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Public School Removes Holidays From Its Calendar

Maryland Public School Removes Holidays From Its Calendar
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

In an effort to keep things ultra politically correct, a Maryland school district has gone so far as to remove all religious holidays from its calendar. That means Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Ramadan—you name it—will be gone from the school calendar from here on out.

The vote to remove all mentions of religious holidays came after a Muslim group requested for next year's 2015-2016 calendar to include Eid al-Adha, which celebrates Ibrahim's sacrifice of his son, Isma'il, before Allah. But instead of adding the holiday to the calendar, the Montgomery County Board of Education took a different route. Instead, they voted to remove all religious holidays from the schedule for good. While the school says students and staff members will still get time off for the days that coincide with major holidays, the official school calendar will make no mention of it or note the religious reason behind each one.

Think that sounds a bit extreme? You're not alone. Many parents are not happy with the ruling—most of all, Muslim parents who found it pretty appalling that the board of ed would rather remove holidays altogether than add Eid al-Adha to its calendar. While they had asked (and previously been denied) days off for the holiday before, next year marks a rare time when Eid al-Adha falls on the same day as Yom Kippur, meaning students would get the day off any way. So instead, Muslim parents simply asked that "Eid al-Adha" be called out on the calendar to show its equal importance.

In the meantime, the school is defending its decision. As board member Rebecca Smondrowski shared with the Washington Post, they felt it was the "most equitable thing to do."

"I respect and appreciate so much that this is a very personal issue for so many people," continued Smondrowski, who added that she "was in no way trying to imply that I don’t respect people’s religious practices. I do."

School board Vice President Patricia O’Neill backed her up, saying she feels that given the circumstances, the school board made the right decision. "It seems we’ve made multiple religious groups mad, but I believe we did the right thing,” she said. "And we’re in good company. Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun—all are silent in calling out Christmas; they call it 'winter break.'"

So what will happen on major holidays like Christmas and Yom Kippur? The school will in fact be closed, but the "official reason" will note high absenteeism, and not make mention of any religious reasons.

What do you think of the school board's decision?

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