The school board in Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D. C., has voted not to name the holidays associated with religions on the school calendar.
School will still be dismissed for Christmas, Easter, and the major Jewish holidays. But when Muslims wanted time off for their holidays, the school board decided to think about holidays like this: We aren’t observing the religious holidays; rather, we are dismissing classes when large numbers of students are likely to be absent. So on the school calendar, instead of so much as mentioning “Christmas,” there is just a notice of “no class today.”
Is this silly, does it make sense, or should the schools dismiss classes for Islamic holidays too?
From Donna St. George, Holidays’ names stricken from next year’s Montgomery schools calendar – The Washington Post:
Christmas and Easter have been stricken from next year’s school calendar in Montgomery County. So have Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.Montgomery’s Board of Education 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.