UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, Hampden-Wilbraham Superintendent of Schools Marty O'Shea issued a statement in response to the story which ran on abc40 News Wednesday evening. In the statement, O'Shea said that the news story misrepresented the school's plans and that the school did not plan for O'Green Day to replace St. Patrick's Day, but that O'Green Day was planned in order to encourage students to wear green ahead of St. Patrick's Day, which falls on a non-school day this year. O'Shea said he and Principal Lisa Curin did not initially comment on the story because they did not want to "legitimize or give credibility to it." Read the full statement here.
While thousands of children around the country will take part in St. Patrick's Day festivities at school on Friday, students at one Massachusetts school are slated to celebrate "O'Green Day" as part of an effort to promote an "inclusive and diverse" learning environment, abc40 News reports.
But Lisa Curin, the principal of Soule Road School in Wilbraham, Mass., is facing harsh criticism from parents, faculty, and other members of the community for her decision.
"I think it’s really stupid. I don’t understand why they would change history’s old holiday names, just to remove the essence of religion from it when it’s not really a religious holiday," Janet Carlyle, a Wilbraham resident, told the station.
The school's calendar does not omit St. Patrick's Day, which falls this year on a Saturday, but simply adds O'Green Day on Friday, when students will celebrate the holiday in school.
According to the Republican, the school's decision to scrap St. Patrick's Day follows a number of recent cases in which Massachusetts schools disallowed students from celebrating certain holiday traditions.
In December 2011, controversy erupted when the superintendent of a school in Saugus, Mass., put an end to a tradition in which firefighters would visit children dressed as Santa, according to Fox 25 Boston.
Earlier that year, the principal of a school in Sommerville, Mass. who had already banned students from dressing up in Halloween costumes sent a letter to school faculty condemning the celebration of Columbus Day, saying that schools can no longer ignore the "atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples," the Boston Herald reported.
Watch the report on O'Green Day above and check out my Fox 25 Boston's coverage of the Santa controversy below: