Does Your Religion Get a Holiday?

If our student bodies are increasingly diverse, shouldn't our school calendars be?

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School systems across the nation are still trying to figure out how to organize school calendars around holy days for diverse student bodies. For instance, the school board in Acton-Boxborough, a Boston suburb, recently voted to close schools on Good Friday, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, while a neighboring school district just decided to ignore religious holidays altogether. Some school districts base their school holidays on local demographics. In Dearborn, Mich., where nearly half of the student body is Muslim, school has been closed on Islamic holidays for nearly a decade. David Mustonen, communications director of the Dearborn school district, told USA Today that school funding in Michigan is based on daily enrollment, so if enrollment falls below 75 percent on any given day, the district loses lots of money. "When the numbers of students and staff in the community who are following the Muslim religion got to a point where we were seeing significant decline in attendance," he said, "it just made sense to take those days off."

Off course, many critics cry favoritism and question how fairness can ever be achieved. "Should we give Hindus a holiday? Are we going to do the Wiccan thing?" asked Bill O'Reilly recently on The O'Reilly Factor. This issue probably won't be resolved anytime soon, but for now, we at The Root wish everyone a happy holiday, regardless of their faith.

Read more at USA Today.

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