Christmas stricken from school calendar after Muslims ask for equal treatment

Christmas and Easter have been stricken from next year’s school calendar in Montgomery County. So have Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

Montgomery County’s school board voted 7 to 1 Tuesday to eliminate references to all religious holidays on the published calendar for 2015-2016, a decision that followed a request from Muslim community leaders to give equal billing to the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha.

In practical terms, Montgomery schools will still be closed for the Christian and Jewish holidays, as in previous years, and students will still get the same days off, as planned.

Board members said Tuesday that the new calendar will reflect days the state requires the system to be closed and that it will close on other days that have shown a high level of student and staff absenteeism. Though those days happen to coincide with major Christian and Jewish holidays, board members made clear that the days off are not meant to observe those religious holidays, which they say is not legally permitted.

The main and most noticeable difference will be that the published calendar will not mention any religious holidays by name.

washingtonpost.com/local/education/christmas-stricken-from-school-calendar-after-muslims-ask-for-equal-treatment/2014/11/11/f1b789a6-6931-11e4-a31c-77759fc1eacc_story.html?hpid=z3

Oh brother… why not recognize all holidays? Is there not enough room in the calendar? In this modern world, even if it’s secular, we’re supposed to be promoting tolerance, polycentricism and respect for difference! Liberals are such hypocrites.

Consider there is quite an issue building.

There are many Religions that have Holy Days, if all were granted there would be many issues to sort out with employment etc!

For instant, the Baha’is have 9 Holy Days to which Work is not supposed to be undertaken. Then there is Christian, Muslim, Hindu etc

God Bless and Regards Tony

This is another reason our son is in Catholic school…

BTW, that county in Maryland is very rich and very liberal (next to DC). They are unusual.

I think this site was helpful.
The fact is that Christmas is a federal holiday. The fact that it is a Christian holy-day isn’t really relevant. The school district can, and frankly should, list the observance of this federal holiday as the Christmas holiday because that is the designation of the federal government by statute.
I don’t know what the state laws are in Maryland, but designating, for example, an Easter holiday, while perhaps for some reason illegal in Maryland, is not unconstitutional.

Jon

In our corner of Mississippi, the public schools are out for Christmas Holidays, Good Friday, and Easter (Monday). We are the buckle on the Bible Belt though, so it probably will stay that way for some time yet.

Not sure how it is now, but when my kiddos were in public school, they were extremely strict as to what counted as an excused absence and holy days were not included, meaning that if I pulled them for the holy days of our faith, and their “unexcused absences” were more than three per semester, there would be disciplinary action, which could include us being reported for truancy.

Since, understandably, all holy days are not recognized federal holidays, seems like they SHOULD be included as excused absences.

My youngest graduated 5 yrs ago, but that was how it stood at that point.

The children did get off for Winter break, which coincided with Christmas, but they did not get off for Easter, Spring break often did not fall coinciding with Easter. It was common for Good Friday to be a “teacher work day”, meaning children were not in class.

As a teacher my experience has always been that religious holy days were considered excused. That they were not in your case is appalling

Jon

The move actually makes sense in the context of the world we live in. It would be unecumenical to not accommodate all of the religious observances that God has given to us. Since it would be near impossible to accommodate ALL of the world’s religions, then it would only be fair to not offend anyone by only observing a few.

I too am surprised. I understand the practical need to close only on the holidays where most are observing religious holidays, and using attendance is a good way of weighing closures.

I see this problem as solvable by going to a voucher system, allowing all parents to choose a school in line with their beliefs, as opposed to private schools being denied the poor. Our Catholic school participates in competition against other private schools, including one Muslim school. I am totally on board with helping those Muslims that are poorer with their fair share of educational funds.

I was surprised to hear that there are still school’s who recognize Christmas and Easter. It has been Winter and Spring breaks in most places I have heard of. They didn’t need to blame it on the Muslims.

Good point. Muslims are, it seems, just a convenient excuse for the secular progressives.

They can change the name, but they can’t change individual speech, even that of teachers, when it comes to a federal holiday. So, I have no qualms in wishing my students a Merry (or even blessed) Christmas.

Jon

Ive have Muslims friends who wish me Merry Christmas :slight_smile:

MJ

The only problem with parochial schols involved with a voucher system is that there would be a high likelihood that they would have to worry about the federal or state governments involvement in curricular issues. I’m a retired teacher and have worked in both public and parochial settings. Once the government gets their hands on what goes on in your classrooms the freedom to teach creatively begins to deteriorate.

I’d expect the government would have to be negotiating with local bishops which might put a break on any militant secular curriculum proposals for all schools.

That is sort of a problem. However, the government can already meddle, if to a lesser extent than when money is involved. I think the chance to open up those less privileged to religious education is well worth the risk.

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