Md. County Wipes Holiday Names From School Calendar

Move follows push to recognize Muslim holidays
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 12, 2014 11:22 AM CST
Students work at Montgomery County's Brookhaven Elementary School in Rockville, Md.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – When Muslim community members sought to have their holidays recognized by a Maryland school district, board members decided instead to stop identifying any holidays at all. On next year's Montgomery County School District calendar, you won't see Christmas or Yom Kippur, the Washington Post reports. Kids will still get the days off, but they'll just be listed as days without school; breaks around Christmas and Easter will be called Winter Break and Spring Break. "I made the motion because if we are closing for operational reasons, then there should be no need to make reference to religion," a board member tells "That is the most equitable solution that I could see."

Board members say that by not referring to specific holidays, the calendar is actually better representing the reason kids have the day off: It's because many people would be absent on those days, not because the school is actually observing a religious practice. But a Muslim leader raises concerns about yesterday's 7-1 decision: The board is going "so far as to paint themselves as the Grinch who stole Christmas" rather than identify a Muslim holiday, she says. "They would remove the Christian holidays and they would remove the Jewish holidays from the calendar before they would consider adding the Muslim holiday to the calendar." The district isn't the first to make such a move: Virginia's biggest school district doesn't name holidays on its calendar, either, the Post notes.

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