Bias in School District's Religious Holiday Observances in Baltimore County, MD

June 9, 2004

Source: The Baltimore Sun,0,4016240.story?coll=bal-education-k12

On June 9, 2004 The Baltimore Sun reported, "Ignoring pleas from members of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Baltimore County school board unanimously approved last night a 2005-2006 school year calendar that excludes two important Muslim holidays... (At issue are Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha). Several board members who spoke before the vote said they realized the county's population is multicultural, but they would not vote to change the calendar... School officials established holidays for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in 1995. They said schools were forced to close on those days because classrooms were so empty that the district risked state sanctions for low attendance, and they could not get enough substitute teachers... [It is] estimated there are about 10,000 Muslims in Baltimore County. School officials have said they do not know the number of Muslim students enrolled in Baltimore County schools because they are not allowed to ask for students' religious affiliation."