In March 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, starting the following year, public school students would get days off to observe two Islamic holidays. No, what matters, in this line of thinking, is respecting religion. By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent 20 April 2009 • 15:27 pm Adding days off for religious holidays, many of which occur in the fall, would make the first semester even shorter and the second semester longer because these days would have to be added somewhere. If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar. As an extension of our government, public schools should also be separated from religion and not close for religious holidays. Public schools should not close for any religious reasons. Schools should still take great care in creating their schedules. The above is the list of religions for which we provide religious holidays for the year 2020, 2021 and beyond. And while that's going on all morals are going down the drain. Certainly, having schools involved in assessing which holidays require attending religious services and prohibit work (and thus can be taken off by the observant) and which others do not, as happened in Cranston, is not a viable way to run a public school system, and neither is closing on more and more days as certain religious groups increase their population shares in certain places, as happened in New York … The high court has ruled, however, that the government may not erect an explicitly It is bad enough that government decides which days are important enough in Christianity to close. We currently provide Christian, Muslim Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist religious holidays. At the time, the school committee wanted the mural addressed to “Our Heavenly Father” to remain in place, according to the teachers’ union. In most public schools around the U.S., classes are cancelled for Christian holidays like Christmas and Good Friday, while students of other faiths have to choose between going to class and celebrating their own holy days. To enter, students must write a 800- to 1,200-word essay in response to this prompt: “In most public high schools, certain days are marked as religious holidays on … After Boston, Massachusetts, endured its snowiest winter on record, and thus an unusually high number of snow days, the nearby town of Easton decided to hold classes on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Good Friday rather than extend the school year even later into summer. Do public schools violate the Establishment Clause when they recognize some religious holidays, but not others? As religious diversity expands, so will the school calendar dilemma. View Poll Results: Should Public Schools be closed on religious holidays? Teachers’ requests to observe the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah the previous fall were approved by the city’s school department, but teachers were not allowed to take off the Christian holiday of Good Friday, according to the Cranston Teachers’ Alliance. Most public schools close for some days of importance to Christians, but not others. As a guest on the March 16, 2015, episode of the Fox program Outnumbered, Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin spied a secularist plot, which he outlined thusly: “Don’t let any good crisis go to waste, and if you want to take religion out of the public square, look at Boston and look at all the snow and say, ‘What a great reason now, we can take these religious holidays out of our school system… It’s using the crisis to the liberal benefit.’” The hosts agreed, with Jedediah Bila recommending starting school earlier instead of convening on holidays and Andrea Tantaros summarizing confusedly, “This is what happens when liberal academic Boston meets ethnic Boston.” Forget basic realities like already-arranged summer jobs for teachers and already-planned summer vacations for families, contracted work hours, and the already-complicated logistics of getting kids to school on time—not to mention that teaching students might take precedence over closing for holidays that not all of them celebrate anyway. There should be no official government recognition of religious holidays. In April of 2018, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, an international news and wire agency for Jewish media, reported that the New York Board of Education was considering closing New York City schools on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—primarily for teachers' sake. Hindu students celebrate Diwali in the fall as well.Â,  If schools close because of Jewish holidays, it would be unfair to other students who must still attend school on their own religious or cultural holidays.Â. Yes, but only in areas with large religious minority 14: 22.58%: No, only for Christian (Federal/State) holidays 21: 33.87%: No, keep schools open on ALL religious holidays! Should they go to school or stay at home and get the benefits of the holiday? Is this activity designed in any way to either promote or inhibit religion? Federal and state laws prohibit schools from penalizing students for missing school on religious holidays. Public school administrators have to consider numerous factors when deciding when class ought to be in session. Around the same time de Blasio flaunted his “respect for one of the great faiths of this earth,” teachers in Cranston, Rhode Island, complained that respect for one religion amounted to disrespect for another. The starting point for deciding if and when public schools should close on a religious holiday is the First Amendment. Far too many people are trying to be politically correct. Even so, this is hardly the sole consideration or shouldn’t be anyway.). It also has six minimum days, excluding finals week. There are not many opportunities to make up the time that schools would lose for valuable instruction, especially at the beginning of the school year.Â. (It might bear mentioning that Cranston’s population is predominantly Christian and only about 3 percent Jewish. Equity was “the big concern here,” insisted a union representative. However, schools may consider closing when large numbers of student and teacher absences are anticipated. Two councils have instructed all schools under their control to shut for the annual … Yes, I know, Jewish schools close on many religious holidays, but this is not for Jewish children attending public schools. Perhaps it is unfair to have purportedly nondenominational breaks, like many winter and summer recesses, coinciding with Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter without similarly accommodating Jews, Muslims, atheists and all other non-Christians, and disregarding all other practical considerations to make sure doors stay closed on a growing number of religious holidays is no solution. 