More schools closed for these Muslim holidays | WDVM25 and DCW50
(The conversation) – Some public school districts across the country will be closed on Monday, May 2, 2022or Tuesday, May 3, 2022on the occasion of the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitrfestive celebration marking the end of the month of Ramadan, a month of fasting observed by Muslims around the world. In the following questions and answers, Amaarah DeLeatheran education researcher specializing in issues that concern Muslim students, sheds light on some of the forces driving more school districts to close on the Islamic holiday.
How common is it for public schools to close for Islamic holidays?
When New York announced in 2015 that he would close his public schools on the occasion of the two holiest festivals of Islam, he became the first major city school district in the United States to do so.
By the time New York schools began closing for Eid, several small school districts had already been doing so for more than a decade. For example, the Irvington School District in New Jersey began closing for Eid al-Fitr in 2003.
In recent years, more and more school districts have begun to close for the Eid holiday. These school districts include districts such as the Burlington School District in Vermont, which began closing for Eid al-Fitr in 2010, and Detroitwhich began closing its public schools for the Eid holidays in 2019.
The list also includes philadelphia cream; Baltimore; Prince George’s County in Maryland; Fairfax County, Loudoun County and Prince William County, all in northern Virginia; and several neighborhoods across Minnesotawho has a large Muslim population.
Why take a day off if Muslims are a minority?
In some cases, significant numbers of students weren’t coming to school on Eid al-Fitr anyway – and school officials began to take notice. For example, a school superintendent in Burlington, Vermont, once related that about 75 of Burlington High School’s roughly 1,100 students were absent on Eid al-Fitr in 2009 – about 25 more than on a typical school day. In the Fairfax County public school system, reports show that 33.3% and 38.5% more students than usual were absent from school during the Eid al-Fitr holidays in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
But absenteeism isn’t the only factor at play. Some school districts are beginning to observe Eid holidays as a matter of commitment to equal recognition for Muslim families.
At public schools in Hopkinton, Mass., a school board leader noted that closing the school for the Eid vacation could attract a more diverse clientele pool of educators by not requiring them to take personal days to observe vacations. In Detroit, a headteacher said the Eid holiday closure was a statement to celebrate the the diversity from the community. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims around the world.
Who is leading efforts to close public schools for Eid?
In many cases, Muslim students are scrambling to drum up support for schools to close for Eid al-Fitr. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, for example, a group of eighth graders in a civics class got the school board to close schools for Eid al-Fitr. In Montclair, New Jersey, school officials decided to close for Eid, as requested by a fifth grade Muslim girl. online petition.
In Iowa City, Iowa, a Muslim high school student recommended for more than three years to promote observance of Eid before the school system decided to do so. And a Detroit student helped persuade school board members there with a editorial in the Detroit Free Press close on the occasion of Eid.
In some cases, such as Baltimore, efforts to close public schools for Eid have been described as a “decades-long battle.” I predict that as more Muslim students call for the closure of public schools for Eid, it won’t take as long for other schools to recognize the value to honor Islamic holidays than other schools have done in recent years.
What about the calculation of the start of the holidays?
And not everyone agrees on when a particular lunar month begins. Some Muslims pass astronomical calculations to project the Islamic calendar well into the future. For example, an Islamic calendar has projected specific Eid dates until 2045. Other Muslims prefer to use traditional methods of moon sightingwhich involves using the naked eye to actually see the crescent moon to determine the start and end of a lunar month.
This partly explains why there may be different Ramadan start and end dates in any given year. a day apart. School district leaders may want to defer to the method used by local Muslim authorities.