SPEAK OUT: Should MCPS Close Schools For Muslim Holidays?
Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal suggests MCPS should adjust its calendar to provide two school closing days for the two most religious Muslim holidays.
Christmas and Easter fall during winter and spring breaks. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the two most religious holidays on the Jewish calendar, are granted off-days by Montgomery County Public Schools.
Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal thinks two additional high holidays should be added to that list.
Leventhal wrote to MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr and Board of Education President Shirley Brandman on May 23 urging the school system to "provide two school closing days each school year in order for American Muslim members of our community to observe Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr, the two most significant holidays in the Muslim calendar," according to a report by Maryland Juice.
Currently, the two holidays are designated as non-testing days for MCPS and Muslim students' absences are excused.
"Thousands of our neighbors fill mosques throughout the county for religious observement and deserve the same recognition of their most sacred holidays that other faiths enjoy," Leventhal wrote in his letter to Starr and Brandman.
In response to the letter, MCPS spokesperson Dana Tofig said the school system would consider a change.
"We appreciate Councilman Leventhal’s letter and will certainly take it under consideration during our calendar-setting process, which includes parents, community members and staff," Tofig told Patch in an email. "As a school district, we embrace and celebrate our diversity and are committed to ensuring that all religious faiths are respected.
"MCPS will continue to respect the rights of our students and staff to observe religious holidays and customs. If a student is absent due to observance of a religious holiday, it is considered an excused absence."
SPEAK OUT: Should MCPS make adjustments to its future school calendars to give an off-day recognizing the two most religious Muslim holidays? Tell us in the comments.