Hillsborough Schools May Drop All Religious Holidays Rather Than Adding New Ones

October 7, 2005

Source: St. Petersburg Times


On October 7, 2005 the St. Petersburg Times reported, "There may be no day off next school year for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Also on the chopping block are vacation days for the Christian faith's Good Friday and the Monday after Easter. After considering a request to recognize a Muslim school holiday, the Hillsborough County School Board next week will discuss ending student days off on all religious holidays, whether they be Christian, Jewish or Muslim. The only religious holiday not affected will be Christmas, which occurs during the school district's winter break... While educators said their proposed 2006-07 calendar will treat all faiths the same, some local Muslims fear a backlash from people angry about their holidays being converted to school days... Parent Joan Zaki, who lobbied board members for greater acceptance of Islamic holidays, said it was not her intent to have everyone's holidays taken away. 'Muslims don't need any more negative attention than we're getting,' said Zaki, the only Muslim and dissenting member of the district's calendar committee. 'We were just trying to get equal treatment.'"