Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Religion And School Calendar Conflicts

According to Reuters News Service, Muslims want certain religious holidays off for their kids who attend New York City public schools. Muslims observe 11 holidays. Not any which fall on any of the public schools' days off. And they aren't happy!

Before I discuss the Muslims' request take a look at this "INTERFAITH CALENDAR".

This request may only be the tip of the iceberg. So many faiths. So many "Holy" days. This could just be the beginning of the school administrators nightmare on how to accommodate such requests. Most likely each of these religions will challenge schools in various courts.

Before everyone gets their panties in a ruffle, I have some rather simple suggestions I will present shortly for your consideration.

Public schools already have the former Christian holidays covered by calling them "Winter Holidays". This takes care of the Christians and the Kwanzaa folks. (Since Kwanzaa falls on Dec. 26, 2010).

Each year the "Spring Holidays" overlap Good Friday. These skirt the legal issues surrounding major Christian religious observances.

Some of the other more significant "holy" days remaining in December are; Dec. 2-9: Hanukkah * - Jewish

Dec. 8: Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) ** - Buddhism

Dec. 21: Solstice-Yule * - Wicca/Pagan Northern hemisphere

How can our public schools accommodate all of these and stay out of future legal squabbles?

Based on the Allentown School District 2010-2011 calendar, here's what I've come up with.

Let's take December's Winter Holidays (Dec. 24 & 27-31). The Martin Luther King day (Jan. 17). Add in the President's Holidays (Feb. 18 & 21). The three days of Spring Holidays (April 21,22 &25). There are 3 more for Thanksgiving. 1 more for Memorial day.

This gives us a total of 16 days to work with. Let's rename them PD's (Personal Days). These PD's would apply to both teachers and students.

These then would be days that schools were no longer closed on.

Before September 1st of each school year both students and teachers would be required to fill out request forms in order to receive their desired "Personal Days" off. The order of priority would favor those who require religious leave for their various faiths. This makes provisions for even the atheist that walk among us and have their own objections to these religious holidays.

By submitting these days in advance the school administration would have a heads up regarding the required staffing for those days. Based on staffing requirements, the school then can make a certain number of slots available for those teachers, who request them, to take off. Firstly based on their religious needs. Secondly by order of seniority.

As in having any such days off, academics would have to made up by those who have missed those lesson days.

There are three advantages to this. Number #1 is the schools wouldn't get involved in a protracted courtroom legal battles. Number #2, everyone gets the days most significant to them. Number #3, it doesn't pit people against one another as they exercise their individual religious freedoms.


We have become is a nation of peoples who shout at one another. Shortly this matter may come up and become an explosive issue in the media. It needn't be so with the plan I offered.

Quite simply we can accommodate one another if we just use our intellect (brains) before our emotions (mouths). What I have presented is a common sense solution.

Whether the motives for these religious holiday requests are driven by Muslims (anyone else for that matter) with impure intent just to stir the pot OR whether the motives are genuine, this diffuses the entire matter before it gets all ginned up by those who seek to destroy America by creating self destructing division within.

Make no mistake there are those who seek to pit us against one another. "Divide & Conquer". Right now it looks like those with malicious intentions are gaining the edge.

Right now is the time to show the world America can unite as one nation. That we can find solutions irregardless of our differences. Failure to do so, will weaken us and lead us to fail as a nation.

What better place to start then with our youth?

What better way could we "teach" our youth on how to get along with one another?

Before I wrap this up.. please take a moment and allow me to introduce my former college professors