropriate for us. There is an educational component to this action and our job is about education.” Sarah Scoville added her support. “Who we elevate matters,” she said.

Ann Guay, the senior member of the committee, also voted in favor of the motion but emphasized her concern about precedent. “Procedurally we haven’t got involved in articles,” she said, and committee members should expect future appeals for pre-town meeting support.

“I think it’s a legitimate concern but the community should not misconstrue our wholehearted support of Indigenous People’s Day,” Morrison replied.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763


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