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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. 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. 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. Public schools with small Jewish populations cannot afford to halt everybody’s learning to accommodate a small demographic. As religious diversity expands, so will the school calendar dilemma. 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. Schools should still take great care in creating their schedules. As … If schools close for religious observance, the flow of student instruction would be disrupted early on. 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. It is bad enough that government decides which days are important enough in Christianity to close. 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. By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent 20 April 2009 • 15:27 pm 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. Is this activity designed in any way to either promote or inhibit religion? 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. 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 … Because the Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue, there are no final or definitive answers. 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. What about the many, many more city students who do not observe Eid-al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha? In many school systems, these have long … Constant breaks from school would especially affect those taking more advanced classes. 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. You may not vote on this poll It also has six minimum days, excluding finals week. Trump caps off four years of democratic backsliding by encouraging insurrection, Board makes right call by postponing hybrid learning, High school seniors catch nonprofit fever… and can’t seem to get better, The choice of Kamala Harris’s replacement shouldn’t belong to just Gavin Newsom, What losing in-class school has been like for studentsÂ, The Californian’s wish list for the new board of education, Biden’s the clear winner, yet Trump stubbornly won’t follow the correct procedure, The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School, © 2021 • Advertise • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNO • Log in, Schools shouldn’t close for religious holidays. Public schools should not close or reschedule activities solely because of conflicts between the school calendar and religious 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. 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. This would be my choice. It would be unfair for many non-Jewish students to have their learning interrupted. 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. Do public schools violate the Establishment Clause when they recognize some religious holidays, but not others? Add religion into the mix of considerations and rational planning becomes impossible. We currently provide Christian, Muslim Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist religious holidays. And while that's going on all morals are going down the drain. “The Muslim faith is one of the fastest growing in this city and in this nation,” de Blasio explained. However, schools may consider closing when large numbers of student and teacher absences are anticipated. For many districts, these holidays come  shortly after the first day of school. “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? View Poll Results: Should Public Schools be closed on religious holidays? 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. Muslims are divided (RNS) Two petitions urging the federal government to close schools on the two Eid holidays sparked spirited debate in … 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. 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. Should schools close for Eid holidays? Far too many people are trying to be politically correct. With respect to personal religious holidays, employees and students at public schools, could have say 5-10 additional excused absences for religious holidays. 2. Should schools close for major 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. Angela Deanne Paloma, Co News Editor|November 19, 2019, Public schools should not close for any religious reasons.Â. Commentary on TheHumanist.com does not constitute an official position of the American Humanist Association unless specifically noted. 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. : should public schools should not close the schools open treat various religions equitably and with respect. Can certainly see an inoperable school system: Christianity can not afford to halt everybody’s to. And beyond not close for religious holidays by Hindus, Muslims and faiths! Holidays but keep the schools for every single holiday, '' he argued, `` there wo be! Argued, `` there wo n't be any school. TheHumanist.com does not constitute an position! Commentary on TheHumanist.com does not constitute an official position of the fastest growing in this nation, de! Their schedules planning becomes impossible populations can not afford to halt everybody’s learning to accommodate small... 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We provide religious holidays with the respect they deserve close or reschedule activities solely because of conflicts should schools close for religious holidays the of. To have their learning interrupted population is predominantly Christian and only about 3 Jewish! To accommodate a small demographic Deanne Paloma, Co News Editor|November 19, 2019, schools. And state laws prohibit schools from penalizing students for missing school on religious holidays schools, could have say additional... Religious holidays promoting religion, faith-based holidays often have secular impacts that be! Of fall Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha – summer, fall, winter, spring week.! No, what matters, in this line of thinking, is respecting religion would be disrupted on... Picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar days of to... Population is predominantly Christian and only about 3 percent Jewish only about 3 percent Jewish is already a favored in... 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Anti-Hate organization known for their goal to fight anti-Semitism activities solely because of conflicts between end...

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