Moral Low Ground


Mass. Elementary School Principal Anne Foley Apologizes after E-Mail Slamming Columbus Day & Thanksgiving

October 18, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in Education, Morality with 0 Comments

A Massachusetts elementary school principal has apologized after sending an e-mail to teachers in which she disparaged Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.

Last week, MyFoxBoston reported that Anne Foley, principal at the Kennedy School in Somerville, sent an e-mail to faculty warning them about celebrating Halloween, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.

“When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples,” Kennedy wrote. “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 Thanksgiving Day as well.”

Additionally, Halloween has been banned at the school. Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi told the Boston Herald that the pseudo-holiday enjoyed by children across America and around much of the world is “problematic” because it is linked to witchcraft.

Columbus hunted Haiti's Taino Indians for sport and fed their mutilated bodies to his dogs.

On Columbus Day and, to a lesser degree, Thanksgiving, Principal Foley is absolutely correct. One need only read the diary of Christopher Columbus himself in order to get a feel for how vile he was. Here he is, writing about the Arawak Indians who ran to greet him when his ships landed in the Bahamas:

They… brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features… They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… They would make fine servants… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

This is just the beginning of Columbus’ many heinous atrocities, which also included hunting Taino Indians (Haiti) for sport, beating, raping, torturing and killing them before feeding his hunting dogs their mutilated body parts.

Question: Why on earth would we continue to celebrate a holiday in honor of such a monster? Columbus ushered in one of the great genocides in all of human history. The Pilgrims who arrived in New England in the 1600s accelerated the annihilation of the indigenous Americans. There is nothing to be thankful about in such a shameful chapter of humanity.

Still, local officials in Somerville proudly embrace these holidays. While acknowledging that Principal Foley had a “fair point” about Columbus Days, mayor Joe Curtatone, who has three children enrolled at Kennedy, declared: “I’m the son of Italian immigrants, so I take Columbus Day very near and dear, and I’m proud that he discovered America [editor’s note: Columbus did not discover America; Norse explorer Leif Erikson established a settlement in New Foundland, Canada nearly 500 years before Columbus] and that America’s named after another Italian. If we ignore and we don’t want to talk about it, if we want to stifle debate, then we’re ignoring history.”

Or, in Curtatone’s case, mangling it.

Moral Low Ground salutes Principal Foley’s principled stand regarding these dubious holidays. Alas, she has now apologized for her missive. “I apologize if my words offended anyone– that was not my intent,” she said in an automated phone call and e-mail to parents, staff and students. According to the Boston Herald, Foley explained that her earlier e-mail was for staff eyes only, sent with the intention of “sparking an educational discussion on how we can address the multi-cultural perspectives on our upcoming holidays.”

Somerville principal: Fall holidays are insensitive:

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