Train dangles over I-5 after derailing south of Tacoma
Donate to the Q13 FOX Cares and Les Schwab Holiday Toy Drive

Religious holidays being removed from school calendar

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(CNN) — Starting next year, the names of religious holidays like Christmas and Yom Kippur will no longer appear on the school calendar in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Instead of Christmas break, students will have winter break. And when Yom Kippur rolls around, the calendar will simply state that there will be no school.

This new calendar won’t affect the days students have off, and they’ll still be out of class on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Christmas and Easter weekend. It’s just that the names of religious holidays won’t appear on the school calendar.

The county’s Board of Education made this decision Tuesday, pointing out that schools don’t close for religious reasons but for secular ones, such as high absenteeism among students and teachers.

The decision also arrived amid a push from leaders in the Muslim community to see their faith’s holidays, such as Eid al-Adha, get the same treatment from Montgomery County schools as the Christian and Jewish observances.

Though students who need to be absent because of religious reasons do receive excused absences, Muslim leaders have argued that’s unequal treatment.

“Currently, the thousands of Muslim staff and students (within Montgomery County Public Schools) have to choose between their education and observing their religious practices,” says a statement on the website of the Equality for Eid Coalition, which has been advocating for Montgomery County to close school on Muslim holidays.

“They either skip school (an excused absence) to celebrate Eids or they skip their religious observances to attend school. Many choose to do the latter. However, this is not a choice that, for the most part, our Christian and Jewish neighbors face on their high holidays.”

Plus, there’s the question of equality. “Sometimes I don’t like it because everybody gets their days off and whenever I have celebrations, I don’t get off,” 9-year-old student Mussa Siddique told CNN affiliate WBFF.

That said, the Board of Education’s decision to scrub the school calendar of all religious holiday names isn’t what the coalition was hoping to see.

“By stripping the names Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they have alienated other communities now, and we are no closer to equality,” Saqib Ali, a co-chairman of the Equality for Eid Coalition, told The Washington Post. “It’s a pretty drastic step, and they did it without any public notification.”

But to board member Rebecca Smondrowski, who also spoke with the Post, “this seems the most equitable option.”

Montgomery County isn’t the first district to remove the names of religious holidays from its school calendar; Maryland’s Baltimore City Public Schools have done something similar.

One parent in Baltimore County, Tracey Pettingill, told WBFF that she disagrees with Montgomery County’s decision.

“I believe religion is what holds our nation together, and I think it’s the glue that keeps our society together, whether you’re religious or not,” Pettingill said.

Her son, Devon Jones, saw it as an attempt at political correctness.

“They’re trying to be politically correct so they don’t offend anybody,” he said. “But let’s be real here; they’re going to offend a few people. People always get offended.”

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

13 comments

    • sfoutch

      Agreed i am SO NOT PREJUDICE BY ANY MEANS MY FAMILY IS MIXED AND BEAUTIFUL!! BUT WHEN IS AMERICA GOING TO BE AMERICA if u do not like how we live GO HOME!! IF WE GO THERE AND FEEL LIKE OUR RIGHTS ARE NOT FAIR THEY SURE AS HELL ARE NOT GOING TO CHANCE THEIR HOLIDAYS!! the founding fathers of this country are jumping up n dwn in their graves!!! As americans we need to fight for what is right EVERY OUNCE OF EQUALITY IS BEING TAKEN FROM US!!! PEICE BY PIECE THEY ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY!!!

      • Saiya

        I dont think you understood the article. These are American children whose families celebrate islamic holidays and only wanted their holidays listed alongside the Christian and Jewish holidays. They were not asking for special privileges or wanting to take away the holiday names of other religions. This was Christians not wanting to put muslim holidays on the calendar and trying to avoid the fall out that would occur by denying the request out right. Atheists and muslims are not happy about this decision either. These are Americans, I know its hard to accept but this is a country of many races and religions and this is their home too… why should they leave? “Our rights are not fair” What are you talking about??? If anyone was being unfair about the rights of the people it was the Christians refusing the request, and they never asked anyone to change their holidays. Please read the article, or attempt to increase your reading comprehension level.

  • Realist

    They’re not trying to be PC, they’re not trying to “not offend” anyone. They simply did not want to treat the Islam holidays the same as Christian and Jewish, and basically cut their nose off to spite their face.”We’d rather not mention any religious holidays at all than have to recognize Muslims holidays.”

  • TJ

    What a total crock of shit! We dont go to other countries and have a fit because our holidays are not on their calendars, and start demanding changes to fit our beliefs.. .. this is AMERICA! USA! Holy shit people.. are you kidding me!!?? If my kids went to that school, I would be putting up on HELL of a fight to keep the school calendar the way it is!

    • Saiya

      You do realize how deluded that comment sounds right? America is a country of many religions. Your muslim neighbor is no less American than you are, neither is your hindu, buddhist, pagan, or even atheist neighbor. These people arent going to another country and complaining about their holiday not being supported, they are in their country. This is their home. Also, Christians arent native to this continent so you sound ridiculous and obtuse at best. What if Native Americans said exactly what you just did? Not sure why people like you hate this country? Why you cant stand that its a country founded of many peoples and its laws structured to give all citizens rights and freedoms. Perhaps this simply isnt the country for you, who knows perhaps you will find a better home that suits your desire to whitewash culture.

  • Michelle Mott

    How about people just calm down! Teach your children that these days off are for individual families to celebrate their personal choice of religion (or atheism). They will grow up to be more accepting and understanding of the diverse population we all live in.

  • Ellie simon

    Ugh! Disgusting !
    I’m sure Christ has turned his face from this country! Because we turned on Him! We turned our back on the most almighty and one and ONLY GOD! And He is the,Father, Son and the Holy Ghost! Ppl time to repent while still not too late!

    • Saiya

      LOL what are you going on about… Jesus is flippin everywhere all the time.Christianity is on billboards bumper stickers, license plates… our money, our pledge, theres churches on like every street corner, and in my area every other radio station plays Christian music or christian talk. You are frankly deluded and taking your oppressive privilege for granted if you think this country has turned away from your particular deity/prophet. That belief system is being shoved down our throats daily. Besides they arent saying you arent allowed to celebrate your stolen holiday, only that its not going to be listed on the calendar as Christmas. Besides atheists arent happy about this decision either and clearly neither are the muslims who only wanted equal treatment.

  • Ponta

    Umm… guys, CHRISTIANS were the ones who pulled the religious names. They did it to avoid having to list Muslim holidays in the name of religious equity. This is not persecution of Christians by atheists, secularists, or Muslims, this is persecution of Muslims by Christians. Seriously.

    • Saiya

      Thank you, its insane that these people are flipping about. Every excuse to feel persecuted and discriminated against while they continue to mistreat religious minorities and flaunt their privilege around, completely taking it for granted. Seems totally within character at this point for Christians to discriminate against a minority and claim that they are the victims.