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School district strikes religious holiday names from calendar

School district strikes religious holiday names from calendar

How would you have handled this situation?

Muslim parents asked the Montgomery County, Maryland Board of Education to close schools on their two most important religious holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which, in some years occur during the school year.

The board of education refused, and instead chose to remove the religious names of school holidays from the school calendar, but to leave the holidays in place. Students in Montgomery County will still have a lengthy break at the end of December, but it won’t be called Christmas break. Likewise, they will still have Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah off, you just won’t know why by looking at the calendar.

The Washington Post notes that: “Students who miss classes on religious holidays are given excused absences. But Muslim families have argued that students should not have to choose between their faith and their schoolwork and that missing even a day leaves many students behind. They say the day off is a matter of equity, with Christian and Jewish students getting days off for their holidays.”

Vox does a good job of explaining the situation, and the Post has begun to cover the backlash against the board’s decision.

What do you think of the way in which the board handled the situation?


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Paul Woodrum

This is discrimination. Regardless of what the district calls it, Jews and Christians still get time off for their Holy Days and Muslims don’t. Either the school board should set its own schedule without regard to religious holidays (probably the better choice) or honor all equally.

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