School Board Votes Again Not to Include Muslim Holidays on School Calendar

June 14, 2006


On June 14, 2006 reported, "For the third year in a row, the Baltimore County Board of Education approved a calendar for the 2006-07 school year that did not include two Muslim holidays. Muslims attending the meeting were upset over the setback and vowed to continue fighting after the unanimous school board vote June 13. At previous board meetings Dr. Bash Pharoan, president of the Baltimore County Muslim Council, has said that if schools close for Jewish holidays then, in the name of equality, schools also should close on Id al- Fitre and Id al-Adha, two Islamic holy days. As it happens, for the 2006 -07 calendar, schools will close on only one Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashana, Sept. 13. Yom Kippur falls on a weekend this year. School board member John Hayden defended the board's 8-0 decision, citing economic factors as justification for closing schools on Jewish holidays. With the large number of Jewish teachers in the county, the school system closes rather than incur the expense of hiring substitute teachers. In the coming years, the school system will track attendance on the two Islamic holy days to determine if there is a spike in both student and teacher absences, Hayden said."