Board Adds Eid as School Holiday

Board Adds Eid as School Holiday

By Lauren Reiser, Freshman Editor

How would you feel if you had to go to school on Christmas? Many of our Muslim classmates have had to deal with this exact conflict because school is in session during one of the major Muslim holidays: Eid al-Fitr. But for the first time next year, Muslims won’t have to choose between school and their religious beliefs. Since last month, the Wayne Township Board of Education voted to close school on Eid for the upcoming school year.

Many Muslim families attended the Board of Education meeting on March 29th to advocate for the addition of Eid as a school holiday. Eid celebrates the end of Ramadan, which concludes a month of fasting. After members of the public finished their statements, Board President Donald Pavlak, Jr. began a motion to make Eid a school holiday so that Muslim students would be able to celebrate their holiday at home with their families. In order to keep the last day of school from being pushed further back, he also proposed making the Friday of President’s Weekend a minimal day instead of a full day off. That way, the addition of the holiday would not elongate the school year.

Pavlack feels it is necessary to add Eid to our calendar because “families, students, and staff [should] not have to choose between observing a religious holiday and attending school [and] . . .  our school calendar should be inclusive of the cultures and religions.” All but one of the Board trustees voted to support the motion.

While Board member Michael Bubba voted against the motion, he wants everyone to know that he is not against having a day off for Eid. Bubba explained, “I didn’t support it . . . because the calendar committee didn’t meet its goal. They were asked to come up with a calendar that shortened the year and it was not accomplished.” Bubba would like to see our school calendar finish earlier, because the hot classrooms become very uncomfortable for both  teachers and students at the end of the year.

Students who celebrate Eid are thrilled that they will have this day off next year. Sophomore Mariam Obeidallah commented, “I no longer have to worry about missing a test or classwork on a day when I should be celebrating. Giving us off on Eid means that the Muslim community is acknowledged and accepted.” Another sophomore, Renna Esheileh, added, “ For years now, most Muslims and I have had to miss school, for a holiday that is near and dear to our hearts . . .  As Eid is now recognized as a holiday, it will provide Muslims cherished time with their families and hopefully give others time to learn about our holidays and traditions.”

Making a school calendar is not easy; there is a lot of hard work that goes into satisfying the state requirement of 180 days of school while still accommodating religious and national holidays. As Pavlack explained, “[c]reating the school calendar is like doing a jigsaw puzzle, you have many pieces that must fit . . . together and follow a set of rules in order to complete the puzzle.”