Board of Education Table photo

MCPS Removes All References to Religion on School Calendar

Next year’s Montgomery County schools’ calendar will list days off of school but will not associate those days with specific religious holidays.

Board of Education Table photo

MCPS Board of Education
Photo | http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/boe/

That’s the decision of the Montgomery County Board of Education in a vote of 7-1 (with Mike Durso dissenting).

Board member Rebecca Smondrowski made the motion Tuesday afternoon that deletes any mention of religious affiliations to holidays and breaks.  December 24, 25, 28, 29 and 31 in the calendar will be now referred to as Winter Break instead of listing Dec. 25 as closed for a Christmas holiday. It also lists March 25, 28, 29, 30 and 31 and April 1 as a spring break omitting the Easter holiday reference.

“It is about equity,” Smondrowski told MyMCMedia Tuesday after the vote. “I felt that we needed to look at this issue in a more comprehensive way and in a way that works for all members of our community. I made the motion because if we are closing for operational reasons then there should be no need to make reference to religion. That is the most equitable solution that I could see while recognizing that we need to be seriously addressing the criteria for how these things are decided in the future.”

The issue of listing a religious holiday on the schools’ calendar was brought up by The Maryland Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations in partnership with the Equality for Eid Coalition who was encouraging Montgomery County Schools to list the Muslim Holiday Eid al-Adha as a day off for students.

In 2014, Eid al-Adha and Yom Kippur fell on the same day, October 4, and both were noted on the Comprehensive Calendar, according to a school board document.

Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr had recommended leaving off the names of two Jewish holidays-Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from the school calendar but still keep them as days off school.

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Tamika Smith

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Tamika Smith is passionate and curious about the world. She often wonders what motivates people to walk in their particular journeys in life. A native of Miami, Florida Smith graduated from Howard University in 2007 and continues to give back through mentorship.

Comments

7 Responses to “MCPS Removes All References to Religion on School Calendar”

  1. On November 11, 2014 at 4:49 pm Heywood Jablome responded with... #

    This is form over substance…once again, bowing to Muslim pressure.

    • On November 11, 2014 at 8:57 pm namin responded with... #

      Bowing to Muslim pressure? So Muslims got their holiday listed? I don’t think so. Were you even there to begin with and heard testimonies from Muslim representatives asking not to remove religious reference. Educate yourself and not just comment without knowing what happened.

  2. On November 11, 2014 at 5:59 pm mas responded with... #

    The last paragraph does not include important information. Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr had recommended leaving off the names of two Jewish holidays-Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from the school calendar but still keep them as days off school.

    Are these still days off but called some other name? How could you not make this clear in the article???

  3. On November 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm Michael Dryfuss responded with... #

    This was an unfortunate vote. It clearly showed teh biased by Starr and other school board members. They bowed backward to make every attempt possible to not provide the growing Muslim student and teacher populations time off. I know of Muslim students who refuse to take the day off on their holiday because they do not want to miss a day at school. I hope the new school board makes a more educated decision the exemplifies the diversity of our student body that we pride ourself on. Today’s unfortunate vote sends the wrong message. Thank you Mr. Durso for being the sole person seeing what the others were blinded by their prejudice to see.

  4. On November 11, 2014 at 10:16 pm Michael Dryfuss responded with... #

    This was an unfortunate vote. It clearly showed the biased vision by Starr and other school board members. They bent backward to make every attempt possible to not provide the growing Muslim student and teacher populations timeoff. I know of Muslim students who refuse to take the day off on their holiday because they do not want to miss a day at school. I hope the new school board makes a more educated decision that exemplifies the diversity of our student body, which we pride ourself on. Today’s unfortunate vote sends the wrong message. Thank you Mr. Durso for being the sole person seeing what the others were blinded, by their prejudice, to see.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  5. On November 12, 2014 at 11:30 am Judy responded with... #

    So we need to take away our holiday name and keep theirs? What kind of equity is that?!

  6. On November 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm No problem responded with... #

    I have no problem with the religious names being taken off. We are a diverse county and we should be mindful and respectful. Just because a minority group speaks up about inequity and unfair treatment we can’t and should not vilified them. They follow the establish rules to change and issue. Don’t be a racist.




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