Holidays and Insensitivity, Follow-up

A bit ago, I wrote about the apparent holiday insensitivity of a politically correct treatment of the fall holidays in a Massachusetts school.  In that post, I posed some questions to Dr Foley and Dr Pierantozzi concerning certain remarks they were quoted as having been made, in particular concerning Christopher Columbus, Thanksgiving, and Hallowe’en.  Dr Foley’s remarks were contained in an internal email to her school staff which had been obtained by Boston Herald columnist Jessica Heslam; Dr Pierantozzi’s remarks were made publicly in support of Dr Foley.   Separately, I emailed Ms Heslam, requesting access to that internal email from which she quotes.

Dr Foley’s original email is available here, courtesy of the SomervillePatch, and I’m providing it below.

From: Foley, Anne
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 7:44 AM
To: Kennedy School
Subject: our next holiday

When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples of the “new” world.  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.  For many people this was just one big happy meal.  We can talk about this more during grade level meetings today if you choose.


From this email, it’s plain that there was no ban on holidays at the school; there was only an intent to “spark discussion.”

Since then (the following Monday, in fact) Dr Foley has delivered an explanation via email and autocalling an explanation of her remarks in that internal email.  That message is provided below, also courtesy of the SomervillePatch.

This message is to address the Herald article and its aftermath that occurred this past Friday. As we all know anything posted on the internet has the potential to become public. The email I sent was addressed to Kennedy School staff with the intent of sparking an educational discussion on how we can address the multi-cultural perspectives on our upcoming holidays. If this message had been intended for a broader audience, I would have chosen less inflammatory words and provided more of a context for the message. I apologize if my words offended anyone – that was not my intent.

Please know that nothing has changed regarding the instruction and events planned at the Kennedy School this year. As always, teachers and classrooms address holidays as part of their curriculum. I support the outstanding staff at the Kennedy School who will continue to provide the best education for our students. I want to thank all of those who have offered me kind words.

Thank you.

It’s plain that errors occurred in this affair.  Dr Foley has already addressed hers.  Ms Heslam, however, seems to have taken remarks out of context and created a story where none, in fact, existed.  The rest of us, yours truly included, were too quick to jump on the anti-PC bandwagon and start screaming bloody murder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *