ATLANTA — A controversial American holiday could be no more in Atlanta schools with a proposal in the works to rename the day gaining traction.
The Atlanta Board of Education unanimously passed the first reading of an agenda item on Monday that would change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Celebrated on the second Monday in October, the holiday named after the famous explorer has long drawn criticism due to his recorded cruelty to Native Americans.
History.com reports that Columbus enslaved many and subjected them to violence and brutality. Enslavement was even part of his famous journey to the Caribbean in 1492.
Meanwhile, he and other explorers brought new diseases to the new world - an unintended but nonetheless severe consequence of traveling to new lands.
In recent years, critics around the country have lobbied to have the federal holiday removed from U.S. calendars citing the violent aspects of Columbus's legacy.
While the holiday still is on the books nationally, school systems around the country, faced with trying to remove a day that many have as a day off for students have opted to change the name instead.
Indigenous Peoples' Day has been the solution for many - along with several states and cities around the country.
The Atlanta Board of Education's recent vote is a sign that Atlanta Public Schools could become the next on that list. The calendar change still has to pass a second reading by the council, who may come to the upcoming meeting with new questions or concerns about the change.
But if passed, it would ultimately be adopted into the next school year and be celebrated on Oct. 20. Since the calendars are approved annually, however, it's not impossible to see the day change back.
Atlanta Public Schools said the suggestion to change the day's name came after a community-wide survey of over 11,200 respondents. A district-wide calendar committee, teacher advisory committee, district executive committee and input from school leaders were all part of the overall calendar process.
The overall calendar recommendation also suggests a starting date of the second Monday in August, four-day weekends in October and February for students and the last day being before Memorial Day.
While the school system has multiple meetings in a month, the next full board meetings are scheduled for March 2.