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Atlanta Public Schools calendar change would rename Columbus Day

Atlanta Public Schools headquarters at 130 Trinity Ave. SW in downtown Atlanta.  BOB ANDRES  /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Atlanta Public Schools headquarters at 130 Trinity Ave. SW in downtown Atlanta. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Atlanta Public Schools would no longer recognize Columbus Day as a school holiday under a proposed calendar change.

The move would be largely symbolic, since the district would instead give students and staff the same day off for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Both days fall on Oct. 12, 2020.

APS has historically marked the holiday on its calendars as Columbus Day, but the board on Monday signaled unanimous support to change the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. A vote to finalize the change and make it official is expected at an upcoming board meeting.

The shift follows a trend in some places to rename the federal holiday that honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Nationally, activists have called for the holiday to be renamed, contending it celebrates colonialism and overlooks mistreatment of Native Americans.

A handful of states have renamed the holiday.

During Monday’s school board meeting, Chairman Jason Esteves said there are historical figures “we learn (about) and sometimes honor a little too much.”

“We’d prefer to learn about them versus honor them, and Christopher Columbus is one of them,” he said.