The principal of a Massachusetts elementary school has warned teachers about the dangers of celebrating fall holidays in class.
Anne Foley, principal of Kennedy Elementary school in Somerville, Mass., sent a faculty email implicating Christopher Columbus for “atrocities” and also advising teachers that they needed to be careful in their handling of Thanksgiving lessons, according to The Boston Herald.
“When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples,” said the email. “We can no longer do so. For many of us and our students celebrating this particular person is an insult and a slight to the people he annihilated. On the same lines, we need to be careful around the Thanksgiving Day time as well.”
Foley said that she simply wanted to open dialogue among teachers about how they could better address the very European perspectives offered to children in history classes. According to the article, when asked about specific atrocities committed by Columbus, the principal failed to cite any, saying instead that “she wasn’t going to dwell on that.”
Massachusetts Representative Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) disagreed with the school principal’s political correctness assault on fall holidays: “Christopher Columbus and the Pilgrims may have had shortcomings, but they also represent the adventurous, inquisitive side of our heritage and we should recognize that they played key roles in the foundation of our great nation.”
Foley also reportedly opted to ban Halloween celebrations at the school because of possible associations with witchcraft and the presence of students that come from cultures that do not celebrate the holiday.