Religious Holidays in Public School

oldnewbie

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In my county, the school board currently has "winter break", "spring break", several national holidays, and two religious holidays: Good Friday, and Yom Kippur.

This week, one individual, a self proclaimed muslim, went before the school board to request "equal status", and a day for muslims, Eid Al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan.

The board decided, rather than granting another holiday, to remove all religious holidays, i.e. Good Friday, and Yom Kippur. These two days off will now be used for Presidents Day, and an additonal day during "spring break".

My question: was this the right choice? Why?
 

OnlyAnEgg

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I can see the logic in this decision.

Right now, at work, I am standing down a request to make a direct link to customer service on my company website's frontpage. Why? Because a) the link is only a mouseHover away anyway and b) if I move one link to to front, every other department will want theirs on the front, too.

What the school board has done, it seems to me, is simply reversed what would certainly be a 'Hey, what about our holiday, too?' situation into a non-issue.

respectfully,

egg
 

mantis

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OnlyAnEgg said:
I can see the logic in this decision.

Right now, at work, I am standing down a request to make a direct link to customer service on my company website's frontpage. Why? Because a) the link is only a mouseHover away anyway and b) if I move one link to to front, every other department will want theirs on the front, too.

What the school board has done, it seems to me, is simply reversed what would certainly be a 'Hey, what about our holiday, too?' situation into a non-issue.

respectfully,

egg
You make a very good point.
on the other hand i still think it is not fair.
A good solution would be to allow any religion to prove they have a holiday at a certain time of the year, and then grant the students who belong to that religion those days to take them off.
The kids will deviate from their culture if they do not feel there is something special going on when their holidays come around. to us it doesnt matter, but for little kids it does a lot. kids are always waiting for christmas, but those who dont celebrate it wait for what?
i think the decision was harsh and not fair, and should take into consideration the feelings of kids. i think the fact that "muslims" are asking for something like that generates a very rigid "NO", too!
 

OnlyAnEgg

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In retrospect, I can't help but wonder if something as simple as a few 'floating' holidays wouldn't appease everyone?
 
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oldnewbie

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A couple of thoughts, if Americans were living in a foreign country, and asked the schools to add holidays, we would be told no.

Secondly, if parents kept there kids home for these holidays, do the kids really lose school time? Make-up work is always available.
 
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oldnewbie

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OnlyAnEgg said:
In retrospect, I can't help but wonder if something as simple as a few 'floating' holidays wouldn't appease everyone?

That's kind of what is happing with the winter break... It's not called Christmas break anymore... in order to appease others.
 

mantis

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oldnewbie said:
A couple of thoughts, if Americans were living in a foreign country, and asked the schools to add holidays, we would be told no.

Secondly, if parents kept there kids home for these holidays, do the kids really lose school time? Make-up work is always available.
i agree on the second thought, but not the first.
name a country that doesnt celebrate christmas. Even saudi arabia celebrates it; americans get sundays off, americans get thanksgiving off, not only that they even get valentine off!
 

terryl965

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First off we as a society have to draw the line for holiday's schools cannot close for every religious holiday,for every single group out there. the fair thing to do is give every student five floating days a year which they can use for there respective religions. Just my tweo cents.
Terry
 

arnisador

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terryl965 said:
First off we as a society have to draw the line for holiday's schools cannot close for every religious holiday,for every single group out there. the fair thing to do is give every student five floating days a year which they can use for there respective religions.

That would be fair--but it'd be a planning nightmare for the teachers. Even if the students were given a list of religious holidays students might take off, as opposed to letting them choose any 5 days at random, it'd still be an administrative hassle scheduling tests, trips, labs., etc.
 
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oldnewbie

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arnisador said:
That would be fair--but it'd be a planning nightmare for the teachers. Even if the students were given a list of religious holidays students might take off, as opposed to letting them choose any 5 days at random, it'd still be an administrative hassle scheduling tests, trips, labs., etc.

I have to agree here. We can have excused days off..but the biggest complaints I am hearing is that a critical exam could be planned on a religious day, then the students lose out. That doesn't seem to make sense, as anything can be made-up right?????
 

arnisador

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There has to be a balance. Giving an exam on Yom Kippur isn't right--but having the teacher constantly having to give make-ups isn't good either.
 
