Diwali, Eid in holiday calendar of 71 US schools


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Indian-American community hails US school district for adding Diwail, Eid to holiday list

Besides these, Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve has also been included in the holiday list.

The Indian-American community has welcomed the unprecedented move by a US school district in Washington on Saturday, to add Diwali and Eid al-Adha in the school holiday calendar.

Besides these, Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve has also been included in the holiday list.

The Indian-American community has termed the decision by Howard County Public School System, which manages 71 schools, and serves nearly 50,000 students, as "historic".

"By taking this vote, the Howard County Board of Education has shown a great way forward in acknowledging diverse religious holidays without violating the spirit of church-state separation," said Murali Balaji, education director of Hindu American Foundation.

HAF and Chinmaya Mission started a petition that collected over 250 signatures in under three weeks, while the Board received nearly 500 emails from parents asking for inclusion of Diwali.

Indian Students at Centennial High School (ISAC) also collected and submitted signatures for the effort, said Balaji, who, along with several Chinmaya Mission members, testified at the Board's hearing last month.

"This vote is proof that it is indeed possible to accommodate the religious needs of multiple faith communities in diverse school districts," said Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry, who has submitted testimony on the holiday inclusion issue.

"Religious pluralism is the hallmark of an integrated and inclusive society. We see that reflected in the Howard County Board of Education's decision," Chaudry said.

"I am extremely pleased with the Board's ability to discuss and unanimously agree to seek ways to recognize the diverse backgrounds of Howard County's students and families," Board of Education Chairwoman Christine O'Connor said in a statement after the eight-member board unanimously supported such a motion.
"We want to do our best to find flexibility within the calendar to provide opportunities for all students to experience all cultures within our community," O Connor said.

The motion in this regard was proposed by board member Janet Siddiqui.

According to The Baltimore Sun, as of the 2014-2015 school year, 42 percent of Howard County students were white, 22 percent were black, 19 percent were Asian, nine percent were Hispanic and six per cent were of two or more races.

Source: thenewsminute

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