Dylan McKeon Staff Writer
While there were many days off in September for the Pope’s visit and several religious holidays, many other religious holidays are being forgotten by both Philadelphia and other school districts.
In the first month of school, there was a total of eleven days of school across a period of three and a half months. With all of the holidays and the arrival of the Pope, this September had weekends that anywhere lasted between two to six days. However not all holidays are being recognized by the school district.
Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice is one of the biggest Muslim holidays of the year. This year it was on Thursday, September 24 the same day of the Pope break, meaning that while it wasn’t mentioned we did have off on that day. The same thing happened last year, as the holiday took place on the fourth of October, a day that corresponded with a Saturday. However neither of the dates are listed on the school district calendar, making it quite clear that they are not recognized by the Philadelphia School District.
New York, meanwhile, has decided to close public schools for both Eid al-Adha and Luna New Year which is a major holiday in Chinese and Korean culture. However, New York was unable to add Diwali to the school calendar as they needed 180 days of school.
This shows the biggest problem with implementing religious holidays as their can only be so many days off of school leading to many holidays not being represented. Another problem is that there usually aren’t enough student of the religious background to justify giving the day off.
Some districts have given students permission to miss classes that aren’t represented in order to give them the ability to celebrate the holiday without giving everyone the holiday doesn’t apply to off. This helps but doesn’t make a large enough change given that getting permission to skip school isn’t the same as having off on that day.
In my opinion the best way to ensure that student are able to celebrate their holidays would be to cut some days of summer break off. This would allow for students to celebrate some off the holidays without missing school, give other students an opportunity to learn more about the holiday, and would only be at a cost of a few summer days.
For a clearer picture of who has off when, the hyperlink below has a chart that shows the list of various holidays and which of the 25 largest school districts have off those days.