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oldnewbie

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arnisador said:
There has to be a balance. Giving an exam on Yom Kippur isn't right--but having the teacher constantly having to give make-ups isn't good either.

But how can we schedule around the varied religious holidays? I'm no expert, but I can imagine that would entail several days where nothing "important" is done. Would we have to cover days for "any" religion then? I see a problem there.
 

mantis

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arnisador said:
There has to be a balance. Giving an exam on Yom Kippur isn't right--but having the teacher constantly having to give make-ups isn't good either.
well, why dont school districts agree on a list of holidays and specify them before the year starts. so when teachers write their syllabi they would know how to plan. there arent too many holidays, but in certain cities like little sigon, korea town, Irvine, san jose (i only know california cities, sorry) the majority of the people, including teachers, are from differnet cultures and they're going to be absent anyway!
for example, the majority of santa ana is hispanic then the santa ana school district should permit mexican holidays, the next city is little sigon, the viets have to be given their holidays, and so on.
just have each city take care of its own people maybe!
 

arnisador

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I think a list is necessary, yes, oldnewbie and mantis! A student could petition to put a new day on the list.
 
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oldnewbie

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mantis said:
well, why dont school districts agree on a list of holidays and specify them before the year starts. so when teachers write their syllabi they would know how to plan. there arent too many holidays, but in certain cities like little sigon, korea town, Irvine, san jose (i only know california cities, sorry) the majority of the people, including teachers, are from differnet cultures and they're going to be absent anyway!
for example, the majority of santa ana is hispanic then the santa ana school district should permit mexican holidays, the next city is little sigon, the viets have to be given their holidays, and so on.
just have each city take care of its own people maybe!

Wow, when would the kids actually go to school? You're talking about alot of days to cover. When do you stop and say enough???
 

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oldnewbie said:
Wow, when would the kids actually go to school? You're talking about alot of days to cover. When do you stop and say enough???

My point exactly! Give the kids 5 floaters a year and let them honor their personal holidays as they choose.
 

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oldnewbie said:
Wow, when would the kids actually go to school? You're talking about alot of days to cover. When do you stop and say enough???
like i said. in little sigon there could be one or two holidays a year. so the regular + 1 or 2 days.
if you dont want this whole deal then are you okay if your kids go to school on christmas day?
why christmas and hunnuka(sp?) and not Eid and everything else?
if you look at it, there's only 30 million jews on earth vs. 1.3 billion muslims, and over another billion of buddhists and hidu's!

besides, isnt this "supposed" to be a secular country? why religious holidays then?
 
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oldnewbie

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mantis said:
like i said. in little sigon there could be one or two holidays a year. so the regular + 1 or 2 days.
if you dont want this whole deal then are you okay if your kids go to school on christmas day?
why christmas and hunnuka(sp?) and not Eid and everything else?
if you look at it, there's only 30 million jews on earth vs. 1.3 billion muslims, and over another billion of buddhists and hidu's!

besides, isnt this "supposed" to be a secular country? why religious holidays then?

I suppose I should have stated my opinion first...I agree with the decision. No religious holidays. What I was attempting to do was to understand all those upset with the ruling.

To answer you question, no I would not want my kids to attend school on christmas day, but not for religious reasons.
 

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OnlyAnEgg said:
In retrospect, I can't help but wonder if something as simple as a few 'floating' holidays wouldn't appease everyone?

Why do we feel the need to appease everyone? We have several hundred years of cultural history in this country, and others have much longer history, that has gotten us to the state we are in regarding holidays. The notion that we have to change all that now to accommodate anyone willing to raise there voice is ridiculous. This is a democracy, really a constitutional republic, so let it work. If there is a statistically significant portion of the population in any given community that advocates change, then do it. If not, don't.

I heard yesterday that the principal of a middle school in Newton, MA has cancelled the traditional wearing of Halloween costumes to school on that day because someone finds it offensive, akin to devil worship or some such BS. This really pisses me off! A pack of 11 year olds running around dressed up like witches, Spongebob, and R2D2 hardly equates to rampant disregard for accepted social, religious, or moral stances. If you don't want your child exposed, keep them home. But taking the privilege away from all to satisfy the petty whim of one is absurd.

I do hope this kind of political correctness dies a quick and well deserved death.
 

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