2. Currently, the Ontario government states that each school board should “have religious accommodation guidelines in place and communicate these guidelines to the community.” This means that if a test or school assembly conflicts with a religious holiday, then the student is allowed to fulfill the requirements another time without penalization. 2021 Religious Holidays Service. Commentary on TheHumanist.com does not constitute an official position of the American Humanist Association unless specifically noted. Should schools close for major religious holidays? But they can close on a religious holiday if they expect a large percentage of students and staff to be absent, ... said the decision to close schools isn't a contest between religions. Religious Holidays and Public Schools: A Brief Legal Analysis Although many controversies have arisen over religious holidays in public schools, the case law is scant. “It is unconstitutional for public schools and their employees to observe religious holidays,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) states on its website. 3. "If you close the schools for every single holiday," he argued, "there won't be any school." After all, that’s the only practical way to treat various religions equitably and with the respect they deserve. get days off to observe two Islamic holidays, prayer mural at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional, Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin spied a secularist plot, A Meditation: We Must Grow Past our Inabilities to Learn from History or Accept the Value of Science, Reader Opinion: Let’s Study Science Before Theology, The AHA Adopts Four New Resolutions in 2020, Offering a Humanist Hand to Asylum Seekers, Trolling and Controlling: Harming Trans Athletes Is Not a Humanist Sport. Add religion into the mix of considerations and rational planning becomes impossible. Schools across the country are faced with increasing demand for days off for religious holidays by Hindus, Muslims and other faiths. If schools close for religious observance, the flow of student instruction would be disrupted early on. Row over school closures for Muslim, Hindu and Sikh holidays . Of course, kerfuffles over holding school on religious holidays really reveal conniving liberals’ antireligious schemes—at least in the view of certain Fox-News types. Schools should still take great care in creating their schedules. Constant breaks from school would especially affect those taking more advanced classes. As religious minorities increase in the United States, some want public schools to close not only on Christmas, but also on their religious holidays. Because of the district’s mid-August start date, the first semester also has only 85 days, 10 fewer than the second semester. Â. Public schools should not close or reschedule activities solely because of conflicts between the school calendar and religious holidays. Would Darwin Day (on or around February 12) or the National Day of Reason (the first Thursday in May) then get added to the holiday calendar? 27: 43.55%: Voters: 62. Schools will be allowed to close for Islamic holidays in order to improve attendance rates, under new plans. Equity for some more than others seems to be the policy.     For example, AP classes typically only have until the end of April to teach a higher volume of content in order to prepare students for AP exams. Angela Deanne Paloma is excited to spend her senior year and her second year in the Californian as a News Editor. The school committee had agreed in June 2014 to hold classes on Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Good Friday, but after 2015’s bad Good Friday, the teachers’ union wanted the religious holidays reinstated. Perhaps not irrelevantly, after a federal judge in 2012 ruled that a prayer mural at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional, the student on behalf of whom the American Civil Liberties Union had sued became the target of derision from local lawmakers and received violent threats. What about the many, many more city students who do not observe Eid-al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha? As … Where does it end? Because the Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue, there are no final or definitive answers. If all Christian teachers opted to take time off on a holiday they’d previously agreed to work, it would essentially mean closing the schools, which would not be the case if all Jewish teachers took Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. Part of this was simply because of the numbers, with nearly 1.1 million of their schoolchildren being Muslim and their and other numbers continuing to grow across the nation with not only Islam, but other religions too. The ADL is a global anti-hate organization known for their goal to fight anti-Semitism. After a long summer break, teachers and students need time to get used to being in school again, and the early closing of schools would not help.Â, Excluding Thanksgiving and holiday breaks, Cal High already has four days of no school during the first semester. Perhaps my alma mater provided one of those inadvertent useful lessons that parochial schools sometimes do: let religious institutions close their doors on whatever supposedly holy days they want and, conversely, let nonreligious institutions, which is what public schools are, or should be, close for civic holidays like Presidents’ Day (as well as snow days) and stay out of the religion business altogether. With respect to personal religious holidays, employees and students at public schools, could have say 5-10 additional excused absences for religious holidays. A school has refused to let its Muslim pupils take today off to celebrate Eid al-Adha, saying they should mark the religious holiday tomorrow instead. “While the operational impact of some holidays may not rise to the level of requiring us to close school, we do respect the rights of students and staff to celebrate those holidays.” But Arriaga said school officials should be teaching students about the value of religious diversity, not shunning it like something that is harmful. Many parents and students nationwide have been asking districts to close public schools on major religious holidays to allow kids to celebrate without worrying about schoolwork. How does this activity serve the academic goals of the course, or the While the school district closes in observance of Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it still has not added any Muslim holidays to its calendar. Some schools don’t even distinguish Christmas as a holiday. Consider a few episodes that tip the scale of schedule-setting toward the nonsensical. However, schools may consider closing when large numbers of student and teacher absences are anticipated. If compelled to balance competing claims from all religious believers (and, for the sake of fairness, nonbelievers) with practical matters such as weather, national civic holidays, and children’s (and adults’) needs for days off, then the absurdity of interrupting education for religious holidays becomes immediately apparent. 