The Board of Education for Maryland’s largest school district, Montgome... voted to shutter classes for the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha on next year’s calendar.
It’s all about fairness and diversity, said one board member, Jill Ortman-Fouse, in EagNews.org.
“I get all my holidays off,” she said.
The school closing was proposed by Christopher Barclay, one of the board members.
“We are putting ourselves in a place that we give lip service to the diversity that we have in this incredible community that we live in and serve, but in fact, the most important things are the actions that we take,” he said, the news outlet reported.
At least one Muslim parent, Saqib Ali, was pleased with the change, saying “institutional racism” has held up the holiday closure policy switch for years.
“I’m thrilled,” he said, EagNews.org reported. “Look, my daughters are now equal to everybody else, all their little playmates in the neighborhood, their Christian friends, their Jewish friends. Who could be against equality?”
It was only a year ago Montgomery County took out Christmas and Jewish holidays from the school calendar because Muslims complained. Instead, school officials referred to the days off as “winter break” and “student holidays.”
But Montgomery County isn’t the only school system to close down classes for Islamic holidays. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined with Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina to announced in March the city schools would recognize Muslim holidays.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslim families no longer have to choose between honoring the most sacred days on their calendar or attending school,” de Blasio said then.
Schools in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey honor Muslim holidays, too, the news site reported.