2. Schools will be allowed to close for Islamic holidays in order to improve attendance rates, under new plans. There should be no official government recognition of religious holidays. Government schools close for those days, but not for days of importance to Jews. 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. No, what matters, in this line of thinking, is respecting religion. 2. Public schools with small Jewish populations cannot afford to halt everybody’s learning to accommodate a small demographic. 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. "If you close the schools for every single holiday," he argued, "there won't be any school." 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. Muslims are divided (RNS) Two petitions urging the federal government to close schools on the two Eid holidays sparked spirited debate in … The government could, perhaps, have official “seasonal” holidays – summer, fall, winter, spring week holidays. Should they go to school or stay at home and get the benefits of the holiday? What about the many, many more city students who do not observe Eid-al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha? You can certainly see an inoperable school system if they did honor all the other religions with school shutdowns on their respective religious holidays. You will not close the schools for any religion's holiday. For many districts, these holidays come  shortly after the first day of school. 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. Two major Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, occur in the fall, and many students take a day off to observe them. Most public schools close for some days of importance to Christians, but not others. Though the First Amendment blocks government bodies from promoting religion, faith-based holidays often have secular impacts that can be taken into account. Schools should still take great care in creating their schedules. 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. It would be unfair for many non-Jewish students to have their learning interrupted. Schools with larger Jewish populations may have a stronger case, but there are also various religions and cultures in America with their own holidays. That's not the case in New York City. Even so, this is hardly the sole consideration or shouldn’t be anyway.). By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent 20 April 2009 • 15:27 pm Public school administrators have to consider numerous factors when deciding when class ought to be in session. It also has six minimum days, excluding finals week. 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. You may not vote on this poll 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? View Poll Results: Should Public Schools be closed on religious holidays? 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. Consider a few episodes that tip the scale of schedule-setting toward the nonsensical. 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. 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. The above is the list of religions for which we provide religious holidays for the year 2020, 2021 and beyond. 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. Public schools should not close or reschedule activities solely because of conflicts between the school calendar and religious holidays. 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. 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. 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. Constant breaks from school would especially affect those taking more advanced classes. After all, that’s the only practical way to treat various religions equitably and with the respect they deserve. “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? This would be my choice. 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.     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. Yes, I know, Jewish schools close on many religious holidays, but this is not for Jewish children attending public schools. As religious diversity expands, so will the school calendar dilemma. The starting point for deciding if and when public schools should close on a religious holiday is the First Amendment. 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. In New York, schools close for major Jewish holidays, and as of 2015, two days are given for Muslims to observe Eid. Addressing the dispute begins with understanding how religious holidays end up on public school calendars. What about other groups who claim their beliefs require this or that day off? Angela Deanne Paloma is excited to spend her senior year and her second year in the Californian as a News Editor. When schools choose not to close on particular holidays, conflicts may arise. 27: 43.55%: Voters: 62. 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 across the country are faced with increasing demand for days off for religious holidays by Hindus, Muslims and other faiths. 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 … With respect to personal religious holidays, employees and students at public schools, could have say 5-10 additional excused absences for religious holidays. You will offer the students to not write them 'absent' on their religion's biggest holidays but keep the schools open. 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. “It is unconstitutional for public schools and their employees to observe religious holidays,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) states on its website. 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. 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