- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Muslim holidays rejected by board
Question of the Day
Baltimore County public school officials have said that adding Muslim holidays to the school calendars is unlawful and "irresponsible," marking another setback in attempts across the region to add the holidays.
Muslim supporters wanted schools to close for Eid al-Adha, which marks the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, and Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.
A few dozen members of the county's chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee asked for the change at a school board meeting Tuesday night.
School officials, however, stood firm by a state law that disallows public schools from endorsing any religion, saying the school calendar can include scheduled closures only for holidays that cause low attendance rates countywide.
Kara Calder, school board spokeswoman, said yesterday that officials have adhered to Maryland law.
"The board's position has been — and remains — that the primary obligation is to educate students and meet requirements," she said.
The anti-discrimination committee has pushed its request for the past several years, calling it an issue of equality because schools recognize Jewish and Christian holidays.
County school board President Donald L. Arnold said after the board meeting Tuesday night that the change would be "irresponsible" because the law is explicit, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Miss Calder wasn't sure why the group broached the issue Tuesday night, since it was not on the meeting agenda.
She surmised that it was a last chance to publicly address the issue with the board before formal discussion of the school calendar next month.
The group could not be reached yesterday.
County schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston will consider recommendations for his proposed 2008-09 school calendar. The board will vote on the calendar in June or July.
Most of the other area systems said they don't track students' religion and don't acknowledge most religious holidays. However, they will excuse students for recognized religious holidays, even if they aren't on the official school calendar.
Prince George's County prohibits scheduling tests, meetings, workshops, field trips or other special activities on those days.
The county's 2007-08 calendar includes an official school holiday to mark the month of Ramadan, though it is coupled with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana.
However, Prince George's is the only local county to list Ramadan on its official school calendar. Good Friday and Easter also are listed.
Elsewhere in the region, school closings for religious holidays vary.
Montgomery County public schools and offices are closed for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The county also lists Christmas and Easter as religious holidays.
The Fairfax County public school system has an extensive list of holidays and observances on its official calendar. Although the calendar lists no religious holidays, officials say they try to accommodate them.
The District and Arlington County list no religious holidays on their official school calendars.
Arlington County public school officials say religious holidays have not been an issue but they are cognizant of them to avoid scheduling conflicts.
About the Author
Tarron Lively is the deputy editor of the Continuous News Desk.
- Medics' lawsuit dropped for now
- Muslim holidays rejected by board
- Candidates split on racism of camera sites
- Race 'no factor' in camera locations
- 'Spy' cameras net a $3.3 million haul
Latest Blog Entries
By Michael P. Orsi
- Calling prison term disparities unfair, Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Paul Rondeau exposes the propaganda, media tricks, and government policies that undermine our families, faith, freedom…and even life itself
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow