Williamsville School Board president hopes to revisit Indigenous Peoples' Day

Mar 10, 2017

The Williamsville School Board rejected a proposal earlier this week to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day.  But as WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley tells us the school board president in hoping to revisit the idea in the future.  

“I don’t think Williamsville is ready. No, they’re not ready,” declared Toni Vazquez, president, Williamsville School Board President.   

Vazquez tells WBFO News she's wasn't surprised the board rejected her idea, but she is “disappointed.”  

The Williamsville School Board rejected a proposal earlier this week to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Credit Photo from Williamsville School District webpage

“As you know the board has spoken and I have to abide by the outcome of the vote, which I do, but I am personally disappointed that we didn’t take the students – their viewpoints into consideration because we didn’t. We simply made a decision without considering any of their suggestions,” remarked Vazquez.

The debate in the district actually started last October when Vazquez presented her proposal. She was the only 'yes' vote Monday to change the holiday name. Vazquez tells us she believes students are more willing to accept the change than adults.

“There was a debate at Mill Middle School not too long ago, which I attended, and the debaters were all middle school students and they were assigned a position on this topic – con or pro for changing the name to Indigenous Peoples' Day – and the students did an awesome job of defending their positions, but I talked to one of the facilitators of the debate and she said the students were so confused as to why this was even debatable,” noted Vazquez.

Last fall the Niagara-Wheatfield School District approved the change and students were a driving force. Since Monday's vote Vazquez says she's already received some responses from Williamsville school students.

WBFO asked Vazquez if she plans to revisit the topic in the future.

"I plan to and I hope that we do revisit this conversation. I know for a fact that we will try to, well it is my hope that we will try to incorporate it into our learning as much as we can because that’s the most important part,” Vazquez responded.