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San Francisco public schools do not list Christmas as a school holiday on their 2019-2020 academic calendar, according to San Francisco Unified School District’s website.Â, In America, Christmas is no longer exclusively religious and is actually a federal holiday. Evidently, the separation of church and state remains one of the core elements of our country. Religious Holidays in 8 the Public Schools 108 Tips for Planning Religious Holidays in Public Schools Before planning a religious holiday activity in a public school, ask the following questions: 1. You will not close the schools for any religion's holiday. Should religious holidays be statutory ... on the day before Christmas, both of our children will be off school since all schools close for the Christmas or winter break ... it will be far more convenient to celebrate Christmas than Hanukkah since it is a statutory holiday and falls during a school break. Should schools close for Eid holidays? But the only Christian holiday where there is no school is Christmas, according to the district’s instructional calendar. I’ll end on a personal note. Government schools close for those days, but not for days of importance to Jews. In many school systems, these have long … It would be unfair for many non-Jewish students to have their learning interrupted. What about other groups who claim their beliefs require this or that day off? Many would argue that there is already a favored religion in the public school system: Christianity. If you think I should choose, "No, Schools SHOULDN't promote religious holidays" you must give me *three reasons* why. For many districts, these holidays come  shortly after the first day of school. You may not vote on this poll 2. Though the First Amendment blocks government bodies from promoting religion, faith-based holidays often have secular impacts that can be taken into account. In New York, schools close for major Jewish holidays, and as of 2015, two days are given for Muslims to observe Eid. When schools choose not to close on particular holidays, conflicts may arise. You will offer the students to not write them 'absent' on their religion's biggest holidays but keep the schools open. That's not the case in New York City. Public schools should not close or reschedule activities solely because of conflicts between the school calendar and religious holidays. The argument that winter break is Christian cannot be made because many cultural holidays also take place during this time, such as Kwanzaa and, in some years, Hanukkah.Â, By definition, public schools are funded and operated by the government, which is constitutionally restricted from establishing a religion in America.Â. Muslims are divided (RNS) Two petitions urging the federal government to close schools on the two Eid holidays sparked spirited debate in … According to Haynes, many schools close on religious holidays because they may not function properly on those days if many students and teachers choose to take the day off. We will add new religions very soon. Public schools with small Jewish populations cannot afford to halt everybody’s learning to accommodate a small demographic. Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, which is like a Muslim Christmas celebrated between the end of summer  to the beginning of fall. I need help with homework that's due tomorrow, and I need to decide whether schools should promote religious holidays; why or why not? If you think I should choose, "Yes, Schools SHOULD promote religious holidays" you must give me three *reasons* why. Schools are not required to close on a particular religious holiday but may choose to do so as a matter of administrative convenience as, for example, when large numbers of students are likely to be absent. It's students' responsibility to take notes of the lessons taught that day. However, schools may consider closing when large numbers of student and teacher absences are anticipated. “Many, many city students celebrate Eid-al Fitr at the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha at the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.” Yet if raw demographic calculations like this determine when students receive instruction, then what if it were demonstrated that there were more nonbelievers than Muslims in New York? 1. You can certainly see an inoperable school system if they did honor all the other religions with school shutdowns on their respective religious holidays. Angela Deanne Paloma, Co News Editor|November 19, 2019, Public schools should not close for any religious reasons.Â. Students in such classes are expected to keep up regardless of other extracurriculars or absences.Â, Students who take time off school for the sake of religious holidays should not hope the system conforms to fit all of their needs.Â, Additionally, districts may not meet the government-mandated amount of school days if they have to close school for a few students to celebrate religious holidays.Â. Certainly, having schools involved in assessing which holidays require attending religious services and prohibit work (and thus can be taken off by the observant) and which others do not, as happened in Cranston, is not a viable way to run a public school system, and neither is closing on more and more days as certain religious groups increase their population shares in certain places, as happened in New York City. Addressing the dispute begins with understanding how religious holidays end up on public school calendars. “[There is] no reason non-Jews should interrupt their learning so a tiny minority of Jewish students can go to synagogue,” wrote Mark Oppenheimer, editor for the online Jewish magazine Tablet. This would be my choice. Many parents and students nationwide have been asking districts to close public schools on major religious holidays to allow kids to celebrate without worrying about schoolwork. Schools with larger Jewish populations may have a stronger case, but there are also various religions and cultures in America with their own holidays. “The Muslim faith is one of the fastest growing in this city and in this nation,” de Blasio explained. As a non-Catholic who did time at a Catholic school, I recall no consideration of days off for non-Christian religious holidays